Child seat anchors (LATCH) may get weight limits soon

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.

From USA Today:

“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?

8 comments Add your comment

Mother of 2

January 28th, 2014
7:41 am

If there is no evidence of the LATCH system failing, I think you are fine doing what you’re currently doing. We didn’t have this system when my kids were young. They were in car seats until a certain weight, then in booster seats that weren’t tethered to the car. They used a seatbelt as soon as they were tall enough to fit. I remember running around in the way back of a station wagon while my mother drove us around. You’re doing much better than my mother and my siblings and I all made it.

Nothing is more important than the safety of our children. We spend so much time in our cars, it’s easy to get a little panicky when government safety departments make changes. I would wait until clear guidelines are available before making a change. Then, go to your local fire department and have them help you figure out how to install anything new.

Stick to the speed limit and stay off the phone while driving. These simple things will keep your kids safer than most on the road.

cobbmom

January 28th, 2014
7:51 am

My mother says she had a “car bed” for me. It was essentially a Moses basket that just sat in the car seat, it wasn’t buckled it. Our safety measures have gotten so much better in forty years!

FCM

January 28th, 2014
8:53 am

Mine were out of the boosters at age 7. I know the Peditricians advised against it. I have seen police let their (less than 12 yo) children ride in the front of seat of cars too. I think at some point you just make the call with what you are ok with.

Hidden Agenda

January 28th, 2014
9:06 am

All of this seems more like a carefully constructed plan by the car seat manufacturers to insure massive profits for as long as possible. Somehow driving more carefully and defensively seems to have all been forgotten. I know my parents drove in a much safer manner because they knew I was a potential victim if an accident happened.

terrie

January 28th, 2014
9:27 am

Why do you wait and let the government tell you EVERYTHING…it should be common sense to buckle your kids up…have we forgotten how to think for OURSELVES….use what is there in your car, even if it seems that you are being over-cautious…use LATCH and the regular seat belts, too!

LJ

January 28th, 2014
11:51 am

The most important safety factor is proper installation. I don’t know about booster seats, but for infant seats and most, if not all, convertible seats you should NOT use both LATCH and seat belt. So be sure to check your seat’s manual, and if you aren’t sure, have a certified car seat safety tech check it out.

Safe Homes

January 30th, 2014
8:01 am

This is good information to protect your child from car accidents. Who is going to protect the child from Mom or Dad texting while driving. I am on the road constantly and see stupid parents using their cell phones while driving. What is so important that cannot wait till you come to a stop????? Nothing especially if you kill your child while using your cell phone.

Republican Andy

January 30th, 2014
9:36 am

I firmly believe that stupid people should die out, and stupid is inherited. Parents who don’t take care of their kids should lose them and save us all another generation of woes.