Health Highlights: Oct. 3, 2008

IIHS President Adrian Lund said the group did not review crash protection, because the seats merely elevate children so that lap and shoulder belts are positioned properly. Seat belts should fit across a child's lower hips and mid-shoulders instead of the abdomen, since injuries to the liver and spleen are possible, he said.

But manufacturers of the seats had a different view of the findings.

In a statement, Evenflo said that it conducts extensive seat testing and called the IIHS study "misleading as it fails to consider the real world use and performance of the seats tested." Dorel Juvenile Group said it welcomed the opportunity to review the evaluation, and Graco Children's Products responded that "safety is always a top priority, and nothing is more important than the well-being of the children who use our products."

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said that parents should not interpret the evaluations to mean that poorly rated seats are ineffective. "The biggest disservice this would do is to encourage people to move out of booster seats, because we know they're an effective restraint, we know they reduce the risk of injury and the risk of fatality," said Dr. Kristy Arbogast, who researches child passenger safety issues at the hospital. She suggested that parents buying booster seats try them out to see how seat belts fit on their child, the AP reported.

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