>LATCH – Tricks to a Tight Installation – How to Pull the Belt Effectively

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Why should I care: LATCH belts are finicky – and will only get tight if you pull them exactly as they want to be pulled.   
How do I know if I am pulling the LATCH belt correctly?  If you drop the LATCH belt and it falls on top of the child’s car seat – where the child sits – then you have pulled it correctly from INSIDE the car seat.  If you drop the LATCH belt and it falls on the vehicle seat (i.e. to the side of the car seat) then you have been pulling it from OUTSIDE the car seat.  **See bottom for the exceptions to this rule.
 
DON’T: Pull the LATCH belt from OUTSIDE the car seat
Rear-facing First Years True FitPulling LATCH belt from OUTSIDE
Rear-facing Combi Coccoro
Pulling LATCH belt from OUTSIDE

DO: Pull the LATCH belt from INSIDE the car seat 

(pass the tail of the belt through the side hole in the car seat)

Rear-facing First Years True Fit
Pulling the tail of the LATCH belt from INSIDE the car seat
Rear-facing Combi Coccoro
Pulling the tail of the LATCH belt from INSIDE the car seat

Britax 70 (Marathon/Boulevard/Advocate) or 55 (Roundabout)
Pulling the tails of the LATCH belt from INSIDE the seat
Forward-Facing Evenflo Tribute
Pulling the tail of the vehicle’s lap belt from INSIDE the car seat

Forward-facing Britax Frontier
Pulling the tail of the vehicle’s lap belt from INSIDE the car seat
**EXCEPTIONS:
Because every rule needs a few exceptions…
  • Britax Advocate, Marathon, Boulevard (the original versions – that go to 65 pounds) – the 2 separate LATCH belts are connected on a metal bar on the side of the car seat and the belts pull best from the OUTSIDE of the seat.  Note, the newer versions – the Britax Advocate 70, Marathon 70, Boulevard 70, and Roundabout 55 – like the belt pulled from INSIDE the seat. 
  •  Chicco Key Fit – the LATCH belt is located centrally, and therefore you have no choice but to pull it from inside the seat (you wouldn’t be able to pull it from outside even if you tried)
  • Graco Safe Seat Step 2 (Forward-facing only seat) – the forward-facing belt path is closed off, forcing you to have to pull the belt from the outside (which makes this seat more difficult to install with LATCH than others) 
  • Recaro Signo – the 2 separate LATCH belts are connected on a metal bar on the side of the car seat and the belts pull best from the OUTSIDE of the seat
  • Sunshine Kids Radian – the rear-facing belt path is closed off, forcing you to have to pull the belt from the outside (one of the reasons this seat is more difficult to install tightly than others)
Comments
5 Responses to “>LATCH – Tricks to a Tight Installation – How to Pull the Belt Effectively”
  1. Alyssa Terk says:

    >I don't get it… can you put more pictures? it seems the hole to inside the car seat is below the bar where the latch belt goes on my britax boulevard, so it pulls better from outside. Thanks.

  2. >Alyssa – thanks for mentioning this – please see above as I have added some exceptions, including the case of the Britax Boulevard

  3. Franka says:

    >I would like to add one seat where it pulls best from the outside, the Recaro signo, also has the 2 separate latches on a metal bar

  4. >franka – thanks for the addition. you are very right – as the signo is like the marathon/boulevard/advocate in having the 2 separate latches on the metal bar

  5. Jonathan P says:

    >As soon as I read the title of this post, I was nodding in knowing agreement. I'm a 6-year carseat-install veteran. (One of the nurses in postpartum at Sinai asked if I had had you install the Snugride base. No, I just made it as tight as I could. I *still* have the impressions in the cushion. :-P) We recently replaced an involved-in-accident Graco RF/FF convertible (older model, maybe ComfortSport?) and a Graco high-back TurboBooster with two Britax Frontiers. Two things I noticed with the new ones: 1) Those shmancy clips you use for latch are *much* easier to clip on and release than the clips I've seen on all other latch belts. 2) You have *NO CHOICE* but to pull the latch tight from inside the car seat. I couldn't even get the seat loosely attached pulling from the outside! Then, I scroll down and see in the third picture above the tell-tale Britax armrest. And grinned. :-)When life gets slightly less insane, I intend to get certified to do carseat installations. As an EMT with the local volunteer FD, I figured that it'd be something good to have under my belt.

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