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Is LATCH safer than installing a car seat with a seat belt?

Answer

LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. It was developed to make it easier to properly install child restraints without the use of seat belts. LATCH can be found on car seats and vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2002.

Here are some important tips to help guide you when deciding to use LATCH OR vehicle belts:

• The lower anchor/UAS can ONLY be used in vehicles that have the lower anchor/UAS bars installed in designated seating positions. Most vehicles manufactured after September 2002 are equipped with lower anchor bars.
• Only install car seats with LATCH when allowable by the vehicle manufacturer. For instance, many caregivers install their restraint with lower anchors in center seating position when the vehicle manufacturer does not permit it.
• There are weight maximums/restrictions for use of LATCH. Always refer to your car seat and vehicle owner's manuals for information on these weight maximums and when to switch your child to vehicle belt installation.
• If lower/UAS anchors are not an option or if your child weighs more than 18 kg (40 lb), you must use the vehicle seat belt system to install the child restraint.
• NEVER use both the vehicle seat belt AND LATCH unless allowable by the vehicle manufacturer AND child restraint manufacturer (Dorel does not allow this).
• When forward facing, you CAN choose to use the vehicle seat belt + tether rather than lower anchors + tether. Please see vehicle and car seat instructions for proper installation with seat belt/tether combination. For instance, you might choose this method if you cannot get a tight installation with lower anchors (vehicle compatibility) or if your child has exceeded the lower anchor weight limits stated by car seat manufacturer.
Not all vehicle belts and seating positions will work with child restraints.

 

 

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