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IMPORTANT - You can NOT install a car seat using latch and the seatbelt.

Posted by on Feb. 20, 2010 at 4:57 PM
  • 25 Replies

This keeps coming up so I want to clarify.

YOU CAN NOT USE THE LOWER ANCHORS and the Seatbelt together.

This applys to ALL carseat - both rearfacing and forward facing.LATCH diagram


 You should always use the top tether when forward facing if your vehicle has a tether anchor.  Even if your seat is installed with a seatbelt.






HERE is a crash test video of what can happen if you install your car seat using both.  This is a frontal impact at 35mph

Just to explain what happened in this video.

In a normal accident the seatbelt or latch belt is desinged to stretch and allow the car seat to move forward. 

Because both installtion methods were used the seat wasn't allowed to move forward like it is supposed to.

However the child still does - the results are the harness ripping through the car seat.


Question: Can I Use LATCH and a Seat Belt to Install a Car Seat?
Answer: Lots of parents want an extra measure of security when it comes to their baby's protection on the road. This leads many parents to install car seats with both a vehicle seat belt and the LATCH system. Using two installation methods is not as safe as it sounds, though.

You should choose the installation method that allows you to get the best fit in your vehicle. The car seat is installed correctly when you can't move it more than an inch in any direction when you grab the car seat at the belt path, and when the car seat is at the proper angle, such as when rear-facing.

Car seats are designed to handle crash forces in specific ways. While we know, thanks to federally mandated crash testing, that baby's car seat will withstand crash forces when installed with the seat belt, or with the LATCH system, we do not know if the same car seat will withstand crash forces when both systems are used at the same time. Putting two installation belts through the same belt path could put stress on the car seat shell from two different angles during a crash, causing breakage. Using two installation belts could also concentrate more crash force on a small area of the car seat.

The rule of thumb to follow with installation is to never use your baby's car seat in a way that was not intended by the manufacturer. When you install the car seat using methods not outlined in the instruction manual, you are, in essence, using your child as the crash test dummy. We cannot be sure of what will happen when car seats are used in ways that have not been crash tested and approved. Read your car seat instructions and your vehicle owner's manual to find out how your car seat can be installed. If you cannot get the car seat installed tightly using either the vehicle seat belt or the LATCH system, find a certified child passenger safety technician or a car seat inspection station by visiting Safe Kids USA.

I'm Jessi, 28 year old SAHM to one crazy three year old Austin, currently harnessed in a Britax Frontier.  I'm a Child Passanger Safety Technician (CPST).  We only get one chance in a motor vehicle accidents, the decisions you make can save your childs life.  To find out more follow me here.


by on Feb. 20, 2010 at 4:57 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Feb. 20, 2010 at 6:05 PM


by on Feb. 20, 2010 at 6:10 PM

Thanks so much for this!!! My dd recently moved up to a "big girl seat" and I was actually considering using both the LATCH and seatbelt because I thought it would give her extra I know better!

by Platinum Member on Feb. 20, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Thanks for posting!

I am a Canadian,breastfeeding (it IS best, there is nothing even close to that nutrition and bond), co sleeping, extended rear facing (if you don't rear face to the maximum of your seat, you're NOT doing all you can to protect your child), baby wearing, Non spanking (I want my kids to respect me, not fear me) ANTI- CIO, homemade baby food making, cloth diapering, organic (chemical free household!) recycling mama to TWO and one on the way! My husband is my equal and best friend, not my master and I believe basic health care should be a human RIGHT, not a privilege.

by on Feb. 20, 2010 at 6:17 PM

bump! thanks for the info!

by Amber on Feb. 20, 2010 at 7:09 PM

BUMP! SOOO common, but SO dangerous.

by on Feb. 20, 2010 at 7:12 PM

thanks for posting!

by on Feb. 20, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Thanks for posting this. My husband installed my son's seat w/ the latch and seatbelt! Next time we go out I am going to undo the seatbelt.

by on Feb. 20, 2010 at 7:54 PM

bump, this is important information for everyone to have

by Amber on Feb. 21, 2010 at 4:26 PM


by on Feb. 21, 2010 at 8:12 PM

 Thanks for the info. I actually have both being used right now.. but now Im worried.. because I cant get the latch system to let go on the carseat. Its stuck! And I CANNOT rely on the just the latch... its not near tight enough. The seatbelt works perfect... but again, I cant get the latch to let go. Anyone have any info on how the heck to get those things to let go???

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