When To Make the Switch to Seat Belt Installation
- What: LATCH combined weight limits
- When: Check around age 2, 4 and 6, or anytime you make a switch
- Why: Keep kids safe on the road
- Where: Your personal vehicle
I feel like every parent who’s ever installed a car seat knows about LATCH, but did you know that LATCH has limits? I knew, conceptually, that LATCH wasn’t tested or authorized above 65 pounds. But my kids weigh 48, 34, and 32 pounds, so I had no cause for concern. I forgot, until recently, that the 65 pound limit combines the weight of my child and my child’s car seat.
Car seats weigh a ton. If you’ve ever had to lug one around, you know that. I checked today and our convertible type Britax Marathon weighs 17 lbs before I even put my child in it. Luckily that child weighs next to nothing comparatively speaking, and we can continue to use LATCH anchors, most likely for years. My youngest rides in the back row still rear-facing in his convertible Britax Roundabout. Because our third row doesn’t have LATCH anchors, I installed his seat with the seat belt anyway, so the combined weight doesn’t matter. My eldest, however, switched to the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 booster seat last summer, when he weighed less than 45 lbs. No problem.
He now weighs over 48. And it turns out his seat tips the scales at around 20 lbs, so he needs to be using the seat belt installation, not LATCH like we had it configured. I spent some quality time fixing that oversight today.
I had totally forgotten about this limit because it hadn’t affected our lightweight children in quite some time. (I know other families that ran into the same issue with their convertible seats around age four, and one even as young as two.) In case anyone else suffers from too much to remember with too little sleep, here’s your friendly reminder to double check how much your seat and child weigh combined, and whether or not you still use the LATCH anchors for car seat installation.