Nearly three-quarters of 2019 vehicles have LATCH hardware that rates good or acceptable for ease of use, according to the latest assessment by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
LATCH, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is intended to make child restraint installation easier. Child restraints installed with LATCH are more likely to be put in correctly than restraints installed using the vehicle seat belt, IIHS research has shown.
In 2015, when IIHS launched its LATCH ease-of-use ratings, a majority of new vehicles rated poor or marginal.
Today, 21 vehicles earn the top rating of good+, 33 are rated good, and 88 rate acceptable. Forty-nine vehicles are marginal, and only four earn a poor rating. Among automakers, Toyota and Subaru are standouts for LATCH ease of use, while U.S. automakers lag behind. Installation in pickups remains tricky, compared with other types of vehicles.
“With child restraints, a good, tight installation is critical but can be difficult to achieve,” said Jessica Jermakian, an IIHS Senior Research Engineer. “Thanks to these recent improvements in vehicle LATCH hardware, we expect more children will be riding in correctly installed seats.”