Toyota, Lexus and Audi Have Best Car Seat Safety
John Goreham's picture

Car Seats Easier to Install - Why your back should thank IIHS

Every parent struggles with car seats. Now that struggle is a bit less intense due to IIHS.
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As a person with a back problem, I know there are two things one should never do – bend and twist. However, one has to in order to install a fixed car seat. Those LATCH connectors are usually buried deep inside the the seat crack where spare change goes to hide and one must sort of stab the seat’s connector thingy blindly into the spot you think is right. You see, car seat connectivity has never been a big focus of car reviews (guilty), and until now nobody has every called out the bad apples for making those things almost impossible to find and use.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts the most comprehensive automotive safety testing in the U.S. IIHS’ small frontal overlap testing is still a challenge for automakers, many of whom were recently caught putting in the safety structures on just the side that gets tested (can you even believe that?). IIHS has started to evaluate headlights, and a couple of years back gave automakers a heads up that they would be testing the LATCH car seat hoop systems in their cars.

When the first tests were conducted IIHS found that of the 102 vehicles it tested, most were Poor or Marginal. It published its results. A year later the Institute re-tested a group of 170 vehicles and most scored Good or Acceptable. Three models, the Audi Q7, the Lexus RX and the Toyota Prius, scored a Good+, a level of perfection never achieved in a previous test by IIHS.

Our image above is not staged. That is a New England Motor Press Association member installing a car seat in a new Pacifica at a press preview. She lugged it from home so she could do her own evaluation of the Pacifica (which scored Marginal in IIHS testing, but we thought was top-notch because the seat can move forward with the car seat still installed). This safety stuff is becoming mainstream in family car reviews. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.


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