NHTSA 04-06
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Contact: Rae Tyson
Telephone: (202) 366-9550

NHTSA Releases 2006 Child Safety Seat Ratings

The newest models of child safety seats are easier to use than their predecessors, according to an annual National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) survey.

NHTSA rated 99 child safety seats for ease of use from 14 different manufacturers for 2006. Of the 99 seats rated, 85 received an overall score of A. In 2005, 74 percent of rated seats received an overall score of A. Clearer labels and instructions accounted for most of the improvements in 2006.

“Knowing what rating a child safety or booster seat has is the best way for parents to buy one that is safe, effective and easy to use,” said NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason.

NHTSA began its “Ease of Use” ratings for child restraint systems, including booster seats, in 2003. The agency uses a grading system of A, B, or C to denote how easy it is to use the safety seats. The top grade is A.

In addition to the overall rating, NHTSA also uses the letter grading system to denote how well the child safety seats perform in five individual categories: assembly requirements; clarity of labeling; clarity of written instructions; ease of securing a child and ease of installation in a vehicle.

The 2006 ratings represent approximately 95 percent of safety seats currently available to consumers. As in 2005, there were no safety seats that received an overall "C" rating; however, there were several "C" scores in some individual categories.

The NHTSA survey also notes that LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), a system that makes child safety seat installation easier is required for most vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2002.

Full 2006 "ease-of-use" ratings can be found here.