The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is mainly known for their work testing vehicles, but this agency also looks at other products. They recently tested more than 60 child booster seats to determine which provided the most protection for children between the ages of 4 and 8.
Ultimately, the safety of a seat is determined by how well it fits a child. The contours of the booster seat also come into play, as it may not mesh well with the seatings in some minivans or SUVs. Some models were tested twice because they have multiple configurations, bringing the total number of tests above 80.
Of this number, 31 were deemed "best bets," or seats that would fit the vast majority of children and vehicles, according to the IIHS. The big winners here were the Harmony and Recaro brands, both of which had all their models named a "best bet." Five more seats were named a "good bet," while the rest were labeled "check fit," meaning they may or may not fit your child.
Models that were deemed as "not recommended" included four from Evenflo: the Chase, Express, Generations 65 and Sightseer. Two models from Safety 1st should also be avoided - the Alpha Omega Elite and All-in-One. It's worth noting that several models from these two companies were included on the "Best Bets" list.
Having a proper booster seat is one aspect of vehicle safety. The other is taking your car in to a certified auto maintenance expert and ensuring that critical components such as brakes and tires are in top condition.