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April 24, 2012

The Best Vehicles for Child Safety Seats

Car seats. We curse at them. We fight them. We pound them and pull at them. However, we can’t live without them. We all know that our relationship with child safety seats is a troubled one; but does it need to be this way?

Do car seats really need to be so difficult to install and move from one vehicle to another? No, no, no, cry consumer advocates and safety monitors such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. They say that carmakers need to do more to make their vehicles car-seat friendly. They point to the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system that should be the industry standard and should make the installing and removing car seats a breeze.

Unfortunately, a recent survey of the top model year 2010 and 2011 passenger vehicles found that only 21 of 98 were equipped with easy to use latch systems. Speaking about the insidious evilness of the 77 vehicles possessing unfriendly latches, Anne McCartt, the Insurance Institute’s senior vice president for research, said, “Installing a child restraint isn’t always as simple as a couple of clicks and you’re done. Sometimes parents blame themselves when they struggle with latch, but oftentimes the problem lies with the vehicle, not the user.”

McCartt and others have put together a report and listing of which cars are the friendliest to child safety seats. To determine which vehicles are the best the evaluated how the clearance, depth and force needed to install the seats in each vehicle. Their findings are below.

2011 models that meet all 3 easy-installation criteria:

  • Audi A4 Quattro
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Chevrolet Equinox LT
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab LT
  • Chevrolet Suburban LT; Chevrolet Tahoe LS
  • Chrysler Town & Country (2010)
  • Dodge Caliber Mainstreet; Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Dodge Ram 1500 crew cab
  • Ford Escape XLT
  • Ford F-150 SuperCrew Cab
  • GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab SLE
  • Honda Pilot EX-L
  • Kia Sedona LX
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Mercedes-Benz C300
  • Mercedes-Benz E350
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe GS
  • Mitsubishi Lancer ES
  • Toyota Tacoma extended cab

The 2011 models that don’t meet any easy-installation criteria: Buick Enclave CX; Chevrolet Impala LT; Dodge Avenger Express; Ford Flex SEL; Ford Taurus Limited; Hyundai Sonata Limited; Toyota Sienna XLE.

Thanks for this guest post goes out to the team at and

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