Health and Well-Being-New car models make children safer

Beginning with the model year 2000, new federal requirements have improved and simplified the method of anchoring a child's car seat to the vehicle, according to Safe Ride News (SRN), published in Lake Forest Park, WA.

The most important change, says the publication, is the inclusion of top tether straps for all new car seats for toddlers and preschoolers. A tether anchors the top of the car seat to keep it in place in a crash. All 2000-model passenger vehicles will come with several tether anchor brackets for car seats installed in the back seat. Light trucks, vans, and pickups must have those brackets installed beginning with the model year 2001.

If you have an older car, attaching a tether to your vehicle could prove challenging. SRN offers these suggestions:

• Use a tether anchor kit made especially for your vehicle, usually available from the dealership.

• Some tether anchors are very easy to install yourself — others require help from a dealer or mechanic.

• Tether straps are available for many 1997-99 car seats from the manufacturer. Be sure to use one made specifically for your child's seat.

An 80-page publication, Tethering Child Restraints, is available from SRN for $21.95 plus shipping and handling. For more detailed information, visit the SRN Web site: www.saferidenews.com, or call SRN at: (206) 364-5696.