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Installing a child safety seat can be difficult. In fact, it is estimated that 3 out of 4 car seats are not installed correctly. The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system was developed to make it easier to correctly install child safety seats without using seat belts. LATCH can be found in vehicles as well as infant, convertible and forward-facing child safety seats, made after Sept. 1, 2002.
Watch the following video to learn about LATCH and how it makes installing a child safety seat easier.
View this video with a transcript
The LATCH system consists of built-in straps and hooks on the safety seat and anchor hardware in the vehicle. When using LATCH, the LATCH anchors and attachments take the place of seat belts. Tuck the seat belts out of the way to avoid interfering with the lower anchoring system.
In most cases, LATCH is not needed or used for booster seats. Check both your vehicle and booster seat manuals.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that using LATCH correctly will cut the number of improperly installed child safety seats in half.
If your child safety seat has built-in straps for LATCH but your vehicle is not equipped with LATCH, you can install your child safety seat correctly with the seat belt (you will not be using the LATCH straps on the car seat). Check both your vehicle and child safety seat manuals.
Visit Car Seat Safety by age for information and videos on how to install your child safety seat in vehicles not equipped with LATCH.
For help with LATCH or seat belt installation, find a local car safety seat checkpoint for free inspections held in most areas.
For more information about LATCH, please visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.