Few Cars Have Easily Accessible Child Seat Latches: IIHS

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
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
Volkswagen Passat

Acura MDX
Buick Enclave
Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Equinox
Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet Tahoe
Chevrolet Traverse
Chrysler 300
Chrysler Town & Country
Dodge Dart
Dodge Durango
Dodge Grand Caravan
Ford Edge
Ford Expedition
Ford Explorer
Ford Flex
Ford Focus
Ford Taurus
GMC Terrain
GMC Yukon XL
Honda Civic
Honda Odyssey
Honda Pilot
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Cherokee
Jeep Compass
Kia Forte
Kia Optima
Kia Sedona
Kia Sorento
Kia Soul
Lexus GX
Mazda 3
Mazda CX-5
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
2014 Nissan Maxima
Nissan Murano
Nissan Pathfinder
Nissan Versa
Toyota Camry
Volvo s60

206 Acura RDX
Audi Q7
BMW 3 series
2016 BMW X3
Buick LaCrosse
Cadillac SRX
Chevrolet Sonic
Chrysler 200
Dodge Charger
Dodge Journey
Dodge Ram 1500
Ford Escape
Ford F-150
Ford Fusion
GMC Acadia
Honda Accord
Honda CR-V
Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai Sonata
Infiniti QX60
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep Wrangler
Lexus CT 200h
Lexus NX
Lexus RC
Lexus RX
Mazda CX-9
Mini Cooper
Nissan Frontier
Nissan Quest
Nissan Rogue
Nissan Sentra
Subaru Forester
Subaru Impreza
Subaru Outback
Subaru XV Crosstrek
Toyota 4Runner
Toyota Avalon
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Highlander
Toyota Prius
Toyota Rav4
Volvo V60
Volvo XC60

Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Ford Fiesta
Hyundai Accent
Lexus ES
Nissan Altima
Toyota Sienna
Toyota Tundra
Volkswagen Jetta

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