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New 65 pound latch rule announced for car seats

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced a new 65 lb. latch rule. Parent, whether in New York or anywhere else in the country, may be wondering what this new rule means. Dorel Juvenile Group’s Consumer Safety Expert, Julie Vallese, provides the insights below.

Despite changes in federal regulations, the availability of car seat installation checks and ongoing education campaigns, three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly. While some may need minor adjustments for proper installation, others sometimes need to start from ground one. The three most important things when choosing a car seat are:

  • One that fits the child
  • One that fits the car
  • One that parents will use correctly every time

These can be accomplish by:

  • Having the car parents will be using the seat in with the parent to try the car seat out at the store
  • Having the child with the parent at the time of purchase to ensure a good fit
  • Following information in both the car seat manual and vehicle manual for installation
  • Attending a car seat check for assistance in proper installation and use from a certified car seat technician

New rules for car seats using LATCH require understanding of the car seat’s weight and child’s weight:

  • Car seats manufactured after February 27, 2014 are required to carry a new label with guidance on maximum weight limits for LATCH
  • The combined weight should not exceed 65 pounds
  • Look in the manual and label on the car seat to identify the weight of the seat
  • Look for a weight on the maximum weight for the child
  • Know the child’s weight
  • If the combined weight of the seat and the child exceeds 65 pounds, then install the car seat using the vehicle’s belt

It is important to know that installations with the belt or installations with LATCH are equally acceptable. However, car seats should not be installed using both methods at the same time. No matter what method is chosen be sure to finish off the installation by using the top tether for extra security.

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