Few cars allow parents to easily install their child's car seat, a new report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveals.
Only the Volkeswagen Passat, the BMW 5 series and the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class received good ratings in the organization's first-ever report on child seat latches. The IIHS tested how easy the latches are to find and use.
The Volkeswagen Jetta, Nissan Altima and Toyota Sienna were among the cars that received a poor rating.
"Parents often struggle to locate the anchors in the vehicle or find it’s difficult to attach the seats to them. We believe fixing these problems will...increase the likelihood that children will ride in properly installed seats," Jessica Jermakian, an IIHS senior research scientist. "
The IIHS say child restraints installed with a vehicle's latch system, rather than safety belts, are more likely to be installed correctly.
In response to the report, Toyota said all of their vehicles meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards requirements for latch safety. They also said they continue to modify car designs based on recommendations such as those from the IIHS and from customer feedback.
Volkswagen, whose Passat received a “good” ranking, added that the Jetta, which ranked “poor,” previously earned a spot as an IIHS Top Safety Pick in 2015.
“We have no records of complaints of the LATCH system in the Jetta and have, in fact, have received positive reviews in the media,” a spokesperson for Volkswagen said.
Madza received "poor," "marginal," and "acceptable ratings for several vehicles, but the manufacturer notes that the study only measured ease o use.
"The IIHS has stated that a correct installation in a vehicle with poor LATCH (lower anchors/tethers for child seats) is just as safe as a correct installation in a vehicle with good LATCH,” Mazda said.
Here's where the cars the IIHS tested ranked:
BMW 5 series
Chrysler Town & Country
Dodge Grand Caravan
GMC Yukon XL
Hyundai Santa Fe
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
2014 Nissan Maxima
206 Acura RDX
BMW 3 series
2016 BMW X3
Dodge Ram 1500
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Lexus CT 200h
Subaru XV Crosstrek
Chevrolet Silverado 1500