Lower Anchor Weight Limits and Seatbelt Use

LATCH – Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, was developed back in the late 1990’s with the goal of making it easier to install car seats. As of September 1st, 2002, all new vehicles were required to come with lower anchors from the factory, with only a few exceptions. Lower anchor weight limits have always varied from vehicle to vehicle, but in recent years there has been an increasing number of child restraints that are certified to higher weight limits. This has resulted in confusion over the appropriate maximum weight limit for lower anchor installation of child seats.

The NHTSA final rule is an attempt to simplify the confusion for caregivers by requiring car seat manufacturers to inform consumers of the weight that they should switch from the lower anchor installation to seat belt installation. It applies ONLY to child seats manufactured after February 27, 2014.

Listed below are the acceptable installation modes under the new NHTSA ruling for any Clek Foonf convertible seat manufactured after February 27, 2014 and sold in the United States:

Rear-Facing

  • LATCH installation for children weighing 14 – 25 lb
  • Vehicle belt installation for children weighing 14 – 50 lb

Forward-Facing

  • LATCH and Vehicle Belt installation (used in combination) for children weighing 20 – 65 lb
  • LATCH installation for children weighing 20 – 35 lb
  • Vehicle belt installation for children weighing 20 – 65 lb

Clek’s Foonf has a rigid LATCH design with a separate belt path for forward-facing seatbelt installation. This design means that one method of installation does not interfere with the other. As a result, Clek allows the use of both LATCH and the vehicle seat belt with forward-facing installations. Using both LATCH and the vehicle seat belt will allow consumers to continue to benefit from the enhanced side-impact performance of the rigid LATCH system, as well as the increased forward-facing safety performance of our REACT crumple technology, until the child weighs 65 lb, or outgrows the seat in height.

Important things for parents to know about the new ruling:

  • The purpose of the new ruling is to provide caregivers with a consistent weight to switch from the lower anchor installation to seat belt installation.
  • It does NOT apply to booster seats, when used without a harness.
  • It does NOT apply to top tether anchorage limits.
  • It applies only to seats manufactured after February 27, 2014. There is no impact to seats manufactured on or before February 27, 2014.
  • It applies to American consumers only. Child seats sold in Canada are unaffected.