The following LATCH-related child restraint recalls are excerpted from the 2015 LATCH Manual* and include only those CR recalls and consumer advisories that affect CRs that are expired as of January 2017. They were omitted from the 2017 and newer LATCH Manuals because the publisher does not want to imply that users should continue to use expired child restraints.
The story of tethers begins long before the introduction of LATCH. Tethers were used on forward-facing child restraints (CRs) in the United States, Canada, and Australia as early as 1970. They have been required equipment for all forward-facing CRs made since 1974 in Australia and since 1980 in Canada. In the U.S., however, though tethers were featured on some early CRs, they weren’t required. The challenges caregivers faced if they tried to retrofit their vehicles with tether anchors (TAs) led to very low levels of tether use, and tethers were eventually phased out of nearly all U.S. CR models by the mid-1980s.
In April 2012, the IIHS reported on findings from a joint LATCH-use study it conducted with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. “Keys to Better LATCH” identified and measured key factors in the usability of LATCH and then studied volunteers to see how these factors predicted the quality of CR installations.
In 2014, the IIHS published two follow-up reports (one on LA attachment use and the other on tether use), which further affirmed the findings of the 2012 study. The studies help prepare the IIHS for a possible next step, which is to explore a ratings system to evaluate LATCH setups in common family vehicles.
On January 23, NHTSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding updates it plans for FMVSS 225 and 213 in order to improve the usability of the LATCH system. This NPRM is an important step toward improving ease of use and accessibility of lower and tether anchors, a topic that hasn’t been addressed through regulation since LATCH was initially introduced 15 years ago. It outlines some basic proposals for new regulations from NHTSA and seeks comment on the necessity of further regulation.
The following car seat brands have been out of business in the U.S. for many years and their CRs models are expired and should no longer be in use. Therefore, we’ve removed these entries from the 2015 and newer LATCH Manuals. For anyone interested in this information, however, we’ve posted it here:
I was recently asked whether our SRN Fact Sheets were updated to reflect the recent changes to FMVSS 213. While I assured the customer that we had reviewed all sheets and made any edits needed, I also noted that the changes were minor. Our fact sheets are meant to provide caregivers with easy-to-read information about best practice, so technical details about subjects like regulations are not appropriate and would in fact detract from the key safety messages.
However, this hints at broader questions that others might share: What do caregivers need to know about the recent update to LATCH weight limits and CR labeling? And, exactly how should our parent information be changed so it’s current?
This issue of SRN celebrates the amendments to FMVSS 213 that went into full effect on February 27, 2014, expanding the standard’s scope to include CRs for children up to 80 pounds (formerly 65 pounds). Although the purpose of this expansion, when first directed by Congress over 10 years ago, was to bring most boosters under FMVSS 213, the effect is to also ensure that today’s wide array of CRs with very high-weight harnesses will be tested according to the standard’s requirements.
As most readers have probably noticed, we are going through a particularly complex period with respect to determining LATCH weight limits. Most CPSTs have heard about upcoming changes in FMVSS 213 regarding lower anchor weight limits. NHTSA has ruled that, by next February or sooner, CRs must have instructions and labels limiting use of the lower attachment system to a child weight specific to each CR model. This weight limit is to be calculated based on the formula “65 pounds minus the CR weight.” Keeping things interesting, this final rule is under further review, and NHTSA may or may not announce a modification to it in coming weeks. Though this ruling pertains to CRs only, many vehicle manufacturers indicate in the 2013 LATCH Manual* that they have adopted this same formula to express lower anchor limits (and tether anchor limits, too, in some cases). So this limit now applies to about half of all vehicle brands.