In early 2014, a final rulemaking from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revised weight-limit labeling for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH)-installed car seats to include both the weight of the child and the car seat itself, for a combined maximum weight of 65 pounds.
What parents and caregivers need to know:
- Effective February 27, 2014, car seat manufacturers will be required to label new car seats with a warning label for consumers that the combined weight of the child and the car seat may not exceed 65 pounds.
- Know your child’s approximate weight and the weight of the car seat itself. Together, they should not exceed 65 pounds. If your child’s car seat doesn’t note the seat’s weight, grab a scale. Jot down the weight and when the combined weight approaches 65lbs, switch to a seat belt installation (with tether when possible).
- In the event of a crash, exceeded weight limits may cause the lower anchors and tether to perform improperly, leaving children vulnerable to injury or death.
- If your child exceeds the weight limit for the lower anchors, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready for a booster seat. Instead, install the car seat using a seat belt (and tether when possible). Keep your child in the forward-facing car seat until they reach the height or weight limit of the seat.
- Think LATCH-installed car seats are safer? Not so! Seat belts and LATCH system, when used correctly, are equally safe. If you’re concerned about weight limits, use the seat belt (and tether when possible) to secure the car seat.
- Always read your car seat instructions and vehicle owner’s manual before installing a car seat.
According to a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Survey, the majority of Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs), those certified to check and educate parents on the installation of car seats, have encountered weight-related errors when checking car seats.
3 out of 4 car seats are improperly installed. For peace of mind, have your child’s car seat inspected by a professional. Find a car seat technician near your by visiting seatcheck.org