Head’s up, parents of toddlers and kids! There are car seat recommendation changes in 2014.
Starting in 2014, the new recommendation states that the LATCH system should no longer be used when the child and car seat combined weight is over 65lbs.
This is an amendment to the law instated in 2001 that recommends that all children up to 65lbs remain in car seats/boosters, but that did not take into account the weight of car seats. Car manufacturers cannot guarantee the strength of the anchors when adding the additional weight of the seat, thus the need to modify the law.
How can you be sure you’re meeting these guidelines? Weigh your child, then weight the seat, then add them together. If they’re over 65lbs combined, start using the seat belt restraint versus the LATCH system.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in harness (including 5 point harness or booster with seatbelt) until the age of 8, which prompted car seat manufacturers to design car seats meant for higher weights. Car seat laws vary state-by-state and your specific state requirements for car seats can be found here. Personally, I make sure that I follow North Carolina law and AAP recommendations.
What can you do to ensure your children are being buckled in properly? Have your seat installation inspected at your local NHTSA office.