Fake CPS products are not limited to counterfeit CRs. The online availability of aftermarket LATCH systems is also a growing problem posing a danger to children. Multiple sellers are offering systems to add to CRs (LA attachment straps with connectors), as well as systems for vehicles (plates with LAs and TAs). When it comes to these aftermarket parts, no extra sleuthing is needed to conclude that they are unsafe: LATCH hardware should only be acquired directly from a vehicle or CR manufacturer. Read More from “Warning: Aftermarket LATCH = Fake LATCH”
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.