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  1. #1
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    But center/LATCH is safest...

    If I had a dollar for every time I've heard this as the reason for going against a car manual I'd be on my way to being rich.

    This has become a pet peeve of mine, so I apologize for the rant...

    People want their kids in the center because it's safest. But they want to use LATCH because it's safest. Don't even ask me how LATCH has come to be equated to being safer, but I often hear parents who think it is...

    So in the end, you have a seat in the middle, using the outboard lower anchors, and tethered to an outboard tether anchor. (now that I think about it, most center positions do have top tether anchors now even if they don't have lower anchors... but you still see seats with seatbelt in the center tethered outboard on older vehicles. )

    How is this safer? Why does so much public education focus on putting a car seat in the middle, instead of providing the additional information that outboard is actually safer if you can get a better installation there. And that if you don't have a tether anchor in the center position, you have to install a seat outboard. (I'm in Canada, it's mandatory to top tether front facing car seats.)

    And why do people think LATCH is safer?

    Sorry for the vent... it just frustrates me when I see people trying to do their best, and making mistakes because of the general info that's out there and just not knowing what's most important.

    We need a public safety announcement: "The safest position for your car seat in your vehicle is in the back seat in which ever seating position you can get the best installation. Always follow both your car seat and vehicle manuals. Choosing either LATCH or seatbelt is fine, whichever gives you the best installation is the safest. If using LATCH, always make sure whatever seating position you select allows the use of it."

    Yeah, too complicated for the average person to understand all that in a short period of time, but I wish it was out there anyways...
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


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  3. #2
    Senior Community Member natysr's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Yeah, I agree.

    I definately don't think LATCH is safer unless a parent is completely careless when installing with a seatbelt.

    Plus...each low anchor connected is connected in the car by 2 welds. So that is 4 welds total...to me...that is just 4 chances for something to fail on lower anchors right?

    I'm not saying that LATCH is unsafe...just that it is just different.

    I do prefer a seatbelt install though...assuming it is a great install.

  4. #3
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Quote Originally Posted by natysr View Post
    Yeah, I agree.

    I definately don't think LATCH is safer unless a parent is completely careless when installing with a seatbelt.

    Plus...each low anchor connected is connected in the car by 2 welds. So that is 4 welds total...to me...that is just 4 chances for something to fail on lower anchors right?

    I'm not saying that LATCH is unsafe...just that it is just different.

    I do prefer a seatbelt install though...assuming it is a great install.
    I honestly don't worry about LATCH failing, and I don't think it's any less safe than the seat belt. But it's not safer either.
    The purpose of LATCH is to make more car seats compatible with more vehicles. It removes the different types of vehicle seat belts from the equation, and is supposed to make installation easier. That's it... and that's what bugs me, is that people are afraid to use the seatbelt now because they think if they have LATCH they have to use it because it's safer.

    On it's own - if you remove the specific type of vehicle and quality of installation from the equation, they are both equal. And it's unfortunate that that message isn't more readily available.
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


  5. #4
    CPS Technician keri1292's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    The only time I think that LATCH is safer is with Gen 3 belts. I'd rather have my child outboard with LATCH than center with a seat belt if I had Gen 3 belts.
    I have heard MANY people say that LATCH is safer. My uncle, who recently had his 1st baby and knows that I am a CPS nut, even commented to my gram that I may not be comfortable with the kids riding in her van during our visit as it doesn't have LATCH. The newest car we've had is a 99! I've never even installed a seat with LATCH.
    Maiya ~ 12y/80lbs ~ Jane Indy Plus ~ Hayden ~ 9y/55lbs ~ SK Monterey ~ Quinn ~ 8y/45lbs ~ RXT ~ Mitchell ~ 18m/24lbs ~ Arctic Cat MA

  6. #5
    CPS Fanatic Morganthe's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Dontchya know, LATCH safer because it's NEW!!!

    And every bit of safety items that are new are automatically better than the old standby seatbelt

    That's pretty much the ideology I've discovered
    My Munchkin -- Nov 2008--5 years, 45.5", 42lbs
    Current Stats: 12 years old /5'5/ 115lbs/ Seatbelt

    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Phillip K. Dick

  7. #6
    Senior Community Member tarynsmum's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    When I was at BRU last week, getting the neighbor's Regent, I noticed they had a new (at least, not one I had seen before) brochure about "car seat safety". Of course, I grab it. It's a 8 section brochure (if that makes sense). Including the cover section, 6 of the 8 sections talked about LATCH - what it was, how to use it, etc etc etc. ONE section talked about the different kinds of car seat (infant - 5-22 lbs, convertible 5-40 lbs, combination - 40-80lbs: when they CLEARLY sell seats that go above those limits, and have for years )

    So yeah, if I was an uninformed parent, I would think that LATCH was safer, since so much emphasis is put on it (that, and it's new - so of course better )
    ~Heather
    DD: 8 years old, 48lbs, 50". DS: 5 years old, 36lbs, 40.5".

  8. #7
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Okay I do have a question for our CRT's going off your posts.

    What is a family to do in they have a vehicle that only has 2 top tether locations but has 3 children in carseats in a vehicle that can't have anymore top tethers added? For example a triplet situation?
    Jenny
    Senior CPS Tech-Instructor & Mommy of 2 girls
    K1 12 yrs old- 61" & 100lbs in vehicle seat belt
    K2 10 yrs old- 59" & 92lbs in vehicle seat belt

  9. #8
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Quote Originally Posted by jen_nah View Post
    Okay I do have a question for our CRT's going off your posts.

    What is a family to do in they have a vehicle that only has 2 top tether locations but has 3 children in carseats in a vehicle that can't have anymore top tethers added? For example a triplet situation?
    If they can't get a 3rd TA added, then they're stuck having to get a new vehicle or only transporting 2 kids at a time.

    There aren't any exceptions for cases where there is a limited # of TA's that we were told about in our class anyways.
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


  10. #9
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    I agree with the notion of thinking LATCH is better because it's newer. I also think the tremendous impact and influence of the Kyle Miller Youtube video has increased the number of parents/caregivers who feel that LATCH is better/safer.
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
    DD2 Age 12, 64" 5 steps

    Click here if you wish to view the full size version of my avatar

  11. #10
    Senior Community Member natysr's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Quote Originally Posted by snowbird25ca View Post
    I honestly don't worry about LATCH failing, and I don't think it's any less safe than the seat belt. But it's not safer either.
    The purpose of LATCH is to make more car seats compatible with more vehicles. It removes the different types of vehicle seat belts from the equation, and is supposed to make installation easier. That's it... and that's what bugs me, is that people are afraid to use the seatbelt now because they think if they have LATCH they have to use it because it's safer.

    On it's own - if you remove the specific type of vehicle and quality of installation from the equation, they are both equal. And it's unfortunate that that message isn't more readily available.
    I don't worry about LATCH failing either. I just brought it up because there are some parents that worry about seat belt failure (especially after the Kyle David Miller video). I'm just pointing out that there is a slim potential for failure in either method.

  12. #11
    CPS Fanatic Morganthe's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Quote Originally Posted by jen_nah View Post
    Okay I do have a question for our CRT's going off your posts.

    What is a family to do in they have a vehicle that only has 2 top tether locations but has 3 children in carseats in a vehicle that can't have anymore top tethers added? For example a triplet situation?
    Not a tech, but my lay person sense would be to use the two top tether positions and leave one seat without. Depending on how the seats fit --- 2 LATCH + 1 Seatbelt or 3 Seatbelts + the tethers.

    Smallest facing forward child or rfing in the position without the top tether. If they're all the same size, look at a different carseat. For instance, the Radian has solid head excursion results when the tt isn't used.

    You do what you can to make everything as safe as possible. If you can't afford a new vehicle with 3 spots across, which for older vehicles is difficult --- and it's not practical or possible to leave that third child behind...
    Top Tether isn't vital, it's useful and helpful. But it's still pretty darn safe to have carseats installed without it when the manufacturers haven't required it on that specific seat.

    just my worth
    My Munchkin -- Nov 2008--5 years, 45.5", 42lbs
    Current Stats: 12 years old /5'5/ 115lbs/ Seatbelt

    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Phillip K. Dick

  13. #12
    CPS Technician An Aurora's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    isn't top tethering required in Canada?
    Anna~ RN and expired CPST (hoping to recert soon!)

  14. #13
    CPST Instructor
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Quote Originally Posted by Morganthe View Post
    Not a tech, but my lay person sense would be to use the two top tether positions and leave one seat without. Depending on how the seats fit --- 2 LATCH + 1 Seatbelt or 3 Seatbelts + the tethers.

    Smallest facing forward child or rfing in the position without the top tether. If they're all the same size, look at a different carseat. For instance, the Radian has solid head excursion results when the tt isn't used.

    You do what you can to make everything as safe as possible. If you can't afford a new vehicle with 3 spots across, which for older vehicles is difficult --- and it's not practical or possible to leave that third child behind...
    Top Tether isn't vital, it's useful and helpful. But it's still pretty darn safe to have carseats installed without it when the manufacturers haven't required it on that specific seat.

    just my worth
    I was asking in regards to Canada laws that all ff'ing seats must be top tethered.

    I do just the samething you stated with the same situation here in the US.
    Jenny
    Senior CPS Tech-Instructor & Mommy of 2 girls
    K1 12 yrs old- 61" & 100lbs in vehicle seat belt
    K2 10 yrs old- 59" & 92lbs in vehicle seat belt

  15. #14
    CPS Fanatic Morganthe's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Oops sorry Wasn't on the Canadian board, so I just thought it was still linked to the Why LATCH better?, issue I didn't realize it was across the border.


    I guess that Canadian laws do not require the vehicles to have top tether in all spots? Pity.
    I feel for the poor parent who either has to fess up money they can't afford, leave behind a child, or break the law and leave the top tether off.
    My Munchkin -- Nov 2008--5 years, 45.5", 42lbs
    Current Stats: 12 years old /5'5/ 115lbs/ Seatbelt

    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Phillip K. Dick

  16. #15
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    I do think center position is safer in some situations. If there was a side impact crash, I would want my child to be in the center. Unfortunately I am a bit too close to a situation just like this that happened last year, so it hits home for me. Of course if you have more than one child, someone has to be outboard, but with my one, my first choice is always center. However, I would not go against manuals to put him center, which is why he is outboard in my husband's vehicle for the time being.

    As far as LATCH, for me it has always been easier to install with LATCH, but I don't think one or the other is safer. If LATCH is there I will use it, but I know how to use the seatbelt if necessary too. In fact in a few more pounds, we will have to use the seatbelt.
    6.25 yo, 42 lbs., 42 in., Britax Regent (Marina) and Graco Nautilus (Bravo)

  17. #16
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Add to that "my seatbelts don't lock!"

    *sigh*
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  18. #17
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Quote Originally Posted by Morganthe View Post
    Not a tech, but my lay person sense would be to use the two top tether positions and leave one seat without. Depending on how the seats fit --- 2 LATCH + 1 Seatbelt or 3 Seatbelts + the tethers.

    Smallest facing forward child or rfing in the position without the top tether. If they're all the same size, look at a different carseat. For instance, the Radian has solid head excursion results when the tt isn't used.

    You do what you can to make everything as safe as possible. If you can't afford a new vehicle with 3 spots across, which for older vehicles is difficult --- and it's not practical or possible to leave that third child behind...
    Top Tether isn't vital, it's useful and helpful. But it's still pretty darn safe to have carseats installed without it when the manufacturers haven't required it on that specific seat.

    just my worth
    In Canada if you don't have that 3rd tether anchor, you can't legally have a 3rd ff'ing car seat in the vehicle. That's pretty much all there is to it unfortunately. This is particularly a problem in older vehicles where only 1 tether anchor can be retrofitted - some Jeeps only have 1 center anchor that can be retrofitted. When 2nd kiddo gets to ff'ing age, there's no choice but to upgrade to a different vehicle.
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


  19. #18
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Yep. My Jeep has 2 outboard anchors, but no center anchor. So literally in Canada that center position is completely useless for a FF child.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  20. #19
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    maybe people believe it is safer, because they can get a tighter fit, i know i look at some cars where its rock solid with the latch, but then i have to take it out and use the seat belt instead, where its acceptable but not as rock solid. Also people also believe that latch wont fail, where a seat belt retractor can and might. They may think the belt will slide out and not hold the car seat, where there is no chance of latch doing that.

    In regards to putting your kids in the center, when its not possible it scared parents to think that one is at risk more then the other. that your choosing which could be injured more or less depending on where you put them. I keep hearing about some accidents where the parents get killed but the child properly restrained doesnt get hurt. You just have to tell parents to calm down, learn how to drive your car, where you drive it, and dont let the bad thoughts run your life.

    But look at cars with an isofix or something like that, they cant use the center seat, just the outboard. Its just a different philosophy between countries. We also like to keep our kids longer in a 5 pt harness, and other countries like to use boosters. No one is right or wrong its just different.

  21. #20
    CPS Technician
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    Re: But center/LATCH is safest...

    Quote Originally Posted by skaterbabscpst View Post
    Yep. My Jeep has 2 outboard anchors, but no center anchor. So literally in Canada that center position is completely useless for a FF child.
    Curious (must have had too much caffine today ):

    1. Has anyone actually been caught/fined?

    2. What if I documented I had persued having a 3rd anchor installed and was denied? I'd think it would be rather hard to enforce a law with a glaring exception/issue of "I don't have one. I can't get one because manufacturers prohibit installing a 3rd."

    3. Does the "can't retrofit vehicles that have anchors" hold if the anchor is a heavy duty one - for an EZ on or Special Needs seat? Would that be a "work around" for a 3rd tether?

    5. Has anyone pointed out the fact that it's impossible to tether a seat when there ISN'T an anchor available (you can't share the anchor)? - What was the response?

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