The maximum LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) weight limit set by the NHTSA is 65 lb, while the limit for rear-facing seats is 60 lb. This limit includes the child’s weight and the car seat combined. Exceeding the weight limit can compromise the safety and effectiveness of the LATCH system. So, check your car seat and vehicle manuals for specific weight requirements.
As a parent, I know how confusing it can be to learn how to install car seats safely, especially if this is your first time doing it. I use the lower anchors to secure my Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1, which weighs 30Ibs for my 18-month-old, who is 29 lbs. Summing up these weights means it’s only 6 lbs until we can no longer safely use the LATCH system, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) guidelines.
If you’re in a similar situation, you need to keep an eye on the maximum child weight allowed for LATCH installation, so you can know when to start using the seat belt instead. In the rest of this article, you’ll learn the LATCH weight limit of various car seat models, car model recommendations, and how to transition properly from LATCH to seat belts.
The Weight Limit For The LATCH on Car Seat Brands
The LATCH harness system was built to give parents a standard, foolproof method of car seat installation. But when this harness mechanism was introduced in 2002, most car seats only weighed around 10 lbs with a total weight limit of 40 lb on the harness. Today’s car seat brands weigh 25 lbs or more as child passenger safety technology evolves.
I have researched and put together the manufacturer-recommended weight limit for LATCH usage based on top popular car seat models:
|Car Seat Model||LATCH System Weight Limit|
|Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB Convertible Car Seat||45 Ibs||35 lbs|
|Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat||30 Ibs||30 Ibs|
|Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat||65 Ibs||50 lbs|
|Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max Convertible Car Seat||40 lbs||40 lbs|
|Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat||35 lbs||35 lbs|
|Diono Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat||45 Ibs||45 Ibs|
|Evenflo EveryStage DLX All-in-One Car Seat||50 lbs||50 lbs|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat||40 lbs||40 lbs|
|UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat||35 lbs||35 lbs|
|Nuna RAVA Convertible Car Seat||50 lbs||50 lbs|
|Baby Jogger City View Space Saving All-in-One Car Seat||35 lbs||35 lbs|
|Cybex Sirona S Convertible Car Seat||35 lbs||30 lbs|
|Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible Car Seat||65 Ibs||45 Ibs|
|Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat||40 lbs||40 lbs|
|RECARO Performance Sport Combination Harness to Booster Car Seat||65 Ibs||65 Ibs|
|Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Car Seat||35 lbs||35 lbs|
|Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat||40 lbs||30 lbs|
|Maxi-Cosi Magellan 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat||45 Ibs||45 Ibs|
|Diono Rainer 2AXT LATCH, All-in-one convertible car seat||35 lbs||35 lbs|
|Safety 1st Continuum 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat||50 lbs||50 lbs|
P.S: LATCH weight limits are also determined by the vehicle and not only the car seat brand. So consult your vehicle owner’s manual for its specific LATCH weight limits.
When Should You Stop Using The LATCH System?
You should stop using the LATCH system when the sum of your child’s weight and the car seat’s weight is over 65 pounds. Many modern car seats weigh 20 pounds and above. So the ideal time to stop using the LATCH system is when your child reaches 40 pounds.
At that point, you can transition to the seat belt. But before you do that, review the label on the side of the baby seat. You’ll find the maximum child weight allowed for a LATCH installation, which may differ depending on the car seat brand or model.
Is The LATCH System Safer Than Seatbelts?
A car seat installed securely with a seatbelt is as safe as a car seat installed securely with the LATCH system. But the ‘safest’ option will depend on your vehicle, your child, your car seat, and your car seat’s LATCH weight limits.
The security of those anchor points is more reliable when your child is within the recommended weight limit. As the child gets heavier, the installation requires something more substantial: the seat belt.
In terms of ease, both installation methods have their positives and negatives. In some cars, the lower LATCH anchors are easier to access, making it quicker to click and tighten. In some other cars, the anchors are hidden, so getting a proper installation with a seat belt is more accessible.
Is It Okay To Use Both LATCH And A Seat Belt?
Contrary to popular reasoning, using the LATCH and seat belts simultaneously is not the safest option.
In the event of a crash, the car seat is secured to move a particular type of way along with the force to prevent injury. Using both installation methods will interfere with the distribution of crash force, which means that the stress will be placed on the wrong areas of the car seat, preventing it from moving correctly during a crash.
So, sticking with one installation method is better (and safer). Whether you use the lower anchors or seat belts depends on the weight limit of the car seat.
If you want extra safety, you can use the upper tether instead. In my opinion, not many parents pay attention to this installation step for added safety. Using the forward-facing car seat; you can double the seat belt security with the upper tether.
Honda Accord LATCH System Weight Limit
Honda recommends using the lower anchors for a child weighing up to 48 pounds and the seat belt if your child weighs 65 pounds. The lower anchors in a Honda Accord are located in the outboard rear seating positions.
Remember, the weight limit for the LATCH system may vary depending on the specific make and model of the car seat, so it’s always best to consult both the car seat and vehicle manuals.
Ford Explorer LATCH System Weight Limit
The weight limit for the LATCH system in the Ford Explorer is specified in the vehicle owner’s manual. According to the 2022 Ford Explorer owner’s manual, the weight limit for the lower anchors in the LATCH system is 65 pounds (29.5 kg) for both the second and third rows. You can find this information in the “Child Safety” section of the manual.
Toyota RAV4 LATCH System Weight Limit
The Toyota RAV4 LATCH system weight limit varies depending on the model year and location where the vehicle is sold. I recommend you go by NHTSA’s guideline for lower anchors, which is 65 lb, while the limit for rear-facing seats is 60 lb.
You can also review the procedures spelled out on the RAV4 manual on LATCH installation.
Subaru Outback LATCH System Weight Limit
The LATCH system in a Subaru Outback has a weight limit of 65 pounds when used in forward-facing mode and a weight limit of 40 pounds when used in rear-facing mode. These limits are for the combined weight of the child and the car seat and are also based on federal safety standards.
However, the system may vary depending on the model of your Subaru Outback. You can get the exact specifications in the “Child Restraints” section of the vehicle owner’s manual.
The Outback has five LATCH anchors — two sets in the outboard rear seats and a single extra anchor in the middle seat, allowing you to position the seat in the middle using the LATCH anchors. However, the outer rear seats are slightly lower than the middle seats.
Toyota Camry LATCH System Weight Limit
The LATCH system in Toyota Camry has weight limits that vary depending on the specific year and model. However, as a general guideline, the LATCH system in most Toyota Camry vehicles has a weight limit of 65 pounds for each child restraint.
The same rule applies if you use Chrysler Pacifica, Chevrolet Tahoe LATCH, Kia Telluride, and even Honda CR-V.
The bottom line is that the LATCH system doesn’t have to do with the vehicle’s specifications alone. You should pay more attention to the weight limit of the car seat and your child’s weight. You should ensure that the summation of both weights does not exceed 65 pounds (or 60 pounds for rear-facing seats).
Do You Still Use LATCH With A High-back Booster?
No, you cannot use LATCH with a high-back booster seat. LATCH is to be used with a forward-facing or a rear-facing car seat. Once your child has outgrown their forward-facing car seat and moves to a high-back booster seat, you must use the seat belt to secure the booster seat and the child.
However, some high-back booster seats, like the Britax Pinnacle, have lower anchor connectors that stabilize the seat when not in use. According to the online publisher of news and information about human health and well-being, WebMD, while you may have LATCHable booster seats, using them is not recommended to secure the child in the seat.
LATCH Weight Limit Chart
The National Child Passenger Safety Board has issued an all-time guide for child restraint weight limits for both low and tether anchorage based on vehicle types, models, and their varying manufacturing years.
You can access and download the PDF of this chart.
The Bottom Line
You may feel confident in the security of the LATCH’s anchor points, and you may even like how easy it is to click and secure. But as your baby gets heavier, the LATCH installation method becomes less reliable. Once your child is above 40 pounds, it’s no longer safe to use the LATCH. If you exceed the weight limit, the LATCH system may not adequately secure the child restraint, which can increase the risk of injury in the event of an accident.
I understand that navigating the world of car seat safety can be overwhelming. But it’s essential to know the weight limits for the LATCH system and when to switch to seat belts to ensure you install the car seat correctly and securely.