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J Safety Res. 2007;38(3):273-81. Epub 2007 May 25.

Observed LATCH use and misuse characteristics of child restraint systems in seven states.

Author information

1
TransAnalytics, LLC, Box 328, 1722 Sumneytown Pike, Kulpsville, PA 19443, USA. ledecina@transanalytics.com

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Although the LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) holds the promise of simplifying the installation of a child restraint system (CRS) to the vehicle's seat, many drivers transporting young children have difficulties using this technology. This paper reports on an observation study of LATCH use and misuse.

METHOD:

Observations of approximately 1,000 children less than 5 years of age in CRSs, in the back seats of vehicles that were equipped with tether and lower anchors, in seven states.

RESULTS:

Tethers were used for 51% of the children when the forward-facing CRS had tether straps and the vehicle had tether anchors. Lower anchors were used for 58% of the children when the CRS had lower attachments and the vehicle had lower anchors. The most common tether and lower attachment misuses were loose tether straps (18% of cases) and loose lower attachment installation (30% of the cases), respectively. Vehicle safety belts were used in combination with lower attachments in 20% of all lower anchor installations.

CONCLUSION:

As more caregivers of young children drive vehicles equipped with LATCH, it will be important to promote the proper installation of CRSs using this technology. LATCH education messages must also emphasize that the lower anchors may not always be the safest choice for CRS attachment -- the safest attachment is the one that results in a tight fit and will be used correctly consistently.

PMID:
17617236
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsr.2006.08.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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