How Safe Is Your Minivan? For Many Back-Seat Passengers, Not So Good | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

None of the four minivans evaluated in a new crash test that emphasizes protection for passengers in the back seat did well. The Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Carnival, and Toyota Sienna were rated marginal, and the Honda Odyssey received a poor rating.

The restraint system in the rear seat left the dummy vulnerable to chest injuries in all the models tested, and in the Odyssey, the rear seated dummy also indicated likely risk of head or neck injury, and all but the Sienna also lack seat belt reminders for the second-row seats.

Those are the highlights of the results for new ratings released on Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit financed by the insurance industry. The updated moderate overlap front crash test, which is now focused on rear-seat safety, indicated that while the four minivans provided good protection in the front, “each is plagued by multiple issues when it comes to the second row.”

“Back seat safety is important for all vehicles, but it’s especially vital for those, like minivans, that customers are choosing specifically to transport their families,” David Harkey, the Insurance Institute’s president, said in a statement. “It’s disappointing that automakers haven’t acted faster to apply the best available technology to the second row in this vehicle class.”

The updated test launched last year after research showed that in newer vehicles the risk of a fatal injury is now higher for belted occupants in the second row than for those in front. The second row has not become less safe, researchers said, but because the front seat has become safer due to improved airbags and advanced seat belts that are rarely available in the back. “Even with these developments” the safety group stressed, “the back seat remains the safest place for children, who can be injured by an inflating front airbag, and the rating does not apply to children secured properly in child safety seats.”

The top rating in the institute’s assessments is good, followed by acceptable, marginal or poor.

Each vehicle tested received an overall rating and in 10 subcategories, including safety and structure of occupant compartment, protections for preventing injuries to specific areas of the body of drivers and rear passengers, and effectiveness of restraints and airbags.

For a vehicle to earn a good rating, which none of the four minivans in the recent evaluation received, there can’t be an excessive risk of injury to the head, neck, chest or thigh. The analysis is based on how the crash testing impacts a dummy in the second row.

“The restraint systems in all four vehicles leave the second-row occupant vulnerable to chest injuries, either because of excessive belt forces or poor belt positioning,” Jessica Jermakian, the Insurance Institute’s vice president of vehicle research, said in a statement. “That’s concerning because those injuries can be life-threatening.”

For more information about the testing and specific results for each of the minivans evaluated, click here.

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