2014 LATCH Clarifications
Confused about all the hullabaloo over “new” LATCH weight limits? Here are some LATCH clarifications.
We wrote an extensive article about it a couple of weeks ago. Today we have some additional clarifications we’d like to share.
First of all the changes to FMVSS 213 (the federal standards that lays out the requirements for child restraints) are set to take effect on February 27, 2014 as long as NHTSA doesn’t extend the deadline or make other adjustments.
As mentioned in our previous article, the “change” to FMVSS 213 is the labeling that will now be required on child restraints themselves which will indicate the upper weight limit of the seat if you are using LATCH to install it in the vehicle. The child restraint manufacturer will be required to label the maximum weight of the child, already taking account for the weight of the restraint itself, to be used with LATCH. As always, we still must determine the LATCH weight limits for the vehicle (check the vehicle’s manual) and the child restraint (check the manufacturer’s instructions).
The changes are not retroactive so don’t worry about trying to do the math on a seat made prior to the new labeling. Continue finding the weight limits for LATCH use with the vehicle anchors and the weight limit for LATCH use with the child restraint. It will still be necessary for the parent to know the weight of their child to determine when they need to discontinue using the Lower Anchors and switch to the vehicle seat belt, just like before the label change.
One thing that did make these changes a little more confusing is that vehicle manufacturers began changing their lower anchor weight limits to follow the formula of child restraint + child weight when the label change was announced in 2012, says Vera Fullaway, CPSTI in Colorado. Fullaway explains, the vehicle changes were not mandated by NHTSA standards and in most cases the change, if there was one, to updated vehicle LATCH limits went into effect when the change was announced more than a year ago.
If you have misplaced your owner’s manual for the child restraint, you can view one on the manufacturer website. You can find out the latest information for your vehicle by going to the vehicle’s manufacturer’s website. If you have any questions, you can find a local CPS technician to ask to help you look up the information.
By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004
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