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IIHS introduces ease-of-use ratings of hardware

Only 3 cars of more than 100 appraised by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have child restraint installation hardware that receives a great rating for ease of use, while more than half have hardware that is insignificant or marginal.

The Institute’s brand-new LATCH ratings will work as a means for families looking for an auto that makes it easy to carry their children safely. They also are meant to encourage car manufacturers to pay attention to this equipment and make improvements.

Nicely installed, age-appropriate child restraints ensure considerably more protection for children in crashes than safety belts itself. Nevertheless, observational researchers have found that caregivers and parents often could not secure them correctly or make other installation mistakes.

LATCH, which means Lower Anchors as well as Tethers for Children, is determined to make it easier to mount a child seat correctly. It works: Child restraints mounted with LATCH, rather than with car safety belts, are apparently to be fixed correctly, research has shown.

However, in many automobiles, LATCH hardware could be improved. Adults are more likely to mount the seat properly when the LATCH hardware meets some key ease-of-use criteria.

“LATCH is meant to simplify child seat installations, however it doesn’t always work,” informs Jessica Jermakian. “Very often adults strive to place the anchors in the auto or find it’s difficult to attach the seats to them. We hope cope with those problems will make the task less frustrating for parents and increase the likelihood that children will ride in properly installed seats.”

Good LATCH defined

LATCH has been necessary in autos and on child restraints since 2002. In a car, the lower anchors are placed where the seatback meets the bottom seat cushion, an area known as the seat bight. Fastenings at the bottom of the child restraint bounded to these. The top border connects the top of the child seat to an anchor placed on the car’s rear seatback, shelf, cargo area, ceiling or floor.

Child restraints can be fixed with lower anchors as well as safety belts. A top tether ought to be used with every forward-facing child restraint. Equally if it is secured using the safety belt or using the lower anchors.

In the new ratings system, car LATCH hardware is rated great if it meets the next criteria:

  • The lowermost anchors are definitely no more than 3/4 inch deep in the seat bight.
  • The lowermost anchors are light to operate around. This is specify as having a clearance angle greater than 54 degrees.
  • The force needed to fix a standardized tool to the lower anchors is no more than 40 pounds. Tether anchors are on the car’s back deck or on the top 85 % of the seatback. They mustn’t be under the seat bottom of the seatback as well as on the floor or on the ceiling.
  • The area where the tether anchor is found doesn’t have any other hardware that could be confused for the tether anchor. When other hardware is there, then the tether anchor must have a vivid label placed within 3 inches of it.

How vehicles rate

Of 102 present models that IIHS has rated for LATCH, the 3 good ones are the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class; the BMW 5 series, a large luxury car; a large SUV; and the Volkswagen Passat, a midsize car. Of the rest 45 are inconsequent, 44 are passable are insignificant.

The poor-rated cars run the gamut of auto types from mini-cars to huge pickups. Most glaring is the Toyota Sienna. As a minivan, it is commonly bought to ferry children.

“Even if you’re not in the market for an all-new auto, our ratings can be a useful source of information about a car you already get,” Jermakian claims. “We are substantially supplying you with a map of where child seats can be installed most easily in your auto with the particular hardware available for each seating position.”

Seating configurations & LATCH hardware might be different depending on the trim level or type of seats. The rating details explain which specific auto was checked.

Good+ to reward greater flexibility

The Institute programmers award additional credit to autos with great-rated LATCH that also supply adults with extra LATCH variants beyond the 2 required seating positions. In the whole, the “good+” rating would support the availability of LATCH in the 2nd-row center location, the better place for children to travel. Presently, no cars qualify for good+.

A 2-row car that faces with the criteria for a great rating in addition has good or acceptable or LATCH in the center will be rated good+. The center LATCH location may use either dedicated anchors as well as borrowed anchors.

A 3-row car must have one extra full LATCH location and tether anchors in all back seating locations to get good+. If the car has a 2nd-row center seating location, it must have the capability to use LATCH there as well.

Current LATCH ratings

(2015 models unless otherwise noted)

Good
BMW 5 series Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Volkswagen Passat
Acceptable
Acura MDX Dodge Durango Honda Odyssey Mazda 3
Buick Enclave Dodge Grand Caravan Honda Pilot Mazda CX-5
Chevrolet Cruze Ford Edge Hyundai Santa Fe Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Chevrolet Equinox Ford Expedition Jeep Cherokee Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Chevrolet Impala Ford Explorer Jeep Compass Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Chevrolet Malibu Ford Flex Kia Forte 2014 Nissan Maxima
Chevrolet Tahoe Ford Focus Kia Optima Nissan Murano
Chevrolet Traverse Ford Taurus Kia Sedona Nissan Pathfinder
Chrysler 300 GMC Terrain Kia Sorento Nissan Versa
Chrysler Town & Country GMC Yukon XL Kia Soul Toyota Camry
Dodge Dart Honda Civic Lexus GX Volvo S60
Marginal
2016 Acura RDX Ford Escape Lexus CT 200h Subaru Impreza
Audi Q7 Ford F-150 Lexus NX Subaru Outback
BMW 3 series Ford Fusion Lexus RC Subaru XV Crosstrek
2016 BMW X3 GMC Acadia Lexus RX Toyota 4Runner
BMW X5 Honda Accord Mazda CX-9 Toyota Avalon
Buick LaCrosse Honda CR-V Mini Cooper Toyota Corolla
Cadillac SRX Hyundai Elantra Nissan Frontier Toyota Highlander
Chevrolet Sonic Hyundai Sonata Nissan Quest Toyota Prius
Chrysler 200 Infiniti QX60 Nissan Rogue Toyota RAV4
Dodge Charger Jeep Grand Cherokee Nissan Sentra Volvo V60
Dodge Journey Jeep Wrangler Subaru Forester Volvo XC60
Dodge Ram 1500
Poor
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Hyundai Accent Nissan Altima Toyota Tundra
Ford Fiesta Lexus ES Toyota Sienna Volkswagen Jetta
GMC Sierra 1500 Mazda 6