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.
SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A (SBS USA) collaborates with Toyota/Lexus on a program to provide tether anchor kits and installation for families with pre-2001 Toyota and Lexus models. Dealers throughout the continental U.S. and Alaska (not Hawaii) honor certificates from SBS USA for the tether kit and installation. The certificates can be obtained through SBS USA by sending in an application that includes the VIN and information about the children to be transported, along with a voluntary donation of $5 or more per anchor. Highway safety or child safety organizations can have a supply of certificates to fill out with families in need at checkup events. The donations help defray administrative costs of SBS USA. Information about the program and applications are available on the SBS USA website in English and Spanish.