The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration reports that every year thousands of children die needlessly in motor vehicle accidents because their child safety seat was not properly installed or they were not restrained in one.
Any parent that has ever installed a child safety seat knows that they are not always easy to install and sometimes they don’t fit correctly in the model car the parent or caregiver is trying to install them into.
Parents and caregivers might not even realize that since September 1, 2002, all vehicles were required to have a LATCH system. LATCH is an acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. A LATCH system makes child safety seats easier to install because they have a top tether which anchors to an anchor in the vehicle and a lower attachment which attaches to an anchor (see picture to the right). With a LATCH system, one is not required to use vehicle seat belts.
Parents and caregivers can check their vehicle owner’s manual to find out the exact location of the tether anchors (metal loops). In sedans, they can be found behind the rear seat of the rear shelf and in larger SUVs and trucks, the anchors can be found on the rear of the vehicle itself, on the floor or on the roof.
All forward-facing child safety seats should be installed using a top tethers in conjunction with the lower anchor or vehicle seat belt.
For more information, the NHTSA has information about choosing the right safety car seat, installation videos and registering your child seat in case of a recall: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS
Information on the LATCH system can be found here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/LATCH
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have been killed.