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Study: Carmakers make car seat install hard

A child is shown sitting in a car seat in this undated file photo.

April 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new study says that automakers may be at fault for making it difficult for parents to install child safety seats.

A system called Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) is supposed to make things easier by standardizing attachment hardware, but the study says many automakers are not paying attention to what makes the system work.

In a joint study with the University of Michigan, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety picked 12 vehicles representing a range of LATCH setup scenarios and asked 36 volunteers to each install three different types of child restraints in three of the vehicles.

The study found that belt buckles and other seat hardware often blocks the child restraint anchors. The study also found that only 21 of the 98 top-selling 2010-2011 vehicles have anchors that are easy to use.