Recent Family News
Car seat installation a challenge for manyMost parents strive to purchase safe baby products such as strollers, cribs, toys and car seats for their children. However, even the most safety-conscious parents may have problems installing their children's car seats, according to the findings of a new report.
Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) has revealed that the way many cars are designed makes it hard to properly install car seats.
Researchers evaluated 98 top-selling 2010-11 model passenger vehicles to determine how easy the LATCH system is to use, testing whether the child-seat anchors were visible, easily accessible and usable without excessive force. They found just 21 models have LATCH designs that are easy to use.
"Installing a child restraint isn't always as simple as a couple of clicks and you're done," said IIHS' Anne McCartt. "Sometimes parents blame themselves when they struggle with LATCH, but oftentimes the problem lies with the vehicle, not the user."
The study found safety belt buckles, plastic housing or vehicle seats often obscure or interfere with lower car seat anchors. Another issue is the anchors are sometimes buried deep within the back seats, so parents might have to dig around in the cushions to find them.
It was also revealed that many parents aren't using the system's tethers to secure the seats. Volunteers used top tethers less than half of the time with forward-facing child restraints. And, when tethers were used, 54 percent of the installations were incorrect.
LATCH, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is now required in all new vehicles.
Individuals can view the full list of cars that have easy-to-use LATCH systems at IIHS.org.