IIHS Ratings Help Parents Choose Safest Cars


Parents who are in the market for the safest car for their family will do well to check out the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) safety ratings just released. For the 2010 safest car choices, the IIHS tightened their requirements when deciding which cars would earn the Top Safety Pick Award. This is good news for parents.

Only 27 vehicles made the IIHS’s list this year, which is less than one-third the number selected last year. For 2009, cars, SUVs, and trucks were required to meet crash test marks for side and front impacts and for rear-impact whiplash protection. They were also required to have a computerized system that enabled drivers to maintain control during sudden maneuvers or on slick roadways.

For 2010, the Insurance Institute added a requirement for roof crush safety that protects occupants if the vehicle rolls over. To earn a good rating, the Institute required a vehicle to withstand four times its weight while crushing less than five inches. Given that many parents need to own SUVs to transport their children, knowing which vehicles meet this safety requirement is important.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicles injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. Many of these deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats and booster seats, and by using those seats in the safest vehicles possible.

In a press release from the IIHS, it stated that “Nineteen cars and 8 SUVs earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick award for 2010.” The top winners were Subaru, with five of the safest vehicles, and Volkswagen with four. No BMW or Toyota models made the list.

A few of the vehicles on the list include the Buick LaCrosse, Volvo S80, Audi A3, Subaru Legacy, Volkswagen Jetta sedan, Kia Soul, Subaru Impreza (except WRX), and Volkswagen Golf (4-door). Among the SUVs are the Dodge Journey, Subaru Tribeca, Volvo XC60 and XC90, Honda Element, Jeep Patriot (with optional side torso airbags), Subaru Forester, and Volkswagen Tiguan.

The IIHS awards are meant to highlight the vehicles that provide protection beyond the required minimum federal standards for safety. The Institute estimates that vehicles that met the IIHS’s new roof requirement can reduce the risk of serious and deadly injuries in single-vehicle rollovers by about 50 percent when compared with roofs that meet the minimum requirement. Parents and other consumers who want to see the entire list of Top Safety Picks for 2010 can check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CNNMoney.com, Nov. 18, 2009
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
US News & World Report, Nov. 18, 2009


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