A recent study of more than 98 different vehicle models from 2010 and 2011 has found that the vast majority are not designed in a manner that optimally accommodates child safety seats, underscoring the risks many young children may face in the event t of a car crash.
According to the research, most models of the 98 most-popular vehicles from recent years featured interior designs that made it difficult for child seats to be properly installed. The research, which was conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, shows that children in Ohio and elsewhere may face an increased risk of serious injury or death when they are involved in a car accident.
In most cases, the fault lies not with the parents, but with the vehicles themselves.
Auto makers have instituted a system called the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, which is intended to make vehicle design more accommodating for child safety seats. Despite this safety measure, though, most auto makers don't properly apply the system to make a meaningful difference in child seat safety, according to the report.
In a study using volunteers to test how easily child seats could be installed, only 13 percent of the persons installing the seats were able to properly complete the installation in vehicles. According to the research, the lower anchors used to harness the child safety seats were often difficult to access. Other features, such as belt buckles and upholstery, got in the way of proper installation of the seats.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "Insurance group says car design hinders use of child safety seats," Jerry Hirsch, April 11, 2012