A Carseat Nerd's Blog

A Carseat Nerd's Adventures in Carseats

There are BIG changes to LATCH system! January 27, 2013

Filed under: Stuff You Should Know — carseatnerd @ 7:44 pm
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As a CPST, I spend a lot of time learning about various car seats and vehicle safety features, and how they affect the safety of children vehicle occupants.  I feel that it is very important to share the knowledge I have gained with other parents.
As of February 2014, major changes to the LATCH regulations will be in place. Most vehicle and car seat manufacturers are making those changes now, and they are making them RETROACTIVE. Your vehicle, if equipped with LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), may have a different weight limit now than it did when you installed your seat. For twenty seven vehicle brands, the new weight limit is 65 pounds, minus car seat weight.
The new regulations are making child seat installations a bit confusing, since your car seat weight now plays into the weight limit for your child in a particular vehicle. For example, if you are using a 16 pound Safety 1st Complete Air in your 2014 Ford Explorer, your child may weigh 49 pounds using the lower anchors and tether. But, if you’re using a 27 lb Diono Radian RXT in that vehicle, your child may weigh only 38 lbs. Move those seats into your Honda Accord, and your LATCH limit is still a blanket 40 lbs. Move those seats into your 2012 Explorer, and the LATCH limit is still 48 lbs. Some manufacturers are not making the changes retroactive, some are. Some are still choosing to place the weight limit on the child seat manufacturer.
For a system that was developed to make child passenger safety easier and less confusing, things are getting very complicated! It is essential that caregivers know how to use the vehicle seat belt and the child restraint top tether to install the car seat in use.
Please contact me with your current vehicle make, model, and year as well as your current child seat so that I can tell you what your new LATCH limit may be. For local (King and Snohomish County) readers, I am also happy to meet with you to review installation.
If you’d like more information about the new regulations and what to expect to see next year, feel free to contact me.

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26 Responses to “There are BIG changes to LATCH system!”

  1. ourownparade Says:

    I’d love to know if we have any LATCH limit changes…
    Cars: 2011 Subaru Legacy, 2010 Toyota Sienna, 2008 Toyota Prius, 2010 For Focus
    Car seats: Diono Radian RXT, Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL, Britax Marathon 70, Britax Boulevard 70, Britax Roundabout 55

    Thanks!

    • carseatnerd Says:

      Hello and thanks for asking!
      Subaru’s stated child weight limit for LOWER ANCHORS is 65 lbs minus the car seat weight, unless you are using the lower anchors WITHOUT the top tether, when the weight limit is 48 lb minus the car seat weight.
      Toyota defers to the child seat manufacturer’s stated limits.
      For a 2010 Ford Focus, your weight limit is 48 lbs.

      The Radian RXT and XTSL weigh 27 lbs. Diono/Sunshine Kids has stated that their SuperLATCH anchors (which are on the seats you have) may be used up to 80 lbs in vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2005. In vehicles manufactured prior to 9/1/05, or with the standard LATCH anchors, their limit is 48 lbs or the vehicle’s stated limit, whichever is lower. Whether you trust Diono/Sunshine Kids regarding their SuperLATCH testing is your call. Personally, I don’t find a seatbelt installation that difficult and I am absolutely 110% confident in it’s ability to restrain my child’s seat. I have three XTSL’s and they are all installed with the belt in every vehicle. With the weight of these seats, if you follow vehicle manufacturer weight limits in your Subaru, your child weight limit is 38 lbs.
      The Marathon and Boulevard 70 weigh 19 lbs. Britax states that their limit for using the lower anchors is 40 lbs (or the vehicle’s limit, whichever is lower) on the newer models that you have. This is the weight limit you need to follow in your Toyota.
      The Roundabout 55 weighs 17 lb.

      • ourownparade Says:

        Thanks! I haven’t made a decision on SuperLatch yet. My daughters are only 20# and 30#, so I have some time. I do have the XTSL installed with seat belt in the Toyota Prius because I was able to get a better install.

        As for Subaru’s with vs without top tether limits… The seats are tethered RFing (with d-ring) – does that count as ‘top tether’? Or do I follow the 48# minus car seat weight limit? If I have to do 48# minus car seat weight (19# Marathon), I need to switch to seat belt install immediately since a 30# child is over the 29# limit!

      • carseatnerd Says:

        This is why the new regulations are so confusing!
        The text in our LATCH manual states the 48 lb limit is for forward facing car seats with top tethers in place. Most vehicle manufacturers don’t even consider rear facing tethering because none of them will tell you where you can tether to. There is no technically approved by Subaru rear facing tether anchors. I will contact the author and ask if there’s a stance for CPST’s to take on that one.
        I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to switch to a belt installation in the mean time.

  2. Stephanie Says:

    I would be very interested in knowing the limits for my carseats if you wouldn’t mind. I have a Diono Radian RXT and a Britax Advocate both RF with top teather, also a Graco Snugride 35. Our cars are a 2010 Toyota highlander and a 2010 Toyota Tundra. Thank you so much!

    • carseatnerd Says:

      Hello.
      Toyota defers to the car seat manufacturer’s stated weight limits.
      On Britax seats, that is 40 lbs. Graco is 48 lbs, but you’ll be switching to a convertible seat before that point anyway.
      Diono/Sunshine Kids has stated that their SuperLATCH anchors (which are on the seats you have) may be used up to 80 lbs in vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2005. In vehicles manufactured prior to 9/1/05, or with the standard LATCH anchors, their limit is 48 lbs or the vehicle’s stated limit, whichever is lower. Whether you trust Diono/Sunshine Kids regarding their SuperLATCH testing is your call. Personally, I don’t find a seatbelt installation that difficult and I am absolutely 110% confident in it’s ability to restrain my child’s seat. I have three XTSL’s and they are all installed with the belt in every vehicle.

  3. Carrie Says:

    Hi,

    We have a 2005 Subaru Forester and a 2003 Saturn Vue. Our car seat is Chicco keyfit. Are there any changes for these?

    • carseatnerd Says:

      Subaru’s stated child weight limit for LOWER ANCHORS is 65 lbs minus the car seat weight, unless you are using the lower anchors WITHOUT the top tether, when the weight limit is 48 lb minus the car seat weight.
      Saturn’s weight limit is 65 lb minus the weight of the car seat.
      You are fine using the lower anchors with your current Key Fit. Assuming you are using the Key Fit 30, your seat would have to weigh 35 lbs, which it certainly doesn’t. 🙂

  4. Nicole Says:

    Hi – do you have information on the LATCH weight limits for a Honda Accord 2010. I just bought the Graco Argos 70 seat as my almost 4 year old is only a couple of pounds away from the Evenflo Triumph weight and about 2 finger widths away from the shoulder strap. I live in King county but can’t find your contact information on the blog for a car seat fitting check.

    • carseatnerd Says:

      Hello!
      Honda has maintained their 40 lb LATCH limit for all models and all years. I will send you an e-mail with my contact information.
      Thanks for posting!

  5. Denise Aden Says:

    What are the honda fit 2012 latch limits for a roundabout 55 britax?

  6. Allison White Says:

    I have a 2013 Explorer – If I understand correctly, my limits are 65 lbs. My carseat (the Britax Frontier) weighs 21 lbs so I should not use the latch system if my child I more than 44 lbs, correct?

    • carseatnerd Says:

      Ford is one of the more confusing changes. Vehicles with a model year of 2013 and OLDER have a Lower Anchor weight limit of up to 48 lbs (child only). Model years 2014 and NEWER will have the 65 lb MINUS CAR SEAT WEIGHT limit. So, you may use the lower anchors in your 2013 Explorer up to 48 lbs child weight.

  7. Car seat confused Says:

    I have a 2012 BMW x3 with a combi coccoro and will be getting either a foonf or peg perego as well. Do you know my latch limits? Thanks!

    • carseatnerd Says:

      BMW has a lower anchor limit of 65 lb minus car seat weight, and recommends always using the top tether when installing with the lower anchors. Follow car seat manufacturer rules when installing with a seat belt.
      The Combi Coccoro weighs 11.75lbs, the Clek Foonf weighs 33 (with rebound bar and base), and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 5/70 weighs 21. This makes the child weight limit 53lbs, 32lbs and 44 lbs respectively.

  8. Mieke Says:

    I have a 2003 Ford Focus and a 2005 Ford Focus with a Graco Nautilus installed in each. What are the weight limits on these?

    • carseatnerd Says:

      Ford model years prior to 2014 have a 48 lb lower anchor limit. The top tether anchor may be used to the weight specified by the car seat manufacturer.
      Graco’s stated lower attachment limit is 48 lbs, or the vehicle manufacturer’s stated limit, whichever is lower. Graco recommends using the top tether at all usage weights.

  9. kate beard Says:

    Hi, super confused but hoping you can help. My son is roughly 50 pounds (4.5 years old) and FF in a Britax Frontier in our 2010 Toyota Pruis. Does this mean he’s to heavy for latch now?

    • carseatnerd Says:

      Toyota defers to the car seat manufacturer’s instructions. Britax has set their lower anchor weight limit at 40 lbs, unless the vehicle mmanufacturer has stated a higher limit. Thus, your son outgrew your seat’s lower anchor limit 10 pounds ago, and should be switched to a vehicle belt installation immediately. Please let me know if you need more help with your installation. Depending on your seat belt geometry, you may find a better installation with the long belt path if your belt is long enough.

  10. Ashley Says:

    Hi! I have a 2007 ford explorer, a 44 lb daughter and the Diono radian RXT. From my understanding she can’t use the latch system anymore at this point, correct?

  11. Jill Madden Says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m currently car seat shopping and happened across this. Between us and grandma, we have 2012 Explorer, 2014 Explorer, and 2013 Venza (toyota). Baby is in Chicco Key fit 30 with base, and her brother is in a Boulevard or True fit (whichever true fit was sold in 2012 at BRU, the Premier I think). Can you provide the Latch info, and any recs for 41 tall/ 35-40lb nearly 4 year old (prefer a convertible so we can pass on to baby sister). I wasn’t exactly sure how to measure him but the top of his hip to top of his head, while standing, is 12 inches.

    Thanks so much!

    • carseatnerd Says:

      Again, Ford is one of the more confusing changes. Vehicles with a model year of 2013 and OLDER have a Lower Anchor weight limit of up to 48 lbs (child only). Model years 2014 and NEWER will have the 65 lb MINUS CAR SEAT WEIGHT limit.
      If you already have two convertibles to pass down, I wouldn’t buy a third one for a 4 year old. I’d look at a combination seat (harness to booster), such as the Graco Nautilus/Argos, or the Britax Frontier/Pinnacle/Pioneer. By the time your convertible seats are expired, your daughter will be old enough to use a combination seat. Combination seats are also easier for children to get in and out of by themselves duet o being lower than most convertible seats, which helps foster independence.
      To measure seated torso height, have your son sit with his back against a wall, mark where his shoulders and head are. The shoulder mark is the approximate height you need your harness to accommodate, and the head mark is the approximate shell height you need to accommodate.

  12. Kelly Says:

    In our True Fit Premier’s manual it says to defer to the vehicle’s UAS weight limit. So if Toyota is deferring to the car seat manufacturer, how do we get a final answer? We have a 2008 Highlander Limited. Our car seat was purchased in 2011. Thanks!

    • carseatnerd Says:

      Isn’t that frustrating?! According to my 2013 LATCH manual, which is compiled of information given to SafeRideNews by the vehicle and child seat manufacturers, Tomy (the parent company of First Years) has stated to SRN that the Lower Anchor and top tether weight limit is 48 lbs, or the vehicle’s stated limit, whichever is lower. Since Toyota doesn’t make a statement even in the LATCH manual, you need to assume 48 lbs.
      I hope that helps!


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