It's a sad thing to even think about, but the truth remains that child injuries frequently happen due to car seats. And while a number of these injuries stem from defective car seats, it turns out that the design of many passenger seats in vehicles also makes it very hard for parents to properly install these car seats. A car seat not being properly installed can lead to serious injury if there is a motor vehicle accident.
Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a university's transportation research institute found that in the 98 top-selling vehicles for the past two years, only 21 were actually designed in a way that made it easy for parents to securely fasten a child safety seat.
The study involved 36 volunteers who all use child safety seats in their own vehicles and are therefore comfortable and familiar with how to install a safety seat. These volunteers were then asked to install three different styles of safety seats into three different vehicles.
In total, only 13 percent of the volunteers were able to properly install the safety seats.
When looking at what the issues was, the system referred to in the auto industry as the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, also known as Latch, made it difficult to install the seats. In some vehicles, the lower anchors were set back too far to be able to easily access. In others, bolstering and other features of the vehicle made it difficult to secure the seat.
Design was also an issue in some vehicles, with some volunteers having to use more than 40 pounds of pressure to be able to actually get the car seat properly secured into the vehicle.
What's interesting to note about this study is the fact that the Latch system, which the auto industry reportedly follows in order to make it easier to install car safety seats, actually seems to be the problem.