How easy is the child safety LATCH in your car?

ARLINGTON, Va. (MEDIA GENERAL) – A first-of-its-kind report from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety rates how easy it is to install a car seat in 102 different kinds of vehicles.

The IIHS report only found three vehicles with the best rating of “good” out of 102 tested. Ten vehicles ranked as “poor.”

The IIHS new LATCH ratings are meant to help families and to encourage car and truck companies to pay attention to this part of the vehicle.

LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. It began being required in vehicles in 2002. LATCH is meant to make it easier to install car seats correctly.

LEARN MORE | Best and Worst Vehicles for LATCH

But, IIHS reports, “In many vehicles, LATCH hardware could be better. Parents are more likely to install the seat correctly when the LATCH hardware meets certain key ease-of-use-criteria.”

“Parents often struggle to locate the anchors in the vehicle or find it’s difficult to attach the seats to them,” IIHS wrote in its report.

“Good” LATCH criteria, as defined by IIHS, means the LATCH hardware is reachable, easy to maneuver, doesn’t require too much strength to use, and isn’t confusing to find. For more specifics, you can read the entire report by going to iihs.org/ratings.

Of 102 models tested, only the BMW 5 Series, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, and the Volkswagen Passat received “good” ratings. Ten vehicles, including the Toyota Sierra, received “poor” ratings.

“Most glaring is the Toyota Sienna. As a minivan, it’s commonly bought to ferry children,” wrote IIHS.

Of the remaining vehicles tested, 44 were rated “acceptable” and 45 were rated “marginal.”

IIHS notes while these ratings indicate ease of use, a child safety seat correctly installed with a “poor” LATCH is just as safe as a correct installation in a vehicle with a “good” LATCH.

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