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  1. #1
    David Grasmere
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    Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    Most people I talk to about forward-facing child seat installation use either the LATCH system connections OR the car's seat belts.

    I use both. My logic has been this: although I would always use the LATCH system, why not have the back-up of the car's seatbelts.

    Is there any reason why I should not use both?

    Thank you,

    David

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  3. #2
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    Hi David,

    Welcome to C-S.org


    Your friends are correct It is NOT advised to use both and in fact might even be dangerous.

    Seats are tested stringently to particular standards. Either the seats weren't tested with both, or DID test with both and failed dismally. We have no way of knowing, and in either case, you're putting the child in the seat in harms' way.


    How old is your child and what does he/she weigh?

  4. #3
    CPS Fanatic bubbaray's Avatar
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    Car seats are crash tested using the two systems separately, therefore that is how they are required to be used, as per manuals.

    You can't always use LATCH -- there are weight limits for the vehicle LATCH anchors and also for the child restraint. If you post your vehicle, your child restraint and the child's weight, we can tell you what weight you can use LATCH to.

    Sometimes using the seatbelt will give a better install -- compatability between vehicles and restraints can be "interesting". Also, sometimes using seatbelts instead of LATCH helps people fit three-across (three restraints) in a tight situation. Lastly, sometimes there is no LATCH available for a particular position -- typically, outboard LATCH anchors can not be borrowed for a center install.

    And, even if/when you use a seatbelt install, you should ALWAYS top tether a front-facing seat, even if your child exceeds the LATCH weight. The LATCH weight is for the lower anchors....


    HTH
    Melissa

    DD#1, April 2004, FFg in a Pink Harmony Literider & Onyx Parkway SG
    DD#2, January 2007, FFg in a Pink Monterey & Purple with Pink Hearts HBTB

    Riding in my 2010 Toyota RAV4 and DH's 2011 Ford 150 Crew Cab

  5. #4
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    There is some thought (and keep in mind this is just speculation, but it makes sense) that using both systems can make a crash harder on a child.

    In a crash, even a super-tightened seatbelt or LATCH strap will stretch significantly, and that's a good thing. It allows the child to "ride down" the crash. If the belt/strap didn't stretch, the seat wouldn't move at all, and all the crash forces would be transferred onto the child.

    One theory is that using the seatbelt and LATCH together will cause neither system to stretch enough, and therefore transfer more forces onto the kid.

    Again, we don't know if that's the case. Maybe someday we'll learn that it's fine to use both. But until/unless we do, it's definitely not recommended. Your seat passed testing using just the belt and just the LATCH, so no reason to use both.

  6. #5
    David Grasmere
    Guest

    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    I appreciate the rapid responses to my question. It is obvious that I shouldn't use LATCH and the vehicles belts together.

    My kids are my grandchildren:

    Age 7, 41 pounds

    Age 4 (almost), 31 pounds

    The cars are:

    1999.5 VW Jetta (equipped with LATCH. Early '99s did not have)

    2005.5 VW Jetta (LATCH)

    The 1999 is my car and I have two seats with the typical harnesses that came with the seats.

    The 2005 is the primary ride, used by the childrens' parents. In that car, the older child uses a booster with full back secured by the car's seatbelt. The younger is in typical car seat with harness.

    Again, thank you all for the responses.

    David

  7. #6
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    What seats do you have in your car? Many seats have a 40 pound limit, or they're outgrown when the shoulders go over the top slot, so your seven year old grandchild may have outgrown it. Or not. My nearly seven year old rides harnessed in a Graco Nautilus.

    VWs have 48 pound LATCH limits.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 61", 99#, seatbelt
    laine 9/16/09, 46", 54#, Diono Monterey, Chicco KidFit Zip Air
    in a 2015 BMW M235i, and my 2011 Mercedes E350 wagon


  8. #7
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    Knowing the brand names of the seats your grandkids are riding in would be extremely helpful

  9. #8
    Ambassador jess71903's Avatar
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    For those finding this thread through search, I have bookmarked this thread for when this subject comes up. I find it extremely helpful.

    Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools

  10. #9
    David Grasmere
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    Quote Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
    Knowing the brand names of the seats your grandkids are riding in would be extremely helpful
    The child seats in the 1999.5 Jetta are as follows:

    Age 7 child is in a Cosco Summit (mfg 10/04)

    Age 4 child is in an Alpha Omega Elite/Luxe made by Dorel Juvenile (mfg 06/07)

    Thank you

  11. #10
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    Thanks for posting all the details! And I love seeing a granddad on here keeping his grandkids safe.

    So, the 7yo is 41 lbs and rides in the Cosco Summit, with the harness in your vehicle? The weight limit on this seat for the harness is 40 lbs, so he's outgrown this carseat. You should start using it in booster mode. I believe the seat belt fit on this particular seat is usually pretty poor, so you may want to consider purchasing a dedicated booster that will fit him better.

    I'm not sure about the 4yo; it's hard to say without seeing him in the seat, of course, but he may have outgrown his carseat as well. Carseats are outgrown EITHER when the child reaches the weight limit, OR when their shoulders are above the top harness slot. Also, this car seat is tricky because the top position for the harness can NOT be used with the harness - it's only for booster use. Here's an article explaining that:

    http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=39120
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  12. #11
    CPS Technician sunnymw's Avatar
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    I don't know the average size of a 7 year old, but I'm almost willing to bet that the Summit has been outgrown by height. It is definitely outgrown by weight (in harness mode, not booster mode). The seat must be used as a booster (with adult seat belt) if the child has either A) reached the 40lb weight limit, B) the strap slots are BELOW her shoulders, or C) the tips of her ears are above the hard shell of the seat. The Summit is not generally recommended as a booster as it doesn't fit most kids very well--especially the lap belt portion of the seat.

    The same rules for being outgrown also apply to your Alpha Omega seat. If it's the one I'm thinking of--where the headrest adjusts the strap height--then the very top position of the headrest is for booster use only, not harness mode.

    HTH!

    ETA: cross-posted with Debbie. she said it better
    Sunny, a new patrol car, an old raggedy Civic, and:
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  13. #12
    CPS Fanatic bubbaray's Avatar
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    Depending on how they install in your vehicle, I'd go with something like the Graco Nautilus or the Britax Frontier for the 4yo. Maybe a Frontier in the primary vehicle and the Nautilus in the secondary vehicle.

    For the 7yo, I'd start booster training and move to a dedicated booster. Maybe the Sunshine Kids Monterey for the primary vehicle and the Graco Turbobooster for the secondary vehicle.

    The oldest needs out of the harness on the Summit ASAP. I wouldn't even keep the seat as it likely expires this October.
    Melissa

    DD#1, April 2004, FFg in a Pink Harmony Literider & Onyx Parkway SG
    DD#2, January 2007, FFg in a Pink Monterey & Purple with Pink Hearts HBTB

    Riding in my 2010 Toyota RAV4 and DH's 2011 Ford 150 Crew Cab

  14. #13
    David Grasmere
    Guest

    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    Quote Originally Posted by bubbaray View Post
    Depending on how they install in your vehicle, I'd go with something like the Graco Nautilus or the Britax Frontier for the 4yo. Maybe a Frontier in the primary vehicle and the Nautilus in the secondary vehicle.

    For the 7yo, I'd start booster training and move to a dedicated booster. Maybe the Sunshine Kids Monterey for the primary vehicle and the Graco Turbobooster for the secondary vehicle.

    The oldest needs out of the harness on the Summit ASAP. I wouldn't even keep the seat as it likely expires this October.
    Thank you everyone for your advice.

    For the 7-year-old (girl, 45 inches, 41#), which do you think would be better: Sunshine Kids Monterey which has LATCH or the Graco Turbobooster which does not have LATCH? In other words, is it better to have a booster seat Latched in or not? Is the Britax Frontier better? It's easy to get confused about what the best thing to do is.

    I agree, the "Summit" in the 1999.5 has to go so I want to replace it first (7yo).

    Thoughts? Thank you.

    David

  15. #14
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    The Monterey also has the advantage of being a much larger seat so it will fit and be comfortable a lot longer than the Turbo [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlI7FI9xBww"]YouTube - Sunshine Kids Monterey Booster Seat Side-Impact Crash Test[/ame] and it has a nifty crash test video. I'm sure the Turbo is nearly the same performance, and if you're on a tight budget, it's a great choice, too (the M is just more bang for your extra bucks )
    Julie
    CPST since 2003, pu"R"ple since 2008, three kids growing too fast since 1997, 1999 and 2006

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

  16. #15
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    I'd vote for whichever booster you can buy before she next rides in that vehicle.

    Seriously, though, I think either one would be a great choice. I like them both for different reasons. My daughter fits slightly better in the Turbo, but the Monterey will last longer as a high-back booster, and thus provide more protection for more years. The LATCH capability on the Monterey is nice, but I consider it more of a convenience factor - with it LATCHed into your car, you don't have to buckle it when it's not being used to prevent it from becoming a projectile in a crash. There seems to be a very minor amount of safety provided for the child in a LATCHed booster vs. a regular booster.
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  17. #16
    David Grasmere
    Guest

    Re: Using both LATCH and car seat belt

    I ordered the Monterey for the older child 7yo. I keep looking at the Frontier and while a little intimidated by the price, I like that the child can stay in a harness until 80 pounds. Still a little confused. Maybe I'll by both.

    Appreciate all the advice. thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by joolsplus3 View Post
    The Monterey also has the advantage of being a much larger seat so it will fit and be comfortable a lot longer than the Turbo YouTube - Sunshine Kids Monterey Booster Seat Side-Impact Crash Test and it has a nifty crash test video. I'm sure the Turbo is nearly the same performance, and if you're on a tight budget, it's a great choice, too (the M is just more bang for your extra bucks )

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