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Author's Note: 5 Benefits of the LATCH System for Car Seats
Most of the sources gave the same information about what LATCH is, why it exists, and "benefits" that might not really be benefits. That was all easy. But the more interesting aspects of LATCH -- the delicate dance that must occur to achieve any kind of results between the government and the auto industry -- were notably absent. On the surface, it's simple: The lawmakers pass laws, and if carmakers want to sell cars, they must fall in line. Aftermarket accessories manufacturers (in this case, the makers of infant car seats) also have no choice if they want to keep selling their products.
What's interesting is that LATCH is another example of a new procedure that's supposed to simplify things, but doesn't always work. Because automakers and car seat manufacturers weren't provided exact specifications, a lot of the law was left open to interpretation, resulting in a lot of variables. It's not that the industry doesn't want to protect children -- it's that everyone thinks they've figured out a better and less expensive way to do it, without dramatically altering existing procedures. And alas, LATCH still requires a lot more explanation than it should. The ubiquitous line "Check your owner's manual" isn't some boilerplate recommended by the manufacturer's legal team. It really might be necessary to do some research to negotiate the hooks and straps that should line up between the car and car seat, but oftentimes don't. Even if LATCH isn't necessarily easier, experts seem to agree that LATCH has improved car seat safety.
- Car-Safety.org. "Car-Safety.org information on LATCH." (March 22, 2012) http://www.car-safety.org/latch.html
- Consumer Reports. "Child seats LATCH for safety." February 2011. (March 22, 2012) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/news/2006/child-seats-latch-for-safety-8-06/overview/0608_child-seats-latch-for-safety_ov.htm
- Doheny, Kathleen. "Making Child Safety Seats and LATCH More User-Friendly." Edmunds.com. Oct. 11, 2011. (March 26, 2012) http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/making-child-safety-seats-and-latch-more-user-friendly.html
- Evenflo. "Symphony65 Car Seat Installation Made Easier." (March 27, 2012) http://www.evenflo.com/sme_symphony.aspx?id=435
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) Restraint System." (March 22, 2012) http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/LATCH