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Tether and LATCH Question: An Update.

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

There have been many threads lately (here is one of them) http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=555179, which discuss or question the use of LATCH in addition to a vehicle belt to secure a child seat, and more specifically confusion regarding what if any, is a top tethers weight limit.

I would like to first explain in greater detail, the crash dynamics related to the use of top tethers. A tether is part of the primary restraint system for a forward facing child restraint along with the seat belt, OR lower LATCH anchors. Forward facing child restraints MUST pass a no-tether test as part of FMVSS 213, with a higher allowable head excursion. Also, lower LATCH anchors in vehicles have to pass a pull-test WITHOUT the top tether anchor in use.
If a top tether anchor for a child restraint occupied by a heavier child (say 40+ pounds and up) were to pull completely out, which is highley unlikely, it would do so late in the crash sequence. It would have already absorbed its share of energy and prevented excessive forward head excursion.

You might decide that based solely on the criteria you read below, that you should disconnect your tether for seats which hold beyond 40 pounds of child in a harness (for those who may have the Apex, Britax convertibles, the Regent/Husky, Safe Seat etc. etc.). That is your perogative. Understandable, but taking into account everything, may notbe the best decision.

The following manufacturers have specified their top tether weight limits as 40pounds:
Acura, Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep/Eagle, Plymouth, General Motors, Honda, and Volkswagon.
Ford allows 60 pounds.
All other manufacturers that I have not listed have NOT specified a weight limit for the top tether or got back to me before I posted this information.

I hope this helps to clarify some of the "gray" area associated with LATCH and CRS's.


Dallaschildren
CPS Instructor and momma to 2 sons in seats
post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 
To those who PM'd me and in answer to this same question also posed on various threads: The answer to the question of should a car seat be installed using LATCH and the vehicle seat belt? The answer to that is that the car seat is tested in both respects and is designed to be installed either or and tested either OR. Not both. If it could be BOTH, then the manufacturer would say so and they don't, so I wouldn't.

Dallaschildren
CPS Instructor and momma to 2 sons in seats
post #3 of 23
Hmm. What about the britax seats that say they MUST have the top tether above certain weights? Even though they say they must, they were actually tested without?

Not planning on installing without the tether, but wanting to understand all the ins and outs of the issue.

thanks!

-Angela
post #4 of 23
My car does not have the place to attach the Tether but I have a britax wizard and am purchasing a Regent for my older son. What can I do? I called the local Chevy dealer and was told it would cost $200 to have it installed. We can't afford that with what the carseats are already costing us. :
post #5 of 23
DC - I found this googling a few days ago..... it lists the weight limits for many differnet brands:

http://www.saferidenews.com/pdfs/LATCHApp_B_pg105.pdf

Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, and Subaru are all listed at 60lbs (with Ford, Lincoln, Mercury actually listed 60-80lbs) for the top tether.

Suburau also lists 60lbs as their lower anchor limit.
post #6 of 23
I'm a dolt, so could you please define head excursion?
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mahogny View Post
I'm a dolt, so could you please define head excursion?

I'm guessing it means the head going forward in a crash.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by iris0110 View Post
My car does not have the place to attach the Tether but I have a britax wizard and am purchasing a Regent for my older son. What can I do? I called the local Chevy dealer and was told it would cost $200 to have it installed. We can't afford that with what the carseats are already costing us. :
Inform the dealership that it should be installed, and will be billed to Chevy like warranty work (at least that's how it's done here)
Or call chevy customer service, and ask their policy on tether installation. Buick installed 3 tethers actoss the back of my '93 for free. Keep calling until you get an answer.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatchyMama View Post
DC - I found this googling a few days ago..... it lists the weight limits for many differnet brands:

http://www.saferidenews.com/pdfs/LATCHApp_B_pg105.pdf

Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, and Subaru are all listed at 60lbs (with Ford, Lincoln, Mercury actually listed 60-80lbs) for the top tether.

Suburau also lists 60lbs as their lower anchor limit.
I don't really get this list. Is it saying in the second column what the max weight is basically for a carseat? We have a Honda Odyssey. Is this list saying that we can not secure carseats with any anchors past a 40lb. weight of the child? I hope that's not what it's saying.
post #10 of 23
The list says 2 things... in the first column are the weight limits for the using a LATCH only system (they definate it as the lower anchors and the top tether). The second column are the weight limits for if your seat is installed with the seat belt AND the tether (I think they list it as TETHER MAXIMUM because seat belts have a higher weight limit so you are only concerned with the maximum of the tether anchor itself).

For a honda if you are only using LATCH it say 40lbs is the max... then you need to switch to the seatbelt. It also says the tether anchor max is only 40lbs, so technically they want you to switch to the seatbelt only... but if it were me I would still use the tether because I don't see what harm it would do and even if it rips out it still gives extra protection.

AT least that is my take on it, maybe I am wrong and DC can clarify?
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iris0110 View Post
My car does not have the place to attach the Tether but I have a britax wizard and am purchasing a Regent for my older son. What can I do? I called the local Chevy dealer and was told it would cost $200 to have it installed. We can't afford that with what the carseats are already costing us. :
BS. Try a different dealership. $ 200.00 is a rip off. What dealer is trying to charge you that? Please PM me if you prefer. I noticed your location.....may be close to me.

DC
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatchyMama View Post

but if it were me I would still use the tether because I don't see what harm it would do and even if it rips out it still gives extra protection.

AT least that is my take on it, maybe I am wrong and DC can clarify?

Bingo. See my post above. This is my position.

DC
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mahogny View Post
I'm a dolt, so could you please define head excursion?
Nope. You are no dolt. Good question. Head excursion is defined as the distance that the head of a child moves in the direction of impact or on rebound from a crash. Higher head excursions are associated with higher risk of head contact and injury. Check out this this picture for a better idea: http://www.saferidenews.com/graphics/HeadExcursion.jpg

Dallaschildren
CPS Instructor and momma to 2 sons in seats
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatchyMama View Post
The list says 2 things... in the first column are the weight limits for the using a LATCH only system (they definate it as the lower anchors and the top tether). The second column are the weight limits for if your seat is installed with the seat belt AND the tether (I think they list it as TETHER MAXIMUM because seat belts have a higher weight limit so you are only concerned with the maximum of the tether anchor itself).

For a honda if you are only using LATCH it say 40lbs is the max... then you need to switch to the seatbelt. It also says the tether anchor max is only 40lbs, so technically they want you to switch to the seatbelt only... but if it were me I would still use the tether because I don't see what harm it would do and even if it rips out it still gives extra protection.

AT least that is my take on it, maybe I am wrong and DC can clarify?
Okay, that's what we'll do then. It's disappointing though to learn this. We bought that van because it was listed number one everywhere for safety, but then to find a limit as low as 40lbs on the LATCH is just disappointing. I guess maybe I am overreacting though. All the more reason to have a better seat I guess hey?
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tayndrewsmama View Post
Okay, that's what we'll do then. It's disappointing though to learn this. We bought that van because it was listed number one everywhere for safety, but then to find a limit as low as 40lbs on the LATCH is just disappointing. I guess maybe I am overreacting though. All the more reason to have a better seat I guess hey?
Aren't all LATCH belts only ok up to 40 lbs? I thought it was the belt on the latch (which is narrower than a selt belt) that was only ok up to 40, not the car. I know DC told me not to look at Consumer Reports, but they mentioned that some LATCH belts broke in their crash tests.
post #16 of 23
I don't know if that's something that could be universal, since each seat is different. Maybe I am not following you. The Britax Regent says that you MUST use the top tether after the child reaches 40lbs. Which, to me, seems to be saying the opposite of what the vehicle make list is saying.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tayndrewsmama View Post
The Britax Regent says that you MUST use the top tether after the child reaches 40lbs.
You must top tether the Regent/Husky at 50+ pounds. Doublecheck with your own manual to verify.
You must also install the Regent in your car with the vehicle belt when your child hits 48+ pounds. So no lower anchor vehicle install at 48+ pounds. If you DO NOT tether (say when your child is 22 pounds to 49 pounds range), you MUST install the Regent with the black recline bar.

Dallaschildren
CPS Instructor and momma to 2 sons in seats
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor View Post
Aren't all LATCH belts only ok up to 40 lbs? I thought it was the belt on the latch (which is narrower than a selt belt) that was only ok up to 40, not the car. I know DC told me not to look at Consumer Reports, but they mentioned that some LATCH belts broke in their crash tests.

The lower anchor weight limit and the top tether weight limit is different on most vehicles. Both of these parts make up LATCH together. In general, unless specified by your manufacturer, assume your lower anchor weight holds 40 pounds. The top tether weight limit....ummm that is more of a contradiction and can get confusing. Let's just say read here: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=556713


Dallaschildren
CPS Instructor and momma to 2 sons in seats
post #19 of 23
This may be a dumb question, but... we're looking into getting a Britax Blvd to replace our Graco infant seat, & you can just use a regular car lap belt to secure a Britax, right? If your car is too old to have one of those LATCH systems? ('88 Nissan Pathfinder)
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahbazin View Post
This may be a dumb question, but... we're looking into getting a Britax Blvd to replace our Graco infant seat, & you can just use a regular car lap belt to secure a Britax, right? If your car is too old to have one of those LATCH systems? ('88 Nissan Pathfinder)
Yes. It is referred to in this model Britax manual as the lap belt installation. Personally, I think my easiet, quickest installs on Britaxes (and other models for that matter) are with lap belts only. You can look at the user manual online and read the directions before you buy if it makes you feel more comfortable. www.britax.com, go to US (if this is your country), go to products, hit Boulevard, and go to user directions/guide (I can't remember the exact word they use).

Dallaschildren
CPS Instructor and momma to 2 sons in seats
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