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New car seat recommendations from NHTSA miss February release date

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had slated to come out with new recommendations for the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children safety) system for child car seats mid February 2014. The new recommendation states that the LATCH system should no longer be used when the combined weight of the child and car seat is over 65 pounds.

The LATCH system was designed to help parents secure their children in their car seat safely and simply every time. Most car seats and vehicles manufactured after September of 2002 are equipped with the system.

According to Allana Pinkerton, Child Passenger Safety Advocate for Diono USA, "the new regulations, slated to be in effect February 2014, will not affect belt positioning booster seats. This includes combination harness to booster seats when they are in booster mode only. However, some car seat manufacturers may not allow for the use of the lower anchor connectors in these seats, either. Parents should always read their instruction manuals thoroughly.

When a child is sitting in a belt positioning booster seat, the seat belt is taking all of the restraining force during a crash. The lower connector attachments are not affected. Parents should take into consideration a child’s age, weight, height and maturity level before graduating their child to a belt positioning booster. It is very important for their pelvic bones to be developed before using a booster seat with a seat belt."

To make certain that your child seat is installed correctly visit a car seat inspection station where certified technicians will ensure a proper fit. The technicians will help you learn to install the seat yourself and to properly secure your child before every trip. You can call your local CHP office and set up an appointment for a free inspection and installation lesson. There is also a car seat app created by the AAP for iPhones and iPads available for $1.99.

Katie Smith, Director of Safe Kids California points out that “with regard to both car seats and booster seats, price is not a determinant of the safety of any seat. Parents do not have to spend $300 on a seat to feel they have a safe seat. Just make sure the child fits properly in the seat and the seat fits properly in the car, and then make sure the child is buckled in properly every time on every ride.” Find the top three high-back boosters of 2014 that were selected by the Examiner parents panel here.

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