Updated: November 24, 2016 03:18am PT

Statement in Response to IIHS Decision Not to Rate mifold®

United States - November 20th, 2016 - The US based IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) recently published their 2016 Status Report which features an article on Belt Positioning Booster Seats. In this status report, IIHS included an article addressing why they decided not to rate the mifold Grab-and-Go booster seat, stating that mifold is not comparable to the other boosters that IIHS evaluates.

carFoldio Ltd., the manufacturer of mifold, disputes the position that the IIHS has taken and is providing the information below to clarify the situation for our customers.

Is mifold a Booster Seat? Absolutely yes.

mifold is a Booster Seat as defined in safety regulations for the United States1,4 and Canada2 and a Booster Cushion in the European Union3. Therefore, using mifold to position vehicle seat belts on children meets the requirements for securing booster age children of every national, state and provincial child restraint law that stipulate those regulatory requirements.

The IIHS based its current booster seat rating system on previously available booster seat models – specifically those that lift the child up to better position the adult seat belt, and not an innovative device like mifold that positions the belt without lifting the child. Because of the significant differences in design, the IIHS decided to reclassify the mifold as a belt-positioning device and not evaluate it for the 2016 ratings.

What is the difference between a Booster Seat and a Belt Positioning Device?

A traditional Booster Seat or Booster Cushion has a thick cushion which lifts (boosts) a child up to be in the position of an adult and guides to locate the adult seat belt so that the seat belt is positioned correctly on the bones of the hips and the shoulder. mifold is relatively flat but still properly positions the adult belts on the child however it does this in a very different way.  Instead of lifting the child up, mifold has lap belt guides that hold the seat belt down and then guides the lap belt over the thighs. mifold achieves ideal belt positioning on the hips and the shoulder and provides comparable crash protection without the need for a large, bulky seat. This allows mifold to be folded up into a compact and highly portable unit that still provides the same level of protection as a traditional booster.

We decided to call mifold a Booster Seat following an intensive review of the regulations and laws along with extensive market research with parents and caregivers.  mifold is the only flat Booster Seat in the world.  By calling mifold a Booster Seat (which it certainly is), we found that it helps caregivers understand how, when and why to use mifold. It is also consistent with all safety regulations and laws.

Is mifold safe?  Absolutely yes.

Whether classified as a Belt Positioning Device or a Booster Seat, the testing standards applied are the same.  mifold has been tested many times per the required regulatory standards. The results are well within the allowable limits and are industry-leading in two critical measures - Head Excursion and Knee Excursion.  These two requirements reduce the likelihood of a child’s head striking the interior of the vehicle and of the lap portion of the seat belt causing internal organ injuries. In addition to the FMVSS tests conducted in the USA, mifold has been thoroughly tested, and is compliant, with applicable safety standards in Canada and the European Union.

IIHS Belt Fit Ratings and the Exclusion of the mifold

The IIHS chose not to rate mifold in this year’s report; specifying that mifold does not lift a child up like traditional booster seats and therefore cannot be directly compared.  We agree with the IIHS that mifold does not lift the child and that it is a Belt Positioning Device.  We also maintain that mifold provides ideal belt fit in all common vehicle configurations used in the rating process conducted by IIHS and that mifold meets or exceeds the safety requirements of the U.S., Canada and Europe.

mifold Design and “Best Bet” Belt Fit

Although the IIHS has taken the position that it would not test a flat Belt Positioning Seat like mifold, the belt routing of mifold and the resulting belt location on children were specifically designed to meet the IIHS “Best Bet” belt fit protocol. In fact, the design of mifold included consultation with IIHS technicians for insights on achieving a Best Bet belt fit rating.

We believe that mifold should be evaluated and rated by the IIHS.  We have asked them to revisit their decision by developing new testing protocols for innovative child restraint systems like mifold.

Concluding Points

The mifold Grab-and-Go booster seat is the most advanced, compact and portable booster seat ever invented. It is more that 10x smaller than a regular booster seat and just as safe.

mifold is a belt-positioning booster seat that should have a belt fit rating under the IIHS rating system.   

Booster seats are fundamental to child passenger safety and should be used on every trip.

The just-released “NHTSA 2015 National Survey of the Use of Booster Seats” shows more than 37 percent of children aged 4 to 7 in the United States were not being properly restrained. Research from the University of Michigan shows that 50% of kids in America don't have the right booster when carpooling and IIHS themselves reports similar rates. In Europe, Volvo measurers 1 in 5 journeys where children are unprotected and Good Egg in the UK recently reported 33% of children aged eight and up are not using appropriate restraints.

With mifold, we offer all caregivers a safe belt positioning booster seat that is available all the time. Unlike with traditional, bulky booster seats, a child can always be safe with the innovative mifold belt positioning device - no matter whose car they are in.

For more information on mifold, please visit www.mifold.com

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1 “Booster seat” means either a backless child restraint system or a belt-positioning seat. FMVSS 213, US law

2 “Booster seat” means a removable device designed to be used in a vehicle for seating a person whose mass is at least 18 kg, to ensure that the seat belt assembly fits properly. RSSR, Canadian law

3 “Booster Cushion” means a firm cushion, which can be used with an adult seat belt. ECE R44/04, EU law

4 “Belt-positioning seat” means a child restraint system that positions a child on a vehicle seat to improve the fit of a vehicle Type II belt system on the child and that lacks any component, such as a belt system or a structural element, designed to restrain forward movement of the child’s torso in a forward impact.