CARS.COM — Tether anchors, a critical part of a vehicle’s Latch system, often go unused by parents and caregivers. In sedans, where the tether anchors are easy to find on the rear shelf behind the head restraints, they’re used only 52 percent of the time, according to one study. In pickup trucks, where the anchors are difficult to locate, that number drops significantly.
In a 2014 study of tether anchor use and misuse conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it found that parent volunteers with car-seat-installation experience had the most problems correctly using the loop-style tether anchors found in some pickup trucks. These volunteers installed the tether strap correctly only 11 percent of the time in the trucks. In other cars, volunteers used the tether anchor correctly 57 percent of the time.
While many may not consider a pickup a family vehicle, the full-size versions make easy work of hauling three kids in car seats. To help truck-owning parents, caregivers and prospective parents, we’ve combed through owner’s manuals and crawled through pickup trucks to show the different styles of tether anchors and how to correctly use them.
We limited our fact-finding mission to models with rear seats. Before installing your child’s car seat, read the vehicle’s owner’s manual and the child seat’s owner’s manual to ensure you’re installing it correctly. If you’re unsure about your car-seat installation, take it to a certified car seat technician, who will inspect the installation for free and offer advice. Remember: It’s important to use the tether anchor with a forward-facing convertible or combination child seat because it helps to reduce a child’s head movement in a crash by 6 to 8 inches. After your child has outgrown the convertible car seat, they will move to a booster seat.