This week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will implement what is being called the 65 Pound LATCH rule. I know that many of our readers have had questions about what this means to them and if it affects their current car seat install.
To get some answers we turned to Dorel Juvenile Group‘s Consumer Safety Expert, Julie Vallese. She shared this with us:
Firstly, statistics for proper car seat installation haven’t changed in more than a decade. Despite changes in federal regulations, the availability of car seat installation checks and ongoing education campaigns, three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly. While some may need minor adjustments for proper installation, others sometimes need to start from ground one. It only seems like an advanced degree may be needed in “installationology” but by starting off with the basics you’re one step closer to success. Here are some easy tips to think about:
The three most important things when choosing a car seat are:
- One that fits your child
- One that fits your car
- One that you will use correctly every time
You can accomplish this by:
- Have the car you will be using the seat in with you and try it out at the store.
- If possible have your child with you at the time of purchase
- Follow information in both the car seat manual and vehicle manual for installation
- Attend a car seat check for assistance in proper installation and use from a certified car seat technician
New rules for car seats using LATCH require understanding of your car seat’s weight and child’s weight:
- Car seats manufactured after February 27, 2014 are required to carry a new label with guidance on maximum weight limits for LATCH
- The combined weight should not exceed 65lbs
- Look in the manual and label on the car seat to identify the weight of the seat
- Look for a weight on the maximum weight for the child
- Know your child’s weight
- If the combined weight of the seat and your child exceeds 65lbs-install the car seat using the vehicle’s belt
It is important to know that installations with the belt or installations with LATCH are equally acceptable. However, car seats should not be installed using both methods at the same time. No matter what method is chosen be sure to finish off the installation by using the top tether. ~ Julie Valese, Dorel Juvenile Group’s Consumer Safety Expert.
Recently car seat manufacturers asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to raise the LATCH weight to 80lbs, but were turned down because said NHTSA’s research showed there was too much risk in raising the weight limit.
They say about 30% of people use LATCH attachments without using the top tether straps, which can lead to too much strain on the lower anchors. NHTSA tested a child dummy in a child seat that was restrained only by the lower anchors in two vehicles. The combined weight of the dummy and child seat was 78 pounds and the anchors pulled out of the floor in one vehicle.