Car seat rules have changed -- again!
Just when you thought you knew how to install your car seat properly, the rules have changed.
LATCH -- an acronym for "lower anchors and tethers for children" -- became standard in all vehicles made after 2002. Those little bars, 11 inches apart, hidden in the bight of the back seat, made things much easier for parents. Instead of having to wrestle with the car's seat belts, you just attach the LATCH belts to the LATCH anchors, pull tight, and you're good to go.
Starting this year, however, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA, pronounced "nitsa") rewrote its regulations. LATCH has only been tested for a maximum of 65 lbs. of combined weight between your child and the car seat. Once their combined weight exceeds this, you're going to have to go back to installing your car seat the old-fashioned way, with the seat belts. Oy.
Now, just to put your mind at ease, installing a car seat with the seat belt is still relatively easy. Most cars have locking belt plates and retractors, so getting the seat secure this way is most certainly possible. Still, you can almost hear the angst of parents everywhere saying, "Wait, wasn't the whole point of LATCH to keep us from having to do this?" Um, yes. So in one sense it feels like a step backward. Hopefully car manufacturers will redesign LATCH to handle more weight.
In the meantime, if you need help determining if your car seat is installed properly, please let us know and we'll be happy to take a look.