When it comes to your child’s safety in your car you don’t care what you have to spend, you will buy the best booster seat you can find. You might find assurance in the manufacturer’s claim that the seat meets or exceeds all federal government standards for child safety seats. If you think that means anything you are in for a surprise.
Recent disclosures have informed the public that meeting the federal safety guidelines is basically meaningless. As The Safety Institute blog recently pointed out, a three ring binder filled with paper and wrapped in duct tape would "meet or exceed" the federal standard. The failure to produce meaningful safety standards for child booster seats has led to the marketing of blatantly unsafe seats. Among these are inflatable seats that offer many risks for misuse or failure needlessly endangering small children.
Look for a solid seat without excessive padding that interacts with the manufacturer supplied safety belt system to secure the child and the seat. The seat should not have a risk of deflation, accidental or caused by a curious child. The seat material should not compress beyond what is necessary to pad the seat for comfort.
Apply some common sense as well. If you can easily dislodge the seat by lifting the front or rear when it is properly belted down the same thing can happen in a crash. Don’t accept claims of compliance with federal standards as a mark of safety. Just as the flammability standards for children’s clothing leave children at severe risk the standards for booster seats expose children to unsafe products.
There are no meaningful government standards for the safety or your child’s booster seat. Careful selection of a top quality seat will protect your child’s safety far more effectively than a seller’s claim that the seat complies with all government standards.