Are you installing your car seat correctly?

As a child passenger safety technician instructor, I receive lots of questions regarding LATCH installation for car seats. Errors with LATCH are also one of the most common errors I see out in the field.  I wanted to do a quick crash course on LATCH to help dispel some of the rumors!
LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.
The term “lower anchors” refers to the bars within the crease of the vehicle seat where you attach your car seat’s lower anchor connectors.

The term “tether” refers to the tether anchor point in the vehicle where you attach the car seat’s tether strap. Tether anchors can be located in different places depending on the vehicle. If you aren’t sure where they are, check your vehicle owners manual.

Are you installing your car seat correctly?

65 pounds is the maximum amount of weight that is allowed on lower anchors. This includes the weight of both the child and the weight of the car seat.

Child restraints made after 2/2014 have the lower anchor weight limit printed on a sticker located on the side of the seat. If the seat is older than that and you need help calculating, check your manual. If you still can’t find it and need some help, feel free to contact us!

Are you installing your car seat correctly?
Do not use lower anchors and the seat belt at the same time UNLESS the manufacture explicitly allows it. Currently there are only two seats that do. Choose only one method of installation — use whichever is available in that particular seating position or whichever gives you the best installation.  ALWAYS use the top tether for a forward-facing harnessed seat.
Are you installing your car seat correctly?
Are you installing your car seat correctly?
If you are installing a car seat in the middle seat of your vehicle, you “usually” need to install with seat belt in that position. In most cases, You cannot install with lower anchors by “borrowing” one from each side.  In order for you to be able to borrow, BOTH the vehicle and the seat manufacturer would have to allow it. This is one of the most common mistakes I see with installation.

Some booster seats come with lower anchor connectors. Lower anchor connectors on booster seats are used to restrain an unoccupied booster during the event of a crash. They play no part in restraining the child, the seat belt does that.

Are you installing your car seat correctly?

When in doubt, check your manual! Your car seat and vehicle owners manual will give you all the information you need to know regarding LATCH. If you still have questions, contact the manufacturer or feel free to reach out to us for help.

Kristen Sanders is a Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor and owner of Buckle up, Bumblebee; a mobile service that offers private car seat checks and educational classes for families of all backgrounds. You can contact her at www.buckleupbumblebee.com or Kristen@buckleupbumblebee.com

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