Car seat safety: Car seat installation made easier with LATCH

A new survey (1) finds most parents are unfamiliar with a new child safety system that could prevent up to 3,000 injuries per year. The new system, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), is mandatory for nearly all passenger vehicles and child safety seats (2) manufactured beginning September 1, 2002.

LATCH is designed to make car seat installation easier. It eliminates the need to use the vehicle's seat belt system, which is a common source of misuse. It uses anchors found between the vehicle's back seat cushions and buckles or hooks on child safety seats. The two parts snap together to secure the child safety seat to the vehicle seat. In addition, all new vehicles have top anchor points that connect to a child safety seat's top tether strap. Together, these components are intended to make safety seat installation easier for parents.

"Chrysler Group has worked with child seat manufacturers on making LATCH systems easy to use," said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, president and CEO, Chrysler Group. "However, parents must understand that LATCH does not solve all child seat installation mistakes. To best protect their kids, parents should have their child safety seats inspected by a certified technician."

According to the survey, commissioned by Chrysler Group, two-thirds of parents would like to know more about LATCH. Chrysler Group is launching a public awareness campaign on LATCH that emphasizes the continued need for parents to get child safety seats inspected.

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