As kids stay in car seats and booster seats longer, federal officials are worried they are becoming too heavy for the LATCH systems to secure them. A new federal rule that is expected to be introduced in February would institute weight limits on the LATCH system. Parents would be asked to add up the weight of their child and the seat to decide if they need a seat belt to secure the child or if the LATCH hooks are strong enough.
“The new rule will require child seat makers to include information on the limits for using LATCH by combining the weight of the seat and the weight of the child. Seat manufacturers will need to post the weight of the seat in a number of places so parents can do the math themselves. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, and nearly every car seat and most vehicles are required to have the system. …”
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children stay in booster seats until adult seat belts fit correctly. That usually occurs when the child is from 8 to 12 years old. Some booster seats go to 120 pounds.”
“Parents are expected to be advised to use seat belts — instead of LATCH — to secure car seats if the child and seat weigh more than 65 pounds combined, although some believe the limit could be raised to 70 pounds….”
“Child safety advocate Joseph Colella says NHTSA should require stronger anchors if it believes existing ones are inadequate. Most parents don’t know how to properly secure a car seat with a seat belt, he says, and limiting LATCH increases the likelihood they will get it wrong. “There is no evidence of the anchors failing,” he says. “Making a rule like this without providing data is premature.”
My 6-year-old is still in a booster seat hooked in by the LATCH system. She is about 45 pounds. I have no idea how much her seat weighs. She keeps trying to sit in the back seat in a half-booster just hooked in with the seat belt but I feel better with the full backed booster seat attached to the car. She has the seat belt over her and the seat so you’re getting protection from both. I feel like that half booster not hooked in with LATCH may slide out from under her in a crash.
I wonder if there is any danger to using the LATCH system with the seat belt? Also I wonder how they would give parents the weight info if they already own their car or booster seat?
Do you use the LATCH system in your car? Do you like it? Do you feel like it’s safer than just the seat belt? Do you use the LATCH and seat belt with the booster? What do you think of having to do math to determine if you should be using it?