Have You Heard About the New 2014 Child Safety Seat Installation Recommendations?

IMG_2137As a father of four children, my wife and I literally use the spectrum of child safety seats in each of our cars. My oldest son, Caden, has been out of a booster for some time. My youngest three children are still in varying levels of child safety seats. Hannah is in a booster, Jaxon is in a front-facing car seat, and Allison is in a rear-facing car seat. Despite our over eight years of experience using/installing child safety seats, new government recommendations made us reconsider our installation habits.

Like many of you, we find the convenience and ease-of-use of the LATCH system to be so much easier than strapping the car seat every time we get in the car. If you’re unfamiliar with the LATCH system, a brief explanation may be necessary so we’re on the same page. On most modern cars, the rear seats are equipped with metal braces that can be found by running your hand between the seat back and the bottom of the seat. Most new child seats are equipped with an attachment that clips to the metal braces making it much quicker and easier to secure your child’s safety seat than using the standard safety belt installed in your car.  Importantly, as your children grow, it may no longer be safe to use the LATCH system in your car.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the government agency that oversees motor vehicle transportation, now recommends that the LATCH system only be used until the combined weight of the child and the car seat exceed 65 pounds.  Once this occurs, the LATCH system may not be strong enough to secure the child seat if you are in a collision. In other words, if the LATCH system fails in a collision, your child, though secured in their child seat, may become a projectile inside your car. Needless to say, that is not a very safe place for your child to be!

Other things to consider are the manufacturer recommendations of the LATCH system in your car and the manufacturer recommendations of your child safety seat.  These devices may only be approved for a combined weight less than 65 pounds. In such cases, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations rather than wait until the combined weight reaches 65 pounds.

While it seems government recommendations are always changing relative to the installation of child safety seats, it is important to remember that millions of dollars of research go into these recommendations every year. They change because it is scientifically safer for our children when new recommendations are followed.

Check the combined weight of your child and their child safety seats. A good rule of thumb, would be to check the combined weight regularly as your child approaches 50 pounds. If your children grow anywhere near as fast as mine, it won’t be long before the combined weight exceeds 65 pounds.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: