If you have never had the pleasure of placing a baby into a car seat in your vehicle, then you have no idea of the daily struggle parents face when first trying to figure it all out. Once you get it down pat, it’s comical to think it was once even an issue, but they aren’t as easy as they appear upon first installation. After all, this is your baby’s safety we are talking about, so attention to detail is crucial. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently examined several vehicles to see just how useful their “easy to use” child restraint systems really are.
They checked out over 100 cars and trucks on the market today, and didn’t exactly have stellar reviews for them. The vast majority received grades of “poor” or “marginal” as reported by Boston.com. The rest of the lineup came in at “acceptable”; hardly the type of marks you want to see regarding your child’s car seat safety.
They tested in particular “latch” ratings, which is “lower anchors and tethers for children” as these are required by law since 2002. These latch requirements were intended to make it easier to fasten a car seat, but in some of the models tested, it appeared that the opposite was found. Most parents commonly report they find difficulty locating the anchors, or hooking them to the seats. Toyota Sienna was one of the popular models that did not score so well in these studies, which is one of the most common minivans on the road today, most likely transporting kiddos.
Latch hardware should come equipped with lower anchors, and they cannot be more than three quarters of an inch deep. They should be simple to maneuver, the force that is designed to attach to the anchors shouldn’t be over 40 pounds. The anchors are to be located on the rear deck of the car, or the seatback, but not the bottom of the seatback. They also shouldn’t be found on the roof or the interior or the floor of the car. Car manufacturers are to place these anchors where the parents can easily locate them, and they should have labels on them.
If you are having difficulty with your car seat safety you can contact your car manufacturer, visit safercar.gov, or even stop by your local police department or fire department as they are pretty well versed in car seat safety if they have a moment to assist you. If you happen to be in a car accident with your child in a car seat, you should always replace the car seat as it may not be able to protect your child in the future after suffering an accident even if it looks normal in appearance.