"Smarter Driver: What you need to know about LATCH"
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Cooley On Cars
Cooley On Cars
Smarter Driver: What you need to know about LATCH
Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.
The special child seat connectors you're supposed to use to secure your kid's car seat, not the seatbelt.
They've been required on new cars in the US since September 2002.
But of 102 cars just reviewed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, three were found to have good latch tethers.
The rest, not so much.
Parents shouldn't have to struggle to install a child restraint.
Latches meant to simplify Will fight a process, but it doesn't always succeed.
It's not that poor rated latch tetherers aren't safe and solid, it's that they aren't easy to use.
And in the practical world, that's tantamount to a lack of safety.
Too often they're hard to connect right, parents get it wrong.
The Feds say three out of four times.
So the IIHS set these five simple criteria for a latch to be considered good.
Lower anchors not buried more than three quarters of an inch down in the seat.
At least a 54 degree angle of approach as you're trying to connect to the lower anchor.
Less than 40 pounds of force required to attach a connector.
Upper anchors must be on the rear shelf, or no more than 15% of the way down the seat back, on an SUV or a truck, for example.
And no other connector should be near the latch tether that could be confused for it.
Some vehicles make it a challenge to find the tethering.
In this Toyota Sienna, which gets a poor rating, this is the tether anchor.
It would be easy to get confused by other hardware.
The three tested vehicles that nailed all five, were the BMW 5 series, the Mercedes GL SUV, and Volkswagen's Passat.
But that doesn't mean you can shop with confidence by brand.
Other tested Mercedes only scored acceptable.
All other tested BMWs, marginal.
And VW's Jetta?
It pays to double check that you know how to fasten the latch tethers in your car even if they're not very good.
And if you have kids and are shopping for a new car, make sure you know which ones make using this technology Less of a pain in the latch.
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