Car Seat LATCH Rules to Change in 2014: Please Read This Today

A new rule that goes into effect in 2014 will require car-seat makers to warn parents NOT to use the  Latch anchor system to install a car seat if the combined weight of the child and the seat is 65 pounds or higher.

The LATCH anchors (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) were designed to make child seats easier to install and have been required in vehicles since 2001, but child-safety seat advocates say the strength of the anchors can’t be guaranteed because they don’t take into account the weight of the child seat, which typically weighs 15 to 33 lbs.

In the June 6th USA Today, according to Joseph Colella, one of five child-safety advocates who petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a change to the rule, “the anchor requirements are based on old child seats and outdated recommendations on how long kids should be in child seats”.

And children are getting heavier and staying in child seats longer.  Just this past year the American Academy of Pediatrics and NHTSA issued enhanced new guidelines on booster seat use for older children, recommending that children ride in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly, typically when the child is somewhere between 8-12 years old and about 4 feet 9 inches tall.  Colella says “car makers aren’t able to guarantee the safety of heavier kids given the strength of LATCH anchors”.  And that to me, sounds a bit risky

So what does this mean for you?

Transportation Department spokeswoman Lynda Tran told USA Today: “While Latch makes it easier to properly install car seats in vehicles, it’s important for parents and caregivers to know that securing a child seat with a seat belt is equally as safe — and that they have the flexibility to use either system.”  Very good to know.

So…if you have a child that weighs around 30 lbs, double check the weight of your car seat with the manufacturer.  Make sure the weight of your child + the weight of that seat does not exceed 65 lbs.  And while you’re having that conversation with them, double check the weight their LATCH anchors are rated to support.  And if you have any doubt – use a seat belt to secure the car seat.

In my opinion, waiting until 2014 to require car seat manufacturers to warn parents about a potentially dangerous situation is being overly “nice” to car-seat manufacturers…but when the safety of a child is even a question, “nice” should not be an option.
I’d prefer we start notifying parents today. What do you think???

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About the Author

Stefanie Zucker is President and co-founder of Pediatric Medical Devices and Managing Director and co-founder of Axios Partners, a strategy consulting firm. After a number of years spent researching the safety issues associated with transporting children on ambulances she became a child health safety advocate and formed Pediatric Safety with a goal of creating a world-wide movement of parents and caregivers inspired to protect the health and safety of kids. Stefanie is a member of the PedSafe Team

Comments

3 Responses to “Car Seat LATCH Rules to Change in 2014: Please Read This Today”

  1. anika says:

    that doesn’t mean much because the Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 has a combined weight limit of 48 pounds…..

    • Stefanie Zucker sazucker says:

      Hi Anika,

      It’s great that you know this, and since I’m sure you know the weight of the seat on its own, you’ll never run into a problem when it comes to exceeding the limits!
      Unfortunately many parents don’t know that the weight limits manufacturers list for car seats INCLUDE the weight of the seat – and until 2014, manufacturers aren’t required to post that the LATCH system has not been tested and therefore could fail if the combined weight of seat and child exceeds 65 lbs. So a heavier child in a heavier seat could potentially be in danger using the LATCH system. And the fact that this news isn’t required to be publicized until 2014 is a real concern.

      Thanks for stopping by and visiting us :)

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  1. […] Originally Posted by vr4Legacy The problem is that LATCH uses uniform spacing, so unless you car is wide enough to fit 6 anchors, or be just wide enough so that the middle anchors fit specs, you'd have anchors overlapping anchors, which could be confusing to know which ones to use where. As it is now, it is completely apparent which anchor is to be used for the left and right seat. All statistics and tests agree seatbelts are just as safe WHEN USED PROPERLY, it's just that not enough people use them properly, so LATCH was invented to make it easier. The rear tether is available for all 3 seating positions, so you don't lose anything there. Do you, or does anyone, know what are the weight limits for LATCH on the Outback? I think I remember reading that the limit included the weight of the car seat. Unfortunately, our convertible seat will be 25 lbs. My issue is that the Diono Radian RXT comes with Super LATCH, allowing you to restrain a child up to 80 lbs so long as the vehicle was manufactured after September 2005, according to their manual. However, I came across this bit of news (link below), which, in my mind, would make the benefits of the Super LATCH obsolete if Subaru says the LATCH weight rating is less than 80 lbs, which I think it is. Car Seat LATCH Rules Change in 2014: anchors could fail […]



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