AAA Foundation Finds LATCH-Installed Car Seats to be a Weighty Issue
Feb. 25, 2014: Examples of frequent mistakes with marginal-to-critical consequences:
Confusion/misinterpretation of weight limit; not factoring in weight of both car seat and child. Consequence: Lower anchors, connectors and tether may not adequately restrain the car seat and child during a collision. AAA Recommendation: At a minimum, set the lower anchor weight limit to 65 pounds for the combined weight of the child and the car seat; require standardization and clear labeling of car seat weights and limits. Using LATCH in the center position of the rear seat by using inner bars of outboard lower anchors when not specified as an option by vehicle manufacturer. Consequence: Lower anchors and connectors may not adequately restrain the car seat and child during a collision. AAA Recommendation: Make lower anchors available in all preferred seating positions, including the rear center seat – generally the safest seating position. Not securing or stowing the tether when a convertible seat is used in a rear-facing position. Consequence: In a collision, the loose tether strap/hook may swing freely, injuring the child or other passengers (e.g., projectile hazard). AAA Recommendation: Manuals should emphasize need to store the tether and indicate where it should be stored.
The full research report and white paper were provided to NHTSA in December 2013.