LATCH requirements for car seats - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

LATCH requirements for car seats

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Beginning this month, every car seat will feature a label that helps clarify the weight limits of how that seat must be installed.

LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. The idea, is to help install a car seat by anchoring it directly to the backseat.

But, once a child reaches the maximum weight requirement for LATCH, which is 65 pounds, parents must then switch to a seat-belt to secure the car seat.

Children's of Alabama shows us how both systems work.

"We had found, in Jefferson County, that over 90 percent of car seats were installed improperly," says Marie Crew, coordinator for Safe Kids Alabama.

Crew knows that number is way too high.

She says, "LATCH was meant to decrease the number of misuses in installing car seats."

LATCH anchors are designed for a maximum combined weight of the child and a car seat, for a total weight of 65 pounds.

When a child exceeds that weight, the seat must be installed using the vehicle's seatbelt.

"Both systems are equal as long as the car seats are installed properly and tightly. And knowing that there are weight limits as to what you can use LATCH up to," says Crew.

Ultimately, Crew says parents and caretakers need to be educated about weight requirements.

"It's important that parents begin to know what the weight of the car seat is, as well as the weight of their child so they know which way to install this car seat safely."

A lot of information can be found in the car's owner's manual.  Also, you can have you car seat installation checked by a child passenger safety technician.

You can click here to find a local fitting station.

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