NEW YORK (AP) — Companies that make child booster seats for vehicles are getting better at designing them to protect kids, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said Thursday.
Of the 53 new booster seats IIHS tested, 48 received the nonprofit's highest rating. Two models of Cosco booster seats, made by Canadian company Dorel Juvenile, were not recommended. When IIHS first began rating booster seats about eight years ago, only a quarter of seats earned the highest rating.
"Parents looking for a safe option for kids who have outgrown seats with built-in harnesses have more choices than ever," said Jessica Jermakian, a senior research engineer at IIHS.
Booster seats are made for children between 4 and 8 years old who have outgrown their car seats. The boosters help seat belts fit better on children. Kids who sit on the booster seats are 45 percent less likely to be injured in a crash compared to just using seat belts alone, IIHS said. In 48 states and Washington, D.C., booster seats are required by law, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The two models that were not recommended by IIHS are the Cosco Easy Elite and the Cosco Highback 2-in-1 DX, both of which are made by Dorel Juvenile. The IIHS said Dorel Juvenile designed seven other boosters that received its highest rating.
"It's disappointing that they would introduce boosters that don't do their job when they clearly know how to do it right," Jermakian said.
Dorel Juvenile said in a statement that those two booster seats provide "excellent protection" and said it conducts about 5,000 crash tests each year on its products.
IIHS booster seat ratings: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/child-boosters