Statement on IIHS Booster Seat Ratings, Action Needed to Protect Child Passengers

  • January 24, 2024
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety


Statement of Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), on Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 2024 Booster Seat Rankings

Washington, DC, January 24, 2024 | Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released ratings on booster seats put on the market in 2023, which shows that most of those reviewed received the highest rating of BEST BET. We commend IIHS for their role in evaluating products for child passengers that, when used appropriately, reduce the risk of injury and death in a motor vehicle crash.

Motor vehicle crashes are among the leading causes of death for children in the U.S. In 2021, 1,184 children, defined as age 14 and younger, were killed in traffic crashes. This is a 7.5 percent increase from 2020. More can and must be done on the state and federal levels to better protect children.

As state legislative sessions commence for the year, Advocates urges the advancement of laws that best protect child passengers. As outlined in Advocates’ 2024 Roadmap to Safety report, those laws should include requirements for:

  • Infants and toddlers to remain rear facing minimally through age two to support relatively large heads on weak neck musculature.
  • After children have outgrown the forward-facing safety seat, sitting in a booster seat until they can be properly restrained by a safety belt, which usually occurs around 57 inches in height and ages 9-12, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others. Using a booster seat with a seat belt instead of a seat belt alone reduces a child’s risk of injury in a crash by 45 percent.
  • Sitting in the rear seat through age 12.

No state has enacted all three laws recommended in the Roadmap report, and only nine have two of the three. Clearly, it is time for state elected officials to prioritize child passenger safety.

On the federal level, the U.S. Department of Transportation needs to issue Final Rules on rear seat belt reminders, occupant detection and alert technology to prevent pediatric “hot car” incidents, technology to prevent frontovers in which a driver cannot see a child and hits or drives over them at a low speed, improved hood and bumper standards, an updated seatback collapse standard, and side impact protection for children. Moreover, requiring advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including automatic emergency braking (AEB), as standard equipment will better protect children and all road users. The Final Rule on AEB for cars was recently sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and we urge its completion with great urgency.

Children are our most delicate and precious passengers, and we must take all necessary steps to ensure their safety.

For media inquiries: Shane Austin at


Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, law enforcement and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer. Advocates’ mission is the adoption of federal and state laws, policies and programs that prevent motor vehicle crashes, save lives, reduce injuries, and contain costs. Advocates is based in Washington, DC. For more information, visit