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If you’re looking for a new, small SUV for your kids, how well the car seats fit is probably a huge priority for you. After all, it’s no fun to wrestle a car seat into the third row of a cramped vehicle. Trying to find a latch buried so deeply into a seat that you feel your hand is being sucked into another dimension and you’re grateful when you’re able to retrieve it unscathed shouldn’t be a normal part of your kids’ safety. Here are the safest small SUVs that are good for kids – and their car seats.

These safe new suvs with the best safety packages
The Mazda CX-30 SUV in blue | Mazda

The 2022 Mazda CX-30 is the safest small SUV that’s great for car seats

The 2022 Mazda CX-30 ranks highest on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) list of Top Safety Pick+ awards. It also has good+ ratings for the LATCH ease of use. To win the Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must have good crash test ratings in all major categories. It also has to have superior or advanced safety systems and acceptable or good headlights standard on all models.  

The 2022 Nissan Rogue is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ with a good+ safety rating

One of the best small SUVs is the 2022 Nissan Rogue. It is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winner that also has good+ car seat anchors.

The 2022 Subaru Forester has great LATCH system ratings

Another great option is the 2022 Subaru Forester has a Top Safety Pick+ award and it also has a good+ LATCH system rating.

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is a Top Safety Pick+

If you want another great option, the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is another small SUV with the best safety rating and also an excellent car seat LATCH system.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime is a super safe SUV for families

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime is a super safe SUV with great car seat LATCH system ratings. It has the Top Safety Pick+ award and it also has a good+ LATCH system rating.

The IIHS LATCH system secures car seats to vehicles

LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. It’s one way that car seats are able to be safely secured to vehicles, and it’s supposed to make it easier, and hopefully therefore safer. If you plan on putting your child in a forward-facing car seat, you’ll need to use the LATCH system. The IIHS says that “tether anchors are always needed when installing forward-facing restraints, regardless of whether the lower anchors or the safety belt is used. The top tether keeps the child seat from pitching forward in a crash.”

The IIHS evaluates several areas


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Some of the things that the IIHS evaluates include the lower anchor accessibility, force, and clearance angle. In addition, it pays attention to the location, any hardware that may be confusing, and how many LATCH systems are available in the vehicle. To get a good+ rating, the SUV must have a good rating and also have “A rating of good+ is awarded to vehicles that meet the criteria for a good rating and provide additional LATCH-equipped seating positions for maximum flexibility. For a two-row vehicle, that means having a third good or acceptable LATCH seating position. The third position may use either dedicated anchors or borrowed anchors.”

If you’re looking for the safest small SUVs for 2022 with the best car seat LATCH systems, any of these sport utility vehicles would be a great place to start your search.