Car Seat LATCH Rules to Change in January 2014

Last updated on August 19th, 2015 at 11:52 pm

A new rule that goes into effect in January 2014 will require car-seat makers to start using labels LATCH rules are changing in 2014that 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 a USA Today article, 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Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a change to the rule, “the anchor requirements are based on old child seats and outdated recommendations on how long kids should be in child seats“.

But children are getting heavier and staying in child seats longer. In 2012 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”.  Very important to know!

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.”

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 instead of the LATCH to secure the seat. And have it checked at a NHTSA Car Seat Inspection Station. Use this locator to find the one that’s closest to you.

**************************************************************************************************************************

Editors note:  this post was originally run in June 2012, when the decision to change the LATCH rules was originally made.  It is re-published here with minimal edits as very little has changed since then. Personally, I find it immensely disappointing that we would wait a year and a half to implement a  change to a warning label when the lives of children are at risk.  

Would love to hear your thoughts if you’d like to share them…

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

4 Responses to “Car Seat LATCH Rules to Change in January 2014”

    Speak Your Mind

    Tell us what you're thinking...
    and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!