Most vehicles fail child car seat study's safety test

A new study faults automobile manufacturers for unnecessarily difficult LATCH systems.

Relatively few vehicles passed muster when it came to child safety seats in a new report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Twenty-one of the 98 top-selling 2010-11 model passenger vehicles have what IIHS described in its media release as easy-to-use LATCH designs. LATCH, or Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is a system designed to make installing child restraints convenient and safe.

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

The study found the rear seat design in several of the vehicles made it difficult to properly install the seats. The LATCH system's depth, clearance and force needed to access it were primary factors identified in the study.

In an appearance on WNWO Today, Lindsay Wiemken of Promedica Toledo Children's Hospital, encouraged parents to read the car seat manual and the vehicle owner's manual thoroughly. Wiemken also said the hospital has certified technicians available to inspect area residents' car seats to make sure they are properly installed.

If you use/have used child restraints, how easy is the LATCH system to use in your car? What problems, if any, did you come across? Sound off below and on our WNWO Facebook page.