Child-Seat Ratings Commended by Auto Insurance Co.

Child sleeping in carseatState Farm Insurance is applauding the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) recent booster seat evaluations and is advocating for greater consistency in booster seat standards.

Recently, the IIHS evaluated 72 booster seats, identifying 21 “best bet,” seven “good bet,” and eight models that were not recommended. The institute’s testing consisted of measuring how a booster seat held a dummy the size of an average 6-year-old.

Good booster seats fit children so that the lap belt fits flat over their thighs and snug across their shoulder; poor safety-seat designs allow the shoulder belt to get too close to children’s necks and the lap belt to fit too high.

The Institute’s senior vice president for research, Anne McCartt, says only nine booster seat models earned the “best bet” title last year — a big contrast to this year’s findings.

“For the first time top-rated boosters outnumber ones the Institute doesn’t recommend,” says McCartt. “Now more than ever manufacturers are paying attention to belt fit, and it’s showing up in our ratings.”

Some “best bet” models include the Britax Frontier 85, Chicco Keyfit Strada and the Clek Oobr. On the other hand, some Eddie Bauer models could not be recommended, including the Eddie Bauer Deluxe and Eddie Bauer Deluxe 3-in-1 models.

McCartt recommends that parents evaluate how their safety belts fit their children the next time they’re in the car.

“If the booster isn’t doing a good job — if the lap belt is up on your son or daughter’s tummy or if the shoulder belt is falling off your child’s shoulder — then find a replacement booster seat as soon as practical, but you’ll probably want to keep using the old one until then,” McCartt says.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that, between 1975 and 2008, approximately 8,960 children’s lives were saved by seat restraints. These restraints, however, are only effective when used properly.

State Farm, in addition to supporting booster seat ratings, has taken measures to promote child passenger safety. The auto insurance company holds Child Safety Day events throughout May and September, which include car-seat inspections by experts. Research shows a large number of safety and booster seats are not properly installed, and these events are intended to make drivers aware of this fact.

“This is one way State Farm demonstrates its commitment to helping make our roadways safe for everyone,” says State Farm’s vice president of strategic resources, Laurette Stiles. “We want to help parents with the important yet often complex task of protecting their children in the car.”

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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