WASHINGTON (CBS) – Many cars on the market aren’t making it easy for parents to properly install child restraints.

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) looked at the built-in hardware – or latch system – which stands for “lower anchors and tethers for children.”

“We evaluated over 100 vehicles, and only 3 earned the top rating of good and more than half were poor or marginal,” said Jessica Jermakian, a senior research scientist at IIHS.

The ratings are based on how easy it is to use the hardware.

In many vehicles, the latch can be easily confused with other hardware or almost impossible to spot.

Only three vehicles received a rating of good — the BMW 5 series, Mercedes-Benz GL-class, and the Volkswagen Passat.

Those rated poor included the Toyota Sienna minivan, the Nissan Altima and Volkswagen’s Jetta.

Safety experts say parents should look for latch hardware that is easy to reach.

“Latch hardware that is easy to use is more likely to result in a good tight installation,” said Jermakian.

IIHS says car manufacturers need to put the tethers in accessible locations and leave parents enough room to maneuver around them.

The agency says latch hardware with a poor rating still provides the same protection as hardware with a good rating, but it’s just more difficult to use.

You can check out the full study at IIHS.org.


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