Children at Risk of Injuries from Unsecured Car Seats

baby.jpgParents often find it difficult to secure their child car seat to the rear seat. This isn’t always the parents fault, however. According to a new study, many automakers simply do not make it easy for parents to secure the car seat.

The study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the researchers evaluated approximately 98 automobiles from the 2010 and 2011 model year. They were specifically looking for the Latch systems of these automobiles, and how easy these were for parents to use.

They found that out of the 98.automobiles, only 21 had Latch systems that were easy to use. The Latch or Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children system is found in all automobiles from the 2003 model year on. The federal administration has made it mandatory for all automobiles to have these installed in standard models.

In theory, the system is supposed to make it easy for parents to secure the child car seat to the automobile, and reduce the risk of injury to the child in the event of an accident. In reality, many auto makers have simply not bothered to make these devices easy to use. In many cases, these devices are not even easy to find. The researchers found that in some automobiles, the Latch systems were buried deep between the seats, and not easy to locate.

The Latch system anchors should be easily visible. The anchors should not be located more than three quarters of an inch into the seat bight. Additionally, these anchors should be free from obstructions. Unfortunately, that isn’t always so. In many automobiles, the seatbelt buckles or the seat cushions, get in the way, and block access to the anchors. According to the Insurance Institute researchers, there should be enough place around the anchors for parents to access the anchors from the sides or straight on.

Besides, anchors are not easy to use when they’re buried deep inside the seat bight. The researchers say parents should be able to install the car seat without using more than 40 pounds of force.

According to the Insurance Institute, auto makers should not be making it so hard for parents to keep their children safe in cars. Car seat usage across the country is at record highs, and many parents now wouldn’t dream of traveling in the car without securing their children properly. However, the child may not be safeguarded from injuries, if the car seat has not been properly secured using the Latch system. Auto makers could be improving child restraint installation systems, and making them easier for parents to use. Lower anchors must be designed so that they’re easy to locate and easy to access for parents.

The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelsen Kennedy represent persons who have been injured due to the negligence of others across Indiana.