The side impact protection systems built into a vehicle, such as side-intrusion beams and side curtain airbags, are the first line of protection for a child in the event of a side-impact collision.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sets the federal standards (FMVSS 213) that child restraints and booster seats are required to meet (In Canada, this is done by Transport Canada through CMVSS 213). The current federal standard does not include a side impact test for booster seats. So, no booster seat meets a federally regulated side-impact requirement, as one does not exist.
Clek ALWAYS recommends that parents keep their children in a car seat with a harness for as long as possible, until they reach the maximum height and weight limit for their seat. A booster seat will not provide the same side impact protection that a harnessed child seat would. However, by properly positioning the vehicle belt on the child, a booster seat reduces the risk of injury for children in the event of a crash compared to being secured with the vehicle belt alone.
Backless booster seats such as the Ozzi will not provide additional side impact protection as there is no additional structure or energy absorbing material around the child’s head and torso. But, by raising the child up, a booster seat better positions the child for the side impact protection systems built into the vehicle.