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Warning to Parents: Booster Seats & the LATCH System


I was recently hired to write many articles on child safety. While researching I found out that I did not have my 2 year old properly restrained in his car set. First, I found out that he was too tall to remain in the 5-point harness and he had met the weight limit on the 5-point harness. He needed to be moved to a booster seat. I bought an Eddie Bauer Convertible Seat that is supposed to grow with the child, and it has.

Here is the warning!

I had my child s car seat LATCHed in and when I adjusted the seat to make it a booster I left the LATCH on. I assumed it would keep my child safer, but this assumption was completely wrong! If your child is in a convertible child seat and you begin to use it as a booster seat YOU MUST REMOVE THE LATCH SYSTEM! If you have to slam on your breaks, or God Forbid get in a car accident, your child s booster seat is suppose to move forward with your child. As your child and the booster move forward the seat belt system will react much quicker and when your child is pulled back, with their booster, the booster seat will take the brunt of the impact. Now, if you leave your LATCH on, with the same above situation, your child will fly forward and their seat will not. It takes much longer for the seat belt system to realize that it is suppose tighten up- if it does at all.

What Car Seat Companies Said

I called 4 popular companies that produce child booster seats and they all said it is dangerous for parents to leave the LATCH system on and all of their manuals specify that you should not leave it on. I researched the Internet and several times found, The LATCH does not need to be used with the booster seat. Well, does not have to be and completely dangerous are two different stories.

My Research

I thought I would research a bit further and I called several home daycare providers in my area. These providers often transport children and the laws for these providers are pretty specific. However, not one knew about the danger of LATCH systems with booster seats. In fact, two different providers said they had to put on their breaks and a child in their care flew forward in their booster seat. One woman said the seat belt clicked in really late and the other said one of her kids flew out, his feet landed on the floor of the car, and then the seat belt system clicked in. She had to pull over and help him out of the seat belt before she could put him back in the seat. Now you may be thinking that their cars were old, but they are required by law to have newer vehicles and if they buy another car it must be a brand new-never driven vehicle. The women that had these 2 kids slide forward had newer cars; one had a 2004 minivan and another had a 2005 minivan.

PLEASE refer to your child s car seat manual for proper instructions! If you do not have the manual call the manufacturers number, which should be located on your child's car seat. If you are uncomfortable with your child s seat not using the LATCH system, there are car seats that have higher weight and height limits for the 5-point harness. Normally, if your child hits 40 pounds or their shoulders go above the highest strap slot they need to be moved into a booster. Some special seats let your child weigh up to 65 pounds before they must be removed from the 5-point harness. No matter what seat you choose, please remove the LATCH system when you child moves into a booster seat.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/) has valuable information on car seat safety.

Melissa Fach owns http://PanacaWriting.com Her services include SEO Copywriting, Business-Related Copywriting, SEO, Web Content, Articles, Graphic Design & Website Building.

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