Vehicle Factors Affecting Tether Use and Misuse

Field studies show that top tethers go unused in half of forward-facing child restraint installations in the United States, despite the presence of tether anchors in passenger vehicles for more than a decade. In the current study, parent volunteers with experience installing child safety seats were asked to use the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) hardware to install forward-facing child restraints in several vehicles to identify tether anchor characteristics that are associated with tether use. Tether anchor characteristics were documented in 57 popular 2012-13 vehicles. These features were used to select 16 vehicles with a range of tether anchor characteristics for volunteer testing. Thirty-seven volunteers were assigned to four groups; each group tested four vehicles and two forward-facing child restraints (one with a single tether strap and one with a v-shaped tether) in a split-plot experimental design. Volunteers were given verbal instruction on LATCH halfway through their trials. Mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to identify predictors of tether use, correct tether attachment, and correct and acceptable tether routing and head restraint position. Tether routing and head restraint position were evaluated independently of correct tether attachment. Subjects used the tether in 89 percent of the 294 forward-facing child restraint installations and attached the tether correctly in 57 percent of the installations. Tethers were more likely to be used when the tether anchor was located on the rear deck typically found in sedans, which had a use rate of 95 percent, compared with when the anchor was located on the floor, roof, or seatback of other vehicles, which had use rates ranging from 79 to 89 percent.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 27p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01518980
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 12 2014 10:03AM