Child Safety Seat Study Passes Only 21 of 98 Vehicles Tested

Over a decade ago, requirements were set for backseat car designs to make child safety seats easier to install correctly, but they are still making it difficult.

A study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows that only 21 of 98 vehicles tested met all of the requirements for ease of use. It also showed that seven of the 2011 vehicles did not meet any requirements.

Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, more commonly known as LATCH, is an attachment system that was mandated because inspections often found child safety seats were installed incorrectly. Parents should know that usually the problem lies with the vehicle, not the user.

The study found that belt buckles or other seat hardware can get in the way of the child seat connectors. Another problem that arose was anchors may be buried to deep within the seat making them hard to reach. Researchers also found that many parents do not use the upper tether that was made to secure the top part of the car seat if the vehicle was ever involved in a crash. These straps can help prevent neck or head injuries.

Cars and safety seats must now be made more compatible. Trade groups representing car and child seat makers have a combined working group to address these problems.

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