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Taming the top tether

So you get your convertible or forward-facing car seat out of the box and you notice a strap with a hook attached near the top of the seat.  You scratch your head.  What is this?

This is a top tether.  It’s part of the Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system but also an important part of any forward-facing car seat installation.

These straps are really important to your child’s safety.

Proper use of the top tether:

  • Provides  3 points of contact that holds the car seat firmly against the vehicle seat
  • Reduces the distance that a child’s head moves forward by 4-6 inches and can reduce the risk of head/neck injuries in a crash
  • Increases protection to your child in front and near side impact crashes

But it’s all so confusing – I know!

Here is what you need to know.  Whether you are installing your car seat using the LATCH system (lower anchors) or the seat belt system (one or the other – never both) still use the top tether. Read the car seat and vehicle owner’s manuals for weight limits, but the longer you can give your child that added protection the better!

If you have any questions, you can always find a certified child passenger safety technician to help you out!

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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