Center LATCH Color-Coding Key

Did you know that there are 10 possible combinations that can allow you to use LATCH in the center of the vehicle?

The Center LATCH spreadsheets that follow this post all use the following numbering/color-coding system as seen below.  Please scroll down through this entire page to see and read about what each of the 10 Center LATCH permutations are.  Of the 10, there is only one (#8 – the dark purple) that will potentially allow you to install 3 car seats side-by-side with ALL of them installed using the lower anchors.

2 Lower Anchors, spaced 11 inches apart, in the center of the back seat.  NOTE: In many vehicles with this configuration, the Lower Anchors are not centered (they sit partially into one of the side seats) and will often make it impossible for a person/car seat to fit on one of the adjacent side seats.

4 Lower Anchors - all spaced exactly 11 inches apart

4 Lower Anchors - all spaced exactly 11 inches apart. If installing 1 car seat, you can install it in the middle using the Lower Anchors OR either of the side seats. If installing 2 car seats (and wanting to use the Lower Anchors), you can: 1. Install 1 in the center using the Lower Anchors & 1 on the side using the vehicle's seat belt OR 2. Install both on either sides using the Lower Anchors. It is NOT possible to install 2 car seats side by side with both using the lower anchors - because 2 car seats can never be attached to the same Lower Anchor. Note: A car seat installed on the side using the Lower Anchors, as opposed to the vehicle's seat belt, will usually take up enough of the center position that it will NOT be possible to place a car seat or a person in the center.

4 Lower Anchors - with the inner most ones spaced WIDER than 11 inches apart (i.e. there is a non-standard spacing between the inner most Lower Anchors). If installing 2 car seats (and wanting to use the Lower Anchors), you can: 1. Install 1 in the center using the Lower Anchors & 1 on the side using the vehicle's seat belt OR 2. Install both on either sides using the Lower Anchors. It is NOT possible to install 2 car seats side by side with both using the lower anchors - because 2 car seats can never be attached to the same Lower Anchor. If installing a car seat in the center in this vehicle, the car seat manufacturer MUST be OK with the installation at a non-standard spacing.

4 Lower Anchors - for the Driver & Center position (no Lower Anchors for the Passenger seat). Unless, the inner most lower anchors for the driver & center positions are too close together, it is possible to install 2 car seats using the Lower Anchors - one in the driver's side & one in the center.

4 Lower Anchors - for the Center & Passenger position (no Lower Anchors for the Driver's side seat). Unless, the inner most lower anchors for the passenger & center positions are too close together, it is possible to install 2 car seats using the Lower Anchors - one in the passenger side & one in the center.

5 Lower Anchors - Driver & Center position share a Lower Anchor, Passenger position has 2 separate Lower Anchors. Because the Driver & Center position share a Lower Anchor, it is never possible to install a car seat in the Driver & Center seat with both using the Lower Anchors - as 2 car seats can never be attached to the same Lower Anchor. It is NOT possible to secure 3 car seats in this vehicle with all using the Lower Anchors. If installing 2 car seats and wanting to use the Lower Anchors you can: 1. Install 1 in the center and 1 in the passenger's side OR 2. Install 1 in the driver's side and 1 in the passenger's side. Note: In vehicles with this configuration, the installation of a car seat in the center using the Lower Anchors will often make it impossible for a person/car seat to fit in the driver's side seat.

5 Lower Anchors – Center & Passenger positions share a Lower Anchor, Driver’s position has 2 separate Lower Anchors.  Because the Passenger & Center position share a Lower Anchor, it is never possible to install a car seat in the Passenger & Center seat with both using the Lower Anchors – as 2 car seats can never be attached to the same Lower Anchor.  It is NOT possible to secure 3 car seats in this vehicle with all using the Lower Anchors.  If installing 2 car seats and wanting to use the Lower Anchors you can: 1. Install 1 in the center and 1 in the driver’s side OR 2. Install 1 in the driver’s side and 1 in the passenger’s side.  Note: In vehicles with this configuration, the installation of a car seat in the center using the Lower Anchors will often make it impossible for a person/car seat to fit in the passenger’s side seat.

6 Lower Anchors - each pair is at the standard 11 inch spacing. 3 car seats may be installed at the same time with ALL using the Lower Anchors. Typically there needs to be at least 6 inches of room (at minimum) between the pairs of lower anchors in order to have enough room to install 2 car seats side by side with both using the Lower Anchors.

6 Lower Anchors - each pair is at the standard 11 inch spacing. BUT because the Lower Anchors for the Driver & Center positions overlap, you can NOT install 3 car seats with all using the Lower Anchors in this vehicle. Therefore, when installing car seats using the Lower Anchors, one may: 1. Install 1 car seat in the center OR 2. Install 2 car seats - one in the center, one on the passenger side OR 3. Install 2 car seats - one on either side. A car seat installed in the center position will usually make it impossible to have anyone (adult or child in a car seat) ride in the driver's side position.

6 Lower Anchors - each pair is at the standard 11 inch spacing. However, there is insufficient room between at least one of the pairs of Lower Anchors to allow for 3 car seats to be installed with all using the Lower Anchors. In many vehicles, the spacing between one pair will be very wide (often 9 inches), while the spacing between the other pair is 1-3 inches (which is not enough room to allow 2 car seats to be properly installed side by side using the Lower Anchors for both. NOTE: Most vehicle owner's manuals do not discuss this issue nor do the people at the car dealerships know of it - but it is very common in the vehicles that have 6 Lower Anchors. Sometimes the space between each pair is identical, other times there is a lot more room between one of the pairs than the other.


**We want to let you know about an invaluable resource for CPS Techs/Instructors – the Safe Ride News LATCH manual which contains much of this information PLUS A LOT MORE.  It is the LATCH “bible” – and we use it several times a day as a reference.  No tech/instructor should be without it.  Go to saferidenews.com to order your own copy!**

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