Narrator: Installing child restraints can frustrate even the most capable of parents. A system called Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children is supposed to make things easier by standardizing attachment hardware, but a new study shows that many automakers aren’t paying attention to the key factors that make LATCH work.
Mary McCartt: The IIHS is releasing a new study showing the difficulties many parents have with installing child restraints properly. It’s often more cumbersome than it should be.
A system called Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) was supposed to make things easier. The idea was that the easier installations would result in more restraint use and more restraints used properly. The problem is that the seats of the vehicles themselves often work against parents.
We looked at nearly 100 best-selling vehicles, and found that only 21 of them have rear seat designs that help parents use LATCH correctly. A common problem is that belt buckles obscure and interfere with the lower anchors. You can’t click a connector in if there is a buckle in the way. In some vehicles the anchor is so buried in the seat that you can’t even see it.
Many parents tend to see tethers as optional, but they are key to getting the best protection out of a child restraint. Many parents blame themselves when they struggle with the installation of a child restraint, but we found the problem is often with the vehicle, not the parent. Automakers could do a lot more to make it easier.