Overview: Understanding the Spreadsheets

**Before we start, 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!**

Since model year 2003, the lower anchors of the LATCH system are required in at least 2 seating positions, while the top tethers are required in at least 3 seating positions.  In the vast majority of vehicles, the center of the back seat has NO LOWER ANCHORS (but does have a top tether).  The following spreadsheets will help you know which vehicles DO have the lower anchors for the center seat (in addition to having a top tether).

Using the Spreadsheets


What does LATCH mean when it is used in the spreadsheets?

Snippet of a Center LATCH spreadsheet

  • LATCH in these spreadsheets is referring to having BOTH the Lower Anchors AND the Top Tether
  • A seating position that just has a top tether, and no lower anchors, does not have the full LATCH system

How do you count the rows in the vehicle?

  • First Row: Driver & Front Passenger
  • 2nd Row: Row behind the driver & front passenger
  • 3rd Row (in some SUVs, minivans, and vans)
  • 4th Row (in some vans)

What do the numbers & the colors in the “Center LATCH” column mean?

What does “# of anchors” mean?

  • This refers to the TOTAL number of lower anchors for that row in the vehicle

What is the “REALLY” column all about?

  • For vehicles that have 6 Lower Anchors, there are many instances where it is NOT possible to install 3 car seats using the Lower Anchors despite what appears to be possible from reading the owner’s manual.  In many cases, the spacing between a pair of Lower Anchors is not sufficient to allow 2 car seats to fit side by side.  For some newer model vehicles I have been able to obtain the measurements between the pairs of lower anchors – and have listed these, when available, in the columns adjacent to the “really” column.
  • In some vehicles the spacing between the driver-center pair and the center-passenger pair is EQUAL and is not sufficient to fit 2 car seats side by side.  In this situation, you would FUNCTIONALLY end up with a situation where you can either install: 1. 1 car seat in the center using the Lower Anchors OR 2. 2 car seats on either side using the Lower Anchors – but it would NOT be possible to install 2 car seats side by side (or for that matter 3 car seats side by side) using the Lower Anchors.  (You are essentially in the same situation as #1 – the red.)
  • In other vehicles the spacing between one pair of Lower Anchor is wide enough to accommodate 2 car seats installed side by side using the Lower Anchors (typically you need at least 5-6 inches between the pair of lower anchors) – whereas the spacing between the other pair is too close to allow for 2 car seats to be installed side by side using the lower anchors.  In this situation, if you wanted to install 2 car seats using the lower anchors you could either: 1. Install 1 car seat in the center & 1 on the side that has the wider spacing between its and the center’s lower anchor OR 2. Install the 2 car seats on either side.  It would NOT be possible to install 3 car seats using the Lower Anchors in this vehicle.  (You are essentially in the same situation as #9 – the light purple).  An example of this situation would be the 2007-2011 Acura MDX, where the spacing between the driver-center Lower Anchors is 2 inches, while the spacing between the center-passenger Lower Anchors is 9 inches – making it impossible to have a car seat in the center & another on the driver’s side with both using the Lower Anchors (or the vehicle’s seat belt for that matter too in most cases).

Why is Model Year 2011 highlighted?

  • Model Year 2011 is in yellow to make it stand out (for those who may be researching new cars)

How do I see the different sheets within each spreadsheet?

  • At the bottom of the spreadsheet you will see a toolbar that looks like this which allows you to switch between the different sheets included in each spreadsheet.  For example, on the spreadsheet that lists all the center LATCH by vehicle model year, you will see separate sheets for “2000”, “2001”, “2002”, etc. – click on the blue text to go to that specific sheet.  Use the horizontal blue line at the bottom to scroll left-to-right to see the far most right columns on the sheet.

How do I see the data that is cut-off on the right hand side of the spreadsheet?

  • Sometimes you will have to scroll Left-Right to be able to see all the data in the spreadsheet.  You will almost always have to scroll down to see all the data.

Note: These spreadsheets are NOT meant to replace your vehicle or car seat owner’s manuals.  PLEASE always refer to your manuals for further information.

3 Responses to “Overview: Understanding the Spreadsheets”
  1. Lauren says:

    How do you access the spreadsheet?

    • Lauren – The spreadsheets are on separate pages. Go to the top left of the blog’s homepage, click on “LATCH”, go down to “Is LATCH in the center of my car” and then go RIGHT and you will see a drop down list of posts – the spreadsheets are under “by vehicle model year”, “by vehicle type”, and “by LATCH configuration.”

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