Why does LATCH only go to 48 lbs?

granolamama

New member
After installing a Regent in our car today, using the LATCH system for the first time, I'm very curious as to why the LATCH system is only rated to 48 lbs. Am I correct in assuming that this is soley due to the way the LATCH bars on the car are manufactured, and not really anything to do with the particular car seat? It would be really nice if cars started coming with higher rated LATCH bars; maybe that will change as more harness car seats come out that are rated higher than 40 lbs.? I'm also wondering whether the Britax Regent has a rigid or flexible LATCH system, since the car manual mentioned both, and said that the rigid system was preferable.

Thanks,
Helen
 
ADS

Jeanum

Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus
Staff member
Don't know enough to answer your first question, sorry. You may find info. to help with your question at the www.saferidenews.com web page or in the FAQ link at the top of this board. Just wanted to post that your Regent has flexible LATCH (i.e., the flexible webbing/straps for the LATCH clips). Rigid LATCH seats (like the Baby Trend LatchLoc for example) have metal bars instead of flexible straps for the LATCH clips. HTH a bit. :)
 

granolamama

New member
I found some more answers at the website Jean recommended.

In brief,
" 6. Use of tethers for children over 40 pounds (Sept 03)
Confusion over Child Weight Limits for Tether Anchors Must be Cleared Up
The issue of maximum child weight limits for CRs using tether anchors as defined by some vehicle manufacturers has become a hot issue that pits children’s needs against vehicle manufacturers’ limitations (page 4). CPS technicians, advocates, and parents want and deserve to know the real margin of safety for children over 40 pounds.
There seem to have been different interpretations of the very unclear language in the discussion in the final FMVSS 225 rule regarding test requirements for tether and lower anchors. NHTSA needs to communicate to vehicle manufacturers the implications of its standard. Child restraint makers who took the initiative to produce CRs that usable with a harness and tether for children above 40 pounds need to stay on course until vehicle instructions catch up with them.
This issue should be resolved as quickly as possible to minimize the number of years for which product instructions will be ambiguous. It is very unfortunate that the benefits of tethers for higher-weight children who need them may be lost due to manufacturers’ overly-conservative estimates. While there will be no changing the anchors in existing vehicles or the text of current owner’s manuals, CPSTs and advocates need to know the true story so they can advise people appropriately.
Two closely-related petitions must also be dealt with by NHTSA. The agency should address how families needing to tether restraints for children over 48—65 pounds can obtain assistance to install stronger hardware appropriately, as suggested in the 1999 petition from SBS USA. The sanctioning of tether use above 40 pounds for combination seats with harnesses also begs for consideration."

More info:
http://www.saferidenews.com/html/LATCH_P49.htm

Car Manufacturer's stated maximum weights for LATCH and Tether anchor points:
http://www.saferidenews.com/pdfs/LATCHApp_B_pg105.pdf

It sounded like most of the car manufacturer's had not done actual testing to determine these maximums, however. :(
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
The reason is that the standards for LATCH were created without any foresight. The tests upon which the standards were based used a 65 pound combined child+restraint weight. It may well be that LATCH systems in most vehicles could be used well above the given limits, but liability concerns are probably the reason most manufacturers do not recommend it. Until the standards are updated and the designs are tested at higher limits, it is best to discontinue the use of the lower anchors at the limit listed in the owner's manuals. The seatbelt is a good alternative to install restraints with higher weight limits.
 

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