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Car booster seats have made strides in ensuring a proper fit for children in the back seat, according to a review by the insurance industry.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave its top marks to 21 of 72 booster seats it evaluated for properly restraining children, or about 30 percent, according to results released Wednesday. Last year, the Institute only handed out its "best bet" citation to nine of the 60 seats it reviewed, or 15 percent.
Booster seats are used by children between the ages of 4 and 8 and elevate kids so seat belts fit them better. Seat belts are meant to be routed across a child's upper thigh and cross over the middle of the shoulder to provide protection in a crash.
A 2009 study by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found that children ages 4 to 8 who ride in booster seats in the back seat are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in crashes than children wearing only seat belts. The government recommends booster seats for children over 40 pounds until they are 8 years old or 4 feet, 9 inches tall.
The Virginia-based Institute focuses on how well the seat belt fits on an average booster-age kid in most vehicles. It doesn't conduct vehicle crash tests to evaluate booster seats because the seats don't restrain children in a crash, seat belts do.
Cliff Cottam Insurance Services (CCIS)