Toyota Motor Corp. and Subaru Corp. are leading the way in making child restraints more accessible in their vehicles, while the Detroit 3 continue to lag, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said in a report Thursday.
IIHS senior research engineer Jessica Jermakian said the LATCH system, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, has been in vehicles for over 15 years and automakers have flexible requirements for where the hardware is installed.
"Because they have all this flexibility in where they can put these anchors, many of them are really difficult to use," Jermakian said. "Parents have a lot of complaints and challenges with getting a good, tight installation because they have trouble finding the LATCH hardware."
Toyota and Subaru ranked highest in 2019 model ratings for ease of use, with seven models each assigned the top "good+" IIHS rating for LATCH accessibility, followed by Honda, with four. Only one Detroit 3 vehicle, the Jeep Cherokee, earned the top rating. No products from General Motors or Ford Motor Co. were ranked in the top categories.
The IIHS rated four vehicles in the "poor" category: the Ford Fiesta hatchback, the Ford Fiesta sedan, the Infiniti Q70 and the Jeep Compass.