Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its 21 best car booster seats, for their performance keeping kids secured and safe in cars. They also ranked "not recommended" seats, which did a poor job of keeping a child secure. Find out where your child's booster seat ranks.
Once children have outgrown the weight limit of their car seat, they will need to switch to a booster seat until they are four feet, nine inches or taller -- otherwise the seat belt will not be positioned correctly. Laws differ from state to state, but 28 states require kids to be in a booster seat until they are 8 years old. Check the laws for your specific state at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Even if it's not required by law, it's a good idea to keep your child in the back seat and in a booster seat until the seat belt fits properly.
Top 21 Best booster seats
According to the IIHS, the following booster seats performed best with lap- and shoulder-belt fit for the average 4- to 8-year-old in almost any car, minivan or SUV.
Britax Fronter 85 (highback only)
Chicco Keyfit Strada (dual mode, highback)
Clek Oobr (dual mode, highback)
Cosco Juvenile Pronto (dual mode, highback)
Cybex Solution X-Fix (highback only)
Eddie Bauer Auto Booster (dual mode, highback)
Evenflo Big Kid Amp with clip (backless only)
Evenflo Maestro (highback only)
Graco TurboBooster Crawford (dual mode, highback)
Harmony Baby Armor (dual mode, highback)
Harmony Dreamtime (dual mode, highback)
Harmony Dreamtime with clip (dual mode, backless)
Harmony Secure Comfort Deluxe with clip (backless)
Harmony Youth Booster Seat with clip (backless only)
Maxi-Cosi Rodi XR (dual mode, highback)
Recaro ProBOOSTER (highback only)
Recaro ProSPORT (highback only)
Recaro Vivo (highback only)
Recaro Young Sport (highback only)
Safety 1st Boost Air Protect (dual mode, highback)
The First Years Pathway B570 (highback only)
According to the IIHS, the following seats did not provide good belt fit. If you have one of these seats, the IIHS advises you not to throw it away immediately, because any booster seat is better than none at all. They do recommend, however, you replace it as soon as you can.
Eddie Bauer Deluxe (combination highback only)
Eddie Bauer Deluxe 3-in-1 (highback only)
Evenflo Express (highback only)
Evenflo Generations 65 (highback only)
Evenflo Sightseer (highback only)
Harmony Baby Armor with clip (dual mode, backless)
Safety 1st All-in-One (highback only)
Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite (highback only)
If you don't see your particular brand of booster seat on this list, check the IIHS booster evaluation list. They also list booster seats that were "Good Bets" (we listed just the "Best Bets") and other tested seats.