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New Report Shows Many Vehicles Make Child Safety Seat Installation Difficult

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Child seats are essential to keeping young children safe when in the car, but as many parents have attested, securing the seat properly can be a challenge. According to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), these complaints are valid, as a number of vehicles tested low for how easily child safety seats could be installed.

Here are some details about the study:

  • Researchers focused on ease of installation using a child safety seat’s Latch system, which uses three anchors to secure the seat. Latch stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, and is federally mandated.
  • Of the 102 vehicles tested by researchers, only three received the highest rating of “Good” - the BMW 5 series, the Volkswagen Passat, and the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.
  • 44 vehicles received an “Acceptable” rating, 45 were rated “Marginal,” and 10 received “Poor” - the lowest rating possible.

The Latch system was a significant development credited with improving safety. It works by using two components - one that includes lower anchors near the rear of the seat and another using tether anchors found on the seat back, floor, cargo area, or ceiling. Federal regulators have required Latch systems on all vehicles since 2003.

By raising awareness about the less-than-user-friendly nature of the Latch system, researchers hope automakers will make efforts to improve the ways they design and implement Latch in vehicles. For the time being, all parents should make sure child safety seats are safe and properly secured before transporting small children.

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