Understanding the Features of Vehicles Made After 2002

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,191
    Stephanie Tombrello with SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. explains the safety features of cars manufactured after 2002.

    Stephanie Tombrello: Hello, I am Stephanie Tombrello, Executive Director of SafetyBeltSafe U.

    S.

    A.

    We are going to talk with you about how to keep your toddler or young child safe in the car.

    Now we are going to talk about vehicles made after 2002 and some of the special features that have been added to make it easier for you to buckle up your child in the car.

    The first thing I want to mention is that in 2002 a new set of what are called lower anchor bars or latch was required in motor vehicles. These bars which are set deep in the back seat of the vehicle are meant only to hold car seats for children weighing less than 48 pounds. If you use the lower anchors, you use them instead of the safety belt. These bars which you can feel with your fingers are indicated by little symbols that show a child in a safety seat.

    The word 'LATCH' means Lower Anchors and Tether for Children. So that will remind you that every time you use the lower anchors for a forward-facing child, you want to use the top tether anchor as well, it really provides more protection. If you use the lockable safety belt for the forward-facing child in a seat with a harness you also use the top tether anchor.

    We now have a requirement for shoulder-lap belts in the center of the back seat. Something that SafeBeltSafe U.

    S.

    A. has been looking for since 1986. We are very happy to have that protection particularly for older children and adults when sitting in this very safe position which is the center of the back seat.

    Another new feature of many vehicles in the period after 2002 are side air bags. Side air bags are different from the air bags in front and do not pose a risk to children. All of them are tested with dummies to see if a child would be injured if that child were actually out of position and lying against the side air bag or side air curtain.

    Side air curtains are going to prevent a lot of fatalities and injuries because they is something between the intruding vehicle and the person inside. Lot of people don't realize that in a collision you go toward the point of impact. So when you are inside impact it's as if your body is thrown toward the intruding object, the side air curtain comes in between.

    Now we've talked about the features in vehicles manufactured after 2002. Next we are going to talk about how to install safety seats for your toddler or young child.