Car rental company tests out new child safety seat installation feature

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PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Finally, parents have one standard for child safety seat installation – minimizing the confusion and increasing parents’ chances of getting it right.

The new federal standard for child restraint installation, known as the LATCH system, will be required in all newly manufactured vehicles beginning Sept. 1, 2002.

Consistent, easier. LATCH, which stands for “Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children,” is intended to make installation of child restraints easier and completely consistent across all models of restraints and vehicles.

Sadly, there are alarming statistics that prove the widespread use of LATCH is long overdue. * Child restraint inspections find that at least four of five children are not buckled up correctly.

* 80 percent to 90 percent of child safety seats are installed or used incorrectly.

* The single greatest risk for death among children riding in motor vehicles is failure to buckle up the child.

* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages 4 to 14.

* In 2000, more than half of all children under 15 years of age killed in car crashes were completely unrestrained.

Rental cars. Not only can parents keep their kids as safe as possible when traveling on vacation, but they can now use the rental car experience as an opportunity to check out the new LATCH system.

In November 2001, Avis Rent A Car became and remains the first rental car company to embrace the LATCH system as its own standard to ensure that child restraints are installed properly.

Avis managers throughout the United States are now trained to install infant and convertible child restraints using LATCH kits in vehicles equipped with LATCH bars.

Pushing the idea. To encourage families to use the appropriate child and booster seats for all children and try out the LATCH system, the company is offering a “rent one, get the second one free” deal through Sept. 13, 2002.

Details on the LATCH system can be found at www.avis.com by clicking on the Renter’s Guide tab and scrolling down to “Avis Cares.”

For information on the rent one, get one free offer, click on the “Upgrade your Family Drive” deal.

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