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Study: Car Design Make Car Seat Usage Problematic

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(Photo Credit: healthystuff.org)

(Photo Credit: healthystuff.org)

CBS Miami (con't)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If you’ve ever tried to install a car seat, you know how frustrating it can be for even the most seasoned parent. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, there’s a reason for this, cars aren’t being set up properly to make car seat installation easy.

The IIHS focused on the system known as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, or LATCH. The system was originally designed with standard hardware to make car seat installation easier. Even with the LATCH system, the installation of a car seat is still problematic.

“Installing a child restraint isn’t always as simple as a couple of clicks and you’re done,” says Anne McCartt, the Institute’s senior vice president for research and one of the report’s authors. “Sometimes parents blame themselves when they struggle with LATCH, but oftentimes the problem lies with the vehicle, not the user.”

The IIHS found that only seven vehicles out of 98 analyzed had a LATCH system in the middle of a second-row seat, which is the safest place for children to travel. In addition, the lower anchors for the system were visible on just 36 of the 98 cars studied.

IIHS researchers looked at three factors in making their determinations: Depth, Clearance, and Force. Depth referred to how deep in the seat the anchors were. Clearance refers to nothing obstructing access to the anchors. Researchers said force was based on using less than 40 pounds of force during installation.

Several 20111 models did meet all of the easy-installation criteria including:

  • Audi A4 Quattro
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Chevrolet Equinox LT
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab
  • Chevrolet Suburban LT
  • Chevrolet Tahoe LS
  • Chrysler Town & Country (2010)
  • Dodge Caliber Mainstreet
  • Dodge Grand Caravan Crew
  • Dodge Ram 1500 crew cab
  • Ford Escape XLT
  • Ford F-150 SuperCrew Cab
  • GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab SLE
  • Honda Pilot EX-L
  • Kia Sedona LX
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Mercedes-Benz C300
  • Mercedes-Benz E350
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe GS
  • Mitsubishi Lancer ES
  • Toyota Tacoma extended cab

On the other hand, researchers found several 2011 models that didn’t meet any easy-installation criteria including:

  • Buick Enclave CX
  • Chevrolet Impala LT
  • Dodge Avenger Express
  • Ford Flex SEL
  • Ford Taurus Limited
  • Hyundai Sonata Limited
  • Toyota Sienna XLE
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