The Practicing Parent: New rule for safety seats

There is a new guideline for car seats this new year. It affects the lower anchors of the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), the system many Practicing Parents use to install safety seats.

TxDOT's Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Tracy Tellman said it's simple to understand.

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is requiring car seat manufacturers to provide us with the weight of the car seat with no child in it. That's so we can determine if we can use that car seat with the lower anchors and your child," Tellman said.

When empty, a child seat typically weighs 15 to 30 pounds and those lower anchors can only handle 65 pounds. So, Tellman advises Practicing Parents to weigh their child, weigh the seat, then add them together.

If the child plus the safety seat weigh less than 65 pounds, use the lower anchors.

If the child plus the safety seat weigh more than 65 pounds, use the seat belt restraint.

If the combined weight is more than 65lbs, "Use the seatbelt. You install and you still go ahead and use the tether attachment, you just would not use the lower anchors," Tellman said.

She adds, also getting the car seat inspected ensures children are buckled up safely. Tellman checks car safety seats for free at the Texas Department of Transportation. She asks that you call her to make an appointment (806) 356-3295.