Many find the car safety seats difficult to use

Consumer Alert

POSTED: Sunday, April 15, 2012 - 10:30am

UPDATED: Sunday, April 15, 2012 - 10:34am

A frustrating feat for any parent of a child that still requires restraint seats is installing the restraint correctly.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a study Thursday on the latch restraint system.

It's been required on every car and most other vehicles manufactured since 2002.

The institute's Anne McCartt says poor design by auto manufacturers is partly to blame for the difficulties in using the system, like seat belt buckles blocking access to the anchor that holds the restraint in place.

"What we found is that automakers could be doing a better job, in many vehicles, at making it easier for parents to install child restraints," McCartt says.

Parents are being challenged, as well, for not using the tether that extends from the top of the restraint seats.

"We think many parents may believe the tether is optional, but the tether isn't optional, it's absolutely essential to getting the best protection from a forward facing child seat," McCartt says.

To drive home that point the institute ran tests to demonstrate what happens if the top tether is not attached.

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