Many Automakers’ Latch Systems Difficult to Use, Study Finds

Posted on 12. Apr, 2012 by in Auto News

Installing a child safety seat can be a difficult and automakers do not make it not be easier with their latch systems, according to a new study.

The study looked at 98 of the best selling cars from the years 2010 and 2011 model years and found that only 21 of them easily use latch systems had. The Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, which was found in cars from the 2003 model year and unify the in-car kit for car seat installation.

It should make it easier for parents to get the right car seat fit and ensure that the child is protected riding in the car seat in a crash.

The joint study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute was conducted, researchers at the latch hardware and rear seat designs in vehicles to determine what is needed to ensure the latch system anchors the bottom and top facilitate tether anchorages parents use.

  • Depth: Lower anchors should be easy to see and not more than three quarters of an inch in the seat reservation, meet where the back and bottom cushions.
  • Clearance: It should be nothing in the way of the anchor. Often hampered buckles or seat cushion to access the anchors. The researchers say there should be enough space around the lower anchors in order to approach at an angle or straight-on.
  • Force: When anchor deep bay in the seat buried objects or block access to the anchors, the parents have a lot to use force in order to get to them. The researchers recommend that parents be able to install a car seat with less than 40 pounds of force.

Our Car Seat Checks, we look at all of these factors when considering a car latch system. A high-back booster seat, a forward and rear-facing convertible seat and a rear-facing infant-safety seat – in 200 in the two years that we have been performing our tests, we installed three child safety seats cars. We have found that the list of cars that have latch system properly, the three factors mentioned above. The lower anchors are easy to find and access, nothing will hinder it, and it does not take much effort to properly install a car seat.

"These are things that a car manufacturer to improve child restraint systems, and most of them are not difficult," said Anne McCartt of the Institute's senior vice president for research and one of the authors of the report. "Lower Anchors can be designed so that they are easy to use."

In the study, volunteers installed car seats in the test car and certified car seat technicians evaluated the volunteers installations. All the volunteers used child safety seats in their own vehicles.

While top-tether anchors are easy to operate often easier than the lower Latch anchors, many parents forget to use them when their child moves in a forward facing child seat. "With linen, the main problem use, usability is not," says Kathy Klinich, assistant scientist at UMTRI and the study's lead author. "Many parents do not know they are supposed to use the leash."

Below are the models that have the test and study all three of the easy-to-install criteria and those who passed did not meet any of the criteria.

Make easy installation criteria

  • 2011 Audi A4 Quattro
  • 2011 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2011 Chevrolet Equinox LT
  • 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab
  • 2011 Chevrolet Suburban LT
  • 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe LS
  • 2010 Chrysler Town & Country
  • 2011 Dodge Caliber Mainstreet
  • 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Crew
  • 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab
  • 2011 Ford Escape XLT
  • 2011 Ford F-150 Super Crew Cab
  • 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab SLE
  • 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L
  • 2011 Kia Sedona LX
  • 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • 2011 Mercedes-Benz C300
  • 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350
  • 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Coupe
  • 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer ES
  • 2011 Toyota Tacoma Extended Cab

Meet no easy installation criteria

  • 2011 Buick Enclave CX
  • 2011 Chevrolet Impala LT
  • 2011 Dodge Avenger Express
  • 2011 Ford Flex SEL
  • 2011 Ford Taurus Limited
  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata Ltd
  • 2011 Toyota Sienna XLE