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The United States Department of Transportation (“DOT”) has created a new fivestar government rating system to grade child safety seats. The rating will indicate how easy a seat is to properly install.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) data, seven of ten child safety seats are either the wrong size for the child or are seriously misused, which reduces their effectiveness in a crash. When properly used, child restraint systems reduce fatal injury by seventy-one percent for infants and by fifty-four percent for toddlers in passenger cars.

All car seats rated by NHTSA meet minimum federal safety standards and crash performance standards. They differ, however, in their ease of use in four basic categories.

  • Securing the Child
  • Vehicle Installation Features
  • Evaluation of Labels
  • Evaluation of Instructions

The five-star rating system helps consumers evaluate the four basic categories. Five stars represent the highest rating and one star signifies the lowest rating.

*****
Excellent features on this child restraint for this category.
****
Above average features on this child restraint for this category.
***
Average features on this child restraint for this category.
**
Below average features on this child restraint for this category.
*
Poor features on this child restraint for this category.
N/A
Does not contain any features that require a rating.

DOT will continuously rate new models as they are introduced into the marketplace. A list of current rankings is available at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ratings page for child seat ease of use.

Remember, the best car seat is the one that fits your child properly, is easy to use, and fits in your vehicle correctly. To help ensure that you have installed your car seat correctly, consider having it checked at an inspection station or by a certified child passenger safety technician.