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New car seat guidelines and how they affect you
New car seat guidelines, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard requirements, went into effect in February. They are aimed at manufacturers.
Julie Prom, child safety advocate and certified child passenger safety technician instructor from Chicco USA explains the new guidelines:
"The requirements are simply clarifying LATCH lower anchor limits and harness weight limits," said Prom. "For many years, there have been various weight limits for LATCH lower anchors buried in vehicle owner’s manuals and car seat manuals. The new requirement states that all car seat manufacturers must put this weight limit on the car seat label and in the instruction manual. This will make it easier for parents and caregivers to know when it is time to use the seat belt instead of the lower anchors to install the car seat."
So, how do you know if your car seat is safe? "Car seats made before February 27, 2014 will still be safe to use," she said. "However, parents and caregivers should check the vehicle owner's manual and car seat manual or contact the manufacturer for specific instructions on LATCH installations."
The change that you will notice, however, is that a maximum weight limit of 65 pounds will be displayed on most convertible car seats (seats that can be used rear-facing and forward-facing), said Prom. The new requirements will not have an effect on rear-facing only or infant-only car seats.
Before you buy a convertible car seat, Prom suggests comparing the ease of use features and then trying to install the car seat in your vehicle before you buy. "You may find several car seats that fit your vehicle, but only a few that are easy for you to install properly."