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  1. #1
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Baby Trend LATCH LOC Adjustable Back Infant Seat

    <h4>Baby Trend LATCH LOC Infant Seat Review</h4>

    The Baby Trend LATCH-Loc Adjustable Back Car Seat is an infant carrier/base carseat system. It is rated rear-facing with a harness from 5 to 22 pounds.


    <A HREF="http://www.babytrend.com/carseats/6169.htm" TARGET="_TOP" > <IMG SRC="http://www.babytrend.com/carseats/6169_new.jpg" ALIGN="middle"> </A>Baby Trend LATCH-Loc


    <b>Review Introduction</b>

    The Baby Trend LATCH-Loc remains the only current child seat available with the rigid LATCH system, other than the pricey Britax BabySafe. All new carseats must have LATCH, but nearly all of them so far have flexible LATCH attachment straps. While these are often easier to use than seatbelts, they usually aren't as convenient as the rigid attachments that were the original concept behind the LATCH system. Rigid LATCH offers an extremely easy way to get a very solid installation, typically in much less than a minute. It also tends to eliminate the side-to-side movement that often results when using seatbelts or flexible LATCH. In addition, the LATCH-Loc offers many other convenient features usually found only in more expensive infant seats.

    <b>Features and Advantages:</b>

    <i>Rigid LATCH Installation</i>- The Latch-Loc base offers solid steel LATCH attachment bars. Push the gray release buttons, extend the bars, click them onto the lower anchors in your vehicle, then push the base firmly into the seat. In most vehicles, it should be solidly installed in seconds! Releasing the base isn't quite as easy, but still much easier than many bases that have inexpensive hooks for their flexible LATCH system. First, you again release the LATCH bars by pushing the easy-to-access gray release buttons. To release the LATCH clamps, you must depress the red release buttons on the bars. This may require a bit of dexterity in some vehicles. More details on the LATCH system in general can be found here:
    http://www.car-safety.org/latch.html

    <i>Base and Carrier compatible with Seatbelt Installations</i>- The LATCH-Loc carrier and base can also be installed with seatbelts. The carrier itself does not offer LATCH at all, but it can be installed with seatbelts when you do not have the base. Extra bases can be purchased directly from Baby Trend for around $40. At least one trendy infant carrier does not allow you to install it without the base, so be advised if that is a feature important to you.

    <i>5-point Harness</i>- This is the type of harness most recommended by child passenger safety advocates. It usually offers the best fit and the most protection from ejection.

    <i>Rear-Facing to 22 pounds</i>- Rear-facing is the safest form of travel for infants and toddlers. The 22 pound limit allows all but the biggest babies to remain rear-facing in this carseat up to a year. This version also has the adjustable back that accommodates infants up to 28.5" tall. So, this model may be used a while longer than many other infant carriers limited to 20 pounds and/or 26" in height. That may be especially important if you have a big baby.

    <i>Front Harness Adjuster</i>- This makes it easy to get a tight harness fit without having to remove the carseat. Experts recommend that the straps be tight on baby's shoulders. You should not be able to easily fit more than a finger between the straps and shoulders or pinch away any strap material. For small infants, Baby Trend lists a 5 pound minimum. The lowest harness height is 6.5". That is better than average, but other models may adjust even lower or be more appropriate for preemies. The release button and adjustment are very smooth.

    <i>Adjustable Back</i>- The adjustable harness is extremely easy to adjust, and should fit small newborns and large infants well. For rear-facing, it is recommended to use a harness strap position that is even with baby's shoulders or slightly below. There are 7 backrest harness positions, adjusted very easily with a small knob on the back of the seat. You never have to rethread the harness, even though Baby Trend thoughtfully included a harness threading tool (presumably for use on their other models!).

    <i>Two-piece Harness Retainer Clip</i>- This style tends to be easier to use and prevents twisty straps more than the one-piece "paper-clip" style. It is also harder for escape artists to release.

    <i>Adjustable Crotch Strap</i>- Allows an adjustable fit to accommodate big babies and small infants; a very nice feature not available in all infant carriers.

    <i>Puzzle Buckle</i>- I am neutral about puzzle harness buckles, but some parents love them. This is mostly personal preference. The hard plastic Latch Loc buckle requires more effort than most to engage. On the plus side, it does give a very positive click when it is buckled so you are sure you got it right. The lack of metal prongs is fairly unique- no more burning hot parts to touch baby in the summer.

    <i>Head Impact Foam</i>- Like a few other high end carseats, the LATCH-Loc includes EPS foam around the head, rather than hard plastic. This is the same kind of foam used in bicycle helmets. In the adjustable back version, this foam forms a nice cradle for the baby's head, integrated into the adjustable harness section.

    <i>Easy Recline Indicator</i>- Some recline indicators are not very accurate. This indicator was always very close to the 45 degree maximum recline recommended for newborns and small infants. Small indicator holes show orange if the angle is too much or too little, and are black when the angle is OK. A little less recline is somewhat safer for older, heavier babies, so a second recline indicator is provided for babies between 20-22 pounds.

    <i>Easy Angle Adjustment Knob</i>- The knob is located on the same side as baby's head. It is easy to use. Unlike other infant seats, the knob makes a height adjustment on the side of the baby's head. This is because the rigid LATCH attachments won't work with an adjustment at the foot like other models.

    <i>Nice triangular handle</i>- While it looked awkward at first, the triangular shape on the carrying handle was remarkably comfortable to hold. As with most infant carriers, the handle must not be up in the carrying position when it is installed in the car. Outside the car you can move it from the carrying position to a rocking intermediate position or non-rocking floor position.

    <i>Easy Release Mechanism</i>- The carrier itself is easy to install and release from the base. With some other infant carriers, I occasionally have difficulty removing the carrier from the base or making sure it is connected correctly when I put it in the base. The release handle is on the front of the seat, near the baby's legs, rather than behind the baby's back as is more typical with other brands.

    <i>Large Canopy</i>- Extends and retracts easily. It is very generous in size and can be moved in almost any position to block the sun.

    <i>Light Weight</i>- At less than 8 pounds, this is among the lighter infant carriers. I find it among the easiest to carry because of the weight and the grip design.

    <i>Comfort</i>- This model came with the subtle grey/black Glen Rock plaid pattern- nothing sporty or plush, but still soft and breathable. The pad is machine washable and drip dry. There is a generous amount of soft padding throughout.

    Overall, the LATCH-Loc has just about every feature you could want in an infant carrier system. A matching newborn head support insert would have put it over the top...

    <b>Disadvantages:</b>

    <i>Seatbelt Installation</i>- Depending on the configuration of your seatbelts, seatbelt installation can be a bit tricky. Carseat advocates recommend that the base or carrier should be installed such that there is less than one inch of movement side-to-side and front-to-back when the carseat is gripped where the seatbelt is routed. It took a little time in our vehicles to get acceptable side-to-side movement with a seatbelt installation. This is only a disadvantage if it is true in your particular vehicle. If you don't have LATCH and find it fits well with seatbelts in your car, then it is still a very good choice!

    <i>Recline Adjustment Range</i>- The recline adjustment does not have a large range with the LATCH Loc base. Though it adjusted properly in all vehicles I tried, it is possible that it would not be enough using LATCH in vehicles with unusually contoured seats since additional noodles cannot be used. This would not affect seatbelt installations, or the optional Flex Loc base.

    <i>Heavy Base</i>- With the solid steel LATCH attachments, the base is rather heavy. This should not be an issue since most people leave the base installed in their vehicle. If you plan to move the base around a lot, this may be a concern. On the other hand, the base does a reasonable job preventing rebound compared to many other models. The Flex-Loc base, reviewed below, is much lighter.

    <i>Availability</i>- The Latch Loc and other Baby Trend infant seats and travel systems are not as common as some other brands, but they are available at Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Amazon.com and their affiliates. The fabric choices are also very limited.

    If you will be using seatbelts and the LATCH-Loc does fit in your vehicle, the rest of these issues are all relatively minor. The LATCH LOC also may not fit at all in a few LATCH-equipped vehicles because of the locations of the anchors or the contour of the vehicle seat. Even if your vehicle has LATCH, there is no guarantee of a good fit- as with any child restraint. In those cases, a Flex Loc base from Baby Trend may work instead. While some reviewers may criticize this model because they couldn't get an acceptable fit in their vehicle, the ease and safety of a rigid LATCH installation is a huge advantage if it does work in your vehicle.

    <b>Flex Loc Base (Sold Separately)</b>

    As mentioned, Baby Trend also makes a base with Flexible LATCH attachments instead of the rigid LATCH version included with the Adjustable Back Latch-Loc carrier. Some of the other Baby Trend infant seats and travel systems come with the Flex-Loc instead of the LATCH Loc.

    The Flex-Loc base is significantly lighter than the rigid LATCH model. Instead of the solid steel structure and attachment bars, it uses a more typical flexible strap LATCH attachment system like that found on most other carseats. Even so, the LATCH connectors are not typical at all. They are quite large, with a robotic finger appearance. Because of their length, they work very well and are very easy to attach. A simple button on each side makes them very easy to release, also. That is a huge improvement over many models that use standard LATCH hooks for their attachments and can be quite difficult to release once installed tightly. Another advantage is that there are separate adjusters on each side for each connector. Many seats only have a single adjuster on one side and that can make it a little more difficult to tighten and release in some vehicles. There is a storage area in the base for when the seatbelt is used for installation and the LATCH connectors are not in use. The recline mechanism is typical of those on most infant bases. You depress a plastic button and adjust a solid leg to one of four recline positions. A rolled towel or foam pool noodle may also be used for additional recline if the highest recline setting is not enough.

    So far, I have only tried the Flex-Loc base in our 2001 Honda Odyssey and 2000 Subaru Outback. It worked very well with LATCH in the Odyssey. While it was almost as quick to install as the rigid LATCH-Loc base, the installation was not as solid. It was still a good fit, but most flexible LATCH systems will not get the same, solid fit as the rigid LATCH system without significant effort. It is possible that the long length of the Flex-Loc LATCH attachments might prohibit a tight installation in some vehicles. In the Odyssey, the adjusters were pulled all the way up to the top of the base to get a good installation. Depending on the vehicle seat shape, location of the LATCH anchors and setting of the recline feature, it is possible they might not tighten enough in some vehicles, but I do not know if this is the case. Using seatbelts, the Flex Loc base is very similar to the LATCH Loc base. I found it did fit slightly better than the LATCH Loc base using the seatbelts in our Outback.

    The Flex-Loc and Latch-Loc bases are interchangable and may be used with any of the Baby Trend infant carriers. You may order an additional base from Baby Trend. Babies R Us may also carry them for around $40 for the LATCH Loc and $30 for the Flex Loc.

    <b>Conclusion</b>

    Unlike many infant seats where LATCH was an afterthought thrown on to meet new standards, this one was designed from the ground up to be LATCH compatible. If you have a newer vehicle with the LATCH system and are looking for an infant seat, this one should be among your top choices. We are expecting a new baby and I chose the LATCH Loc Adjustable over all other models based on all its great safety features. I like it even more than the original 20-pound, non-adjustable version I have also reviewed.

    The LATCH-Loc is a fully featured infant carrier system that makes installation very easy with a new LATCH-equipped vehicle. I installed the rigid LATCH Loc base in our 2001 Honda Odyssey (LATCH) and a 2000 Subaru Outback (seatbelt). I also have tried seatbelt and LATCH installations in various other vehicles I have inspected as a child passenger safety technician over the past few years. Using the rigid LATCH, I have always achieved a very quick and extremely solid installation. With some effort, I did get an acceptable fit using the seatbelts in all seating positions of our vehicles. If not for the great rigid-LATCH system, I would have rated this product a "4" for ease of use and "4.5-stars" overall. If you don't plan on having a vehicle with LATCH, then there are other models that may install better in some vehicles, but that is impossible to say without trying them first.

    This model is competitively priced under $90, even if you don't consider the rigid LATCH. It offers many of the same features as its competition and one or two extras. The updated manual is improved and very good overall, with reasonably good illustrations. It attaches to the back of the carrier. A separate manual in Spanish is also included. This carrier works with most Baby Trend strollers, including the lightweight Snap 'N' Go. I will use it with a black Kolcraft Universal stroller frame, and that works very well to make a very light and easy-to-use matching travel system if you already have a stroller for everyday use.

    I give the Baby Trend Latch-Loc Adjustable Back Car Seat 5-stars overall. Not only because it is the infant seat I chose for our new baby in our particular vehicles, but also because at $80 to $90 retail it is a great value. It does have some minor shortcomings, but the rigid LATCH, higher weight/height limits, adjustable back and ease of carrying meant a lot more to me than some of the creature comforts and flashy fabrics found on higher priced models.


    Details on the LATCH-Loc can be found here:
    http://www.babytrend.com/

    NHTSA Ease of Use ratings can be found here:
    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/CPS/CSSRati....cfm?CSSID=105

    My Epinions review is here:
    http://www.epinions.com/content_174499335812

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  3. #2
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    Is this the same seat as this one?:

    (Carseat Data website closed - link broken) (the one my lil guy, Ira is in )

  4. #3
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Yes, this one is the same as any of the 22 pound versions that have been sold. Different fabrics have been available in the past, and I understand some interesting new ones will be available soon.

  5. #4
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Baby Trend LATCH LOC Adjustable Back Infant Seat

    I am bumping this, given renewed interest in the Baby Trend Flex Loc model that was one of two models to pass a recent test by Consumer Reports. The As I mentioned in the review, the Flex Loc base is interchangeable with the rigid LATCH Loc base. The adjustable back carrier is the same, assuming no recent changes have been made.

    After using it for nearly a year, the only nuisance was a handle that was sometimes difficult to adjust and a canopy that sometimes popped out on one side.

  6. #5
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    Re: Baby Trend LATCH LOC Adjustable Back Infant Seat

    your epinions review lists this as a recaro. is the baby trend really a rebadged recaro?
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  7. #6
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Baby Trend LATCH LOC Adjustable Back Infant Seat

    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    your epinions review lists this as a recaro. is the baby trend really a rebadged recaro?
    That seems to be a mistake by Epinions. Baby Trend was the importer for the Recaro Start a couple years ago, before Recaro had a child restraint presence in the USA. There may be some other relationship between the two companies, but I am not aware of it.

  8. #7
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    Re: Baby Trend LATCH LOC Adjustable Back Infant Seat

    I need clarification. The new findings by CR only cover the Flex-Loc version and not the Latch-Loc? I would have chosen the Latch-Loc based on your review but not if it's less safe (per CR that is) compared to Flex-Loc.

    any input on this?

  9. #8
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Baby Trend LATCH LOC Adjustable Back Infant Seat

    That is correct, they apply only to the Flex Loc as far as anyone knows. CR apparently didn't test a LATCH Loc in the most recent review. No one knows anything about Consumer Reports' testing methods or procedures. Identical and very similar models that do well in one review get different results in the next, so it's impossible to say how the LATCH-Loc would perform. For example, the LATCH Loc wasn't highly regarded back in the somewhat hypocritical 2003 review because they complained it was a poor fit some vehicles (this is inherent for rigid LATCH in some vehicles), but it became a "Quick Pick" in the 2005 review.

    That said, studies in Europe have shown some safety benefits to rigid LATCH, especially in side impacts. In that the carrier and attachment system is the same, I would expect the LATCH Loc to be at least as safe as the Flex Loc in the real world, probably a bit safer. In the world of Consumer Reports, who knows?

    Unfortunately, the LATCH Loc is very difficult to find as there was an exclusive with Toys/Babies R Us for many years and I believe it may have gone out of production. Target now shows it on their website as coming in 2-6 weeks, so hopefully it is on its way back.

  10. #9
    Senior Community Member Amaris's Avatar
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    Question for Darren about Baby Trend LATCH LOC

    I just saw one of these in toys r us a few days ago. It was probably an older one though, since it seems that they haven't gotten them back on the market yet. So Darren, here's a question for you, would you get the latch loc or the safeseat 1? I thought I had decided to get the safeseat but after seeing the latch loc I'm not sure. We tend to have really long kids, so in that respect the ss1 is looking a little more promising, but since grandparents might put the seat in their car a few times the ease of installation on the latch loc (assuming the latch fits in their rav 4) is also promising. Man, it wasn't this hard to choose a seat 5.5 years ago, you just got the snugride and that was that, at least for us, now there's all these choices......or maybe we've just learned a bit since then and are doing more research!

  11. #10
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Darren about Baby Trend LATCH LOC

    I have only seen the Safeseat 1 at conferences. I haven't had a chance to use one or install one, yet. So, I really can't compare them fairly.

    I used the Baby Trend LATCH Loc most recently for our toddler, but that was over 8 months ago. The rigid LATCH base was the key selling point for me. It was also nice that it was compatible with the Flex Loc base so you could use the adjustable back carrier even in a vehicle where rigid LATCH didn't work.

    I have not heard much about the upcoming LATCH Locs that are on the Target website compared to those previously sold by Babies/Toys R Us. I suspect the new ones are updated both in fabrics and also perhaps in features and probably other changes.

  12. #11
    CPS Technician
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    Re: Baby Trend LATCH LOC Adjustable Back Infant Seat

    I installed a Flex Loc this weekend in a Kia Sedona (not sure the year) and we had to use the seatbelt b/c we could not get a good fit w/ the LATCH anchors. The carseat itself was very nice and I loved the color, lol, but if basing on installation alone I would get the Safeseat. I have one and it's been a breeze to install w/ LATCH and seatbelt.
    Jennifer, Special Needs CPST, peds nurse, and CSFTL Admin mom to:
    AJ-13 (five steps), Evan-11 (nbb),
    Ilana-9 (nbb) ,
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    Unity-3 (rf and ff)

  13. #12
    CPS Technician Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Baby Trend LATCH LOC Adjustable Back Infant Seat

    I had a Latch-Loc when my son was born and LOVED it. Rock solid install in 30 seconds flat, impossible to screw up (with LATCH that is). The one thing I hated about it was the handle, it was extremely difficult to put down, and putting it down in the car was required.
    I traded it for a Graco SafeSeat1 when my son was 8 months old, and I love the SS1 as well. However i fully intended to purchase another Latch-Loc for our next child, thinking that such a fabulous seat would never be discontinued. Now that it is back out again, I hope to be able to purchase another one for the next child.
    I love the Graco SafeSeat and the Latch-Loc equally. If the SafeSeat is too big, then I would get the BTLL over all other smaller seats. However if you only have a seatbelt, then the BTLL is probably not the seat for you (it IS difficult to install with the belt). If you don't need the portability for an extended period of time, and you have LATCH, I would go with the BTLL over the SS1. I have no experience with the Flex-Loc, however. Since it was the BASE of the LL I loved so highly, not necessarily the carrier, I would probably skip the flex loc for my purposes.

  14. #13
    CPS Technician lynsgirl's Avatar
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    Re: Baby Trend LATCH LOC Adjustable Back Infant Seat

    Just wanted to mention that while I never got the chance to use the LL on a regular basis, it installed beautifully with both LATCH and seatbelt in my van (05 Sienna) in the captain's chairs. I was surprised at what a great seatbelt install I got, since I've installed it in non-LATCH cars at checks and it's no picnic . But for my van, at the very least, it was good lol.

    Amy
    CPST and Mom to 4 great kids, all in seats

  15. #14
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    Re: Baby Trend LATCH LOC Adjustable Back Infant Seat

    We have the rigid LATCH base version and really loved it with our DD. We just reinstalled it the other day in anticipation of #2's arrival. It fits easily in our 2003 Honda Civic. Also fits fine (w/ LATCH) in DH's 2002 Lincoln LS. We've only done a seatbelt install few times - not a huge issue.

    Love the front release mechanism, sun shade, handle, etc. About the only downside is that with the handle down it does mean the front seat has to be a bit more upright/forward than I'd normally put it, but nothing major. Our not too huge DD outgrew it by height though by 6 months. That would be the major advantage I'd see to the SS1 - higher weight & height limits.

    Now if only all carseats were as easy to install.

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