LATCH 201: What LATCH attachments come with my child’s seat?

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WHAT LATCH ATTACHMENTS 
COME WITH MY CHILD SAFETY SEAT?


INFANT SEAT WITH BASE

Rear-facing infant seats usually come with a base.


LOWER ANCHOR STRAP: permanently attached to the base
TETHER STRAP: no infant seats currently sold in the US use a tether.
NOTE: If you want to use the carrier without the base, this is possible with all currently sold models EXCEPT The First Years Via (which requires the use of the base at all times).  With the infant seats that allow you to use the carrier without the base, you will have to use the vehicle’s seat belt to secure the carrier as the lower anchor strap is permanently attached to the base (and shouldn’t be removed).


INFANT SEAT WITHOUT BASE

Sometimes rear-facing infant seats come by themselves (i.e. without a base).  The information below is for carriers that come without a base (for carriers that come with a base, see above info)


LOWER ANCHOR STRAP: permanently attached to the carrier
TETHER STRAP: no infant seats currently sold in the US use a tether



**************************************************************************************************************

CONVERTIBLE SEAT
(CONVERTS FROM REAR-FACING to FORWARD-FACING)
Rear-Facing Convertible



LOWER ANCHOR STRAP: permanently attached to the seat.
Most convertible seats have one long lower anchor strap with a connector on either end – while others (some Britax & Recaro for example) have 2 separate lower anchor straps each with a connector on the end.  Some convertible seats have a separate lower anchor strap for rear-facing & forward facing (ex. Graco My Ride 65).


**Always make sure the lower anchor strap is routed/positioned in the proper place for the direction the seat is facing – nearly all seats require you to make some change in the lower anchor strap when the seat goes from rear-facing to forward-facing.




Forward-Facing Convertible

TETHER STRAP: Most convertible seats do not use the tether rear-facing.  ALL convertible seats use the tether forward-facing.  
***Remember: While the lower anchors are used INSTEAD of the vehicle’s safety belt to secure the child safety seat to the vehicle, tethers are used IN ADDITION to the lower anchors OR the vehicle’s safety belt to secure a forward-facing (and some rear-facing) child safety seat to the vehicle.


These convertible seats can use the tether rear-facing:

  • Britax: all convertible car seats allow Swedish or Australian method
  • Combi Coccoro: will soon retroactively allow tethering (further info to come)
  • Snug Seat Hippo: changed 5/30/07 to retroactively allow Swedish or Australian method
  • Sunshine Kids Radian (all models) – tether using Swedish method


**************************************************************************************************************
COMBINATION SEAT 
(FORWARD-FACING 5-POINT HARNESS CAR SEAT 
THAT TURNS INTO A BELT POSITIONING BOOSTER)

5-POINT HARNESS CAR SEAT MODE

Combination seat in
5 point harness
car seat mode

LOWER ANCHOR STRAP: permanently attached to the seat.


TETHER STRAP: All combination seats come with a tether.  While the tether is technically optional on most combination seats (but should always be used whenever possible as it decreases how far the child’s head moves forward by up to 8 inches), there are a few that require the tether.  For example, the Safety 1st Go Hybrid requires the tether at all times, while the Britax Frontier 85 requires it for children weighing more than 65 pounds who are using the 5 point harness.


***Remember: While the lower anchors are used INSTEAD of the vehicle’s safety belt to secure the child safety seat to the vehicle, tethers are used IN ADDITION to the lower anchors OR the vehicle’s safety belt to secure a forward-facing (and some rear-facing) child safety seat to the vehicle.

BELT POSITIONING BOOSTER MODE

Combination seat with 
harness removed 
for Booster mode

Most combination seats do NOT allow the use of the lower anchor OR tether strap to secure the seat to the vehicle while the seat is being used in the booster mode (i.e. the child is using the vehicle’s shoulder/lap belt across them). 


Current exceptions:

              • Britax Frontier & Frontier 85: allow use of lower anchors & tether
              • Evenflo – all combination seats (retroactively) allow use of lower anchors & tether
              • Recaro Pro Sport – recommends use of tether (does not allow lower anchors)
              • Safety 1st Go Hybrid (formerly Safeguard Go) – allows use of lower anchors




**************************************************************************************************************
BELT POSITIONING BOOSTER
High Back or Backless



High-Back
Belt Positioning Booster 

LOWER ANCHOR STRAP:  Most booster seats do not come with lower anchor connectors.  Those that do, sometimes have rigid lower anchor connectors instead of a flexible lower anchor strap as is found on nearly every other type of car seat.  See close-up drawing at left of a rigid lower anchor connector. 


TETHER STRAP: None of the high-back boosters (that weren’t part of a combination seat) currently come with a tether strap.


High-Back
Belt Positioning Booster
with rigid lower anchors

The following booster seats allow the use of the lower anchors and/or tether:






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