Experts question LATCH systems’ ease of use

Washington – A new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that less than half of child safety seat experts believe parents are more likely to install a safety seat correctly using Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children systems than using a safety belt.

The majority of new vehicles and safety seats are compatible with LATCH, a securement system introduced in 2002 that is intended to make it easier for parents to properly install a safety seat.

The foundation surveyed 533 certified child passenger safety technicians and instructors about the use of LATCH systems. Among the findings:

  • 80.5 percent reported that users could not easily spot LATCH installation errors, such as forgetting to install the top tether.
  • Nearly 4 out of 5 stated that occasionally or often, users did not secure safety seats with LATCH systems tightly enough or installed a lower attachment in the wrong location.
  • Nearly one-third reported that LATCH installations are more complicated than they need to be, and about 55 percent agreed that LATCH needs improvement.

The foundation recommended that parents and caregivers receive more education on using LATCH systems correctly.