New rules are on their way in 2014 which will affect whether or not you can use the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system to install your child’s car seat.
The rule requires car seat manufacturers to tell parents not to use the lower anchors if children and their car seats have a combined weight of 65 pounds. At that weight, the strength of the lower anchors cannot be guaranteed by vehicle manufacturers.
Car seats vary in weight, however they generally weigh between 15 and 33 pounds. So the new rule means some children as light as 32 pounds might not be able to use the LATCH system that was designed to make car seats easier for parents and caregivers to install. Math break: 33 pounds (car seat) plus 32 pounds (child) equals 65 pounds combined.
So what does this new rule mean to you? Check your car seat and find out how much it weighs. Read the manufacturers warnings and instructions. Also keep tabs on how much your child weighs. If the combined weight of your child and car seat is over 65 pounds then you want to install your child’s car seat using the seat belt instead of the lower anchors. You will also want to check with the car seat manufacturer to see what they say about using the top tether.