11 Worst Booster Seats for Kids According to Safety Group (PHOTOS)

child in booster seatBetween style, convenience, and of course, safety, choosing a booster seat for your child is not an easy decision. But one report is about to narrow down your list. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just came out with their annual ranking of the best and worst booster seats for kids.

Among the 41 brand new models for 2014, they listed 27 as "Best Bets," which is their highest ranking in all categories. Beyond that, there are three "Good Bets," which offer standard safety and comfort. But then eight new models fall under the "Check Fit" category, which means that depending on the model of the car, the seat might not work. And then the worst offenders: three new seats make the "Not Recommended" list because of safety concerns.

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Click through the slideshow below to see which booster seats ranked as "Check Fit" and the which ones are "Not Recommended" to make sure your kids are in a safe seat.

Do you have a "Not Recommended" seat in your car?


Image via NHTSA

  • Dream On Me Coupe Booster (Backless Mode)

    1

    The Dream On Me Coupe Booster, in backless mode, made the "Check Fit" list on this year's IIHS ratings. The seat, which retails for just $13.99, needs to be individually checked for each car and child, especially when it comes to proper belt fit and sizing.

  • Eddie Bauer Deluxe Belt-Positioning Booster (Backless Mode)

    2

    The Eddie Bauer Deluxe Belt-Positioning Booster has a removable back, and when you've chosen to take out that protective backing, the rating drops from "Best Bet" to "Check Fit." Once again, the IIHS has designated this backless option as one of its to-watch seats. Make sure that when the back is removed, you've ensured that the belt fit is still proper and that it sits correctly in your car.

  • Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 With Safety Surround (Backless Mode)

    3

    The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 With Safety Surround's backless mode makes the IIHS's "Check Fit" list. So before you buy or take off the back, make sure to test out the seat. Check if the safety belts are correctly positioned once the seat is placed and that the belt lies flat across the child's thighs.

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  • Harmony Folding Travel Booster (Highback)

    4

    One of the few highbacks to make the "Check Fit" list, the Harmony Folding Travel Booster is unique in that it folds. Although it's meant to serve as a travel seat and be easy for parents on the go, the IIHS warns the seat does not uniformly conform to each car's make and model and must therefore by individually checked each time you settle into a car.

  • Maxi-Cosi Rodi AP (Backless Mode)

    5

    As soon as you take that back off the Maxi-Cosi Rodi AP, the booster seat falls down to the "Check Fit" category. So if you choose to remove the high back option, check the seat and car each time you move it to make sure that the seat belt and its fit properly protect your little rider.

  • Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120 (Backless Mode)

    6

    The Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120 is ideal for passengers weighing 40 to 120 pounds, but before you settle your little guy or girl in the seat, be warned this one sits on the "Check Fit" list and may not work in your car.

  • Dream On Me Turbo Booster (Backless Mode)

    7

    Like the Coupe version (which looks similar), the Dream On Me Turbo Booster, which has a removable back option, has also received the "Check Fit" rating. Its highback option, on the other hand, is one of the best booster seats on the market: IIHS marks that one as a "Best Bet."

  • Safety 1st Store 'n' Go (Backless Mode)

    8

    The Safety 1st Store 'n' Go in backless mode is the last new product on IIHS' "Check Fit" list. Its highback option, on the other hand, is a solid "Best Bet," so be careful when deciding to remove the back.

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  • Diono Olympia (Highback)

    9

    The Diono Olympia highback booster is strongly not recommended by the IIHS. According to the ratings, the shoulder belt fit is the biggest problem with the seat. Instead of resting across the center of the child's chest, the shoulder belt actually touches the face, which is a big no-no for seats. On top of that, these belts aren't adjustable, so there's no way around it.

  • Diono Pacifica (Highback)

    10

    The Diono Pacifica highback booster has the exact same problem as the Olympia. The guides for the shoulder straps (those little red anchors on the top) aren't adjustable, so the shoulder belt cannot be moved away from the child's face and into the proper position.

  • Kids Embrace Batman No Back Booster (Backless)

    11

    The Kids Embrace Batman No Back Booster might look cool, but it's no superhero seat. In this case, it's the lap belt that's the main problem. The IIHS says that the "armrests that serve as the lap belt path keep the belt too far out on the thighs." So if it's the decor you're going for, try the highback Batman option that rates as a "Best Bet."

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