Ford to Provide Free Installation Of Child Safety Seat Tether Anchors

15 February 2000

Ford Motor Company to Provide Free Installation Of Child Safety Seat Tether Anchors
    CHICAGO, Feb. 15 -- Ford Motor Company will begin
providing free installation of top tether anchors in vehicles for use with
child safety seats beginning immediately.
    Owners of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles from the 1989 model year
through current model year production will be able to receive the installation
by contacting their local dealership.
    Top tethers attached from the child safety seat to the vehicle improve
forward-facing child seat performance in crashes by limiting the forward
motion of the seat.  The upper portion of child safety seats are attached to
an anchor point by a special tether strap, available through child safety seat
manufacturers.  The anchor points are located on the rear side of the back
seat, in the rear filler panel, on the floor, or in the roof, depending on the
vehicle.
    "Occupant safety, especially for children, has always been a primary
concern for Ford," said Helen Petrauskas, vice president of Environmental &
Safety Engineering.  "Free installation of top tether anchors will further
improve parents' and other caretakers' abilities to securely attach child
safety seats."
    The U.S. government will require top tether attachments be placed in all
vehicles beginning in the 2001 model year.  Child safety seat manufacturers
were required to equip all forward facing seats with top tether straps
beginning in September 1999.
    This action has also resulted in increased customer demand for the vehicle
anchors.
    Ford Motor Company was the first automaker to offer built-in tether
anchors in the 1986 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable station wagons.
    For the 2000 model year, nearly all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars, as
well as the Ford Windstar and Mercury Villager minivans and the Econoline van
are equipped with top tether anchors.
    In a related area, new federal regulations will require lower attachment
hardware on all vehicles and child safety seats manufactured for the 2003
model year.  This system, called LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for
Children) uses rigid, metal-anchoring points in the vehicle seat bight (where
the seat back and cushion meet).  The child safety seat is connected directly
to the metal anchor points in the rear seat of the vehicle.  This system
provides for a secure and easy installation of the child car seat.
    Ford Motor Company is among the first automakers to produce vehicles with
the lower anchors.  They can be found in both the Ford Windstar minivan and
Ford Focus.



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