Getting to Know LATCH
Canada: Universal Anchorage
What is LATCH?
LATCH, which stands for “Lower
Anchors and Tethers for CHildren”, is designed to make proper car seat
installation easier. The LATCH system has two
permanent anchors at the base of vehicle’s rear seats and a top anchor behind
each seating position in all vehicles.
These anchors are specifically designed for car seat tethers and hooks.
How Does LATCH Work?
- Beginning September 1, 2002, all automobile
manufactures will be required to install two sets of small bars in the rear
seat of all vehicles, generally located where the vehicle seat cushion meets
the seat back. All car seats will be required to have a permanently attached
hardware designed to attach to these vehicle anchorages.
- Most cars made after September 1, 1999 - and
cars made after September 2000 - are also equipped with top tether anchorages.
Most car seats manufactured after these dates have top tether straps that
attach to one of the vehicle's built-in tether anchorages.
- Together, the lower anchorages and the top
tether anchorage make up the LATCH system.
Where is LATCH located?
On your car seat: infant and
convertible car seats have LATCH tether straps with locking clips that are
compatible with all vehicles. In
addition, all front-facing seats that have an internal harness have a top
In your car: consult your
vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the location of the lower anchors and
tethers in your car. Car manufacturers are required to provide at least two
lower anchor seating positions in the rear seat, generally the two outer
seating positions. Car manufacturers are also required to provide three tether
anchorages in the rear seat.
How Do You Install a LATCH Car
- Always read the car seat's instructions and
vehicle's owner's manual for proper use and correct installation information.
- If necessary, adjust the car seat LATCH
attachments according to the manufacturer's instructions. Locate the vehicle's
lower anchorages and connect the car seat's lower LATCH attachments to the
bars. Tighten according to manufacture's instructions, and check for a secure
- Hook the car seat's top tether strap to the
vehicle's tether anchorage and pull to tighten.
- Car seats should not move more than an inch
forward or sideways. What if My Car Seat Does Not Have Lower LATCH Attachments?
- Car seats made prior to September 1, 2002
that are used and installed according to the manufacturer instructions and have
not been involved in a crash are safe to use. These car seats can continue to
be installed using the vehicle's seat belt system, even in LATCH-equipped
vehicles. This method of installation is as secure, providing your car seat is
- Some car seat manufactures offer LATCH
hardware kits separately to retrofit some car seat models made after September
1, 1999. Contact the car seat manufacturer to determine if a LATCH kit is
available to use with your car seat. What if My Vehicle Does Not Have LATCH
- The new, LATCH-equipped car seats can be
installed using the vehicle's seat belt system. If possible, store the lower
LATCH attachments on the car seat and connect the car seat tether to the
vehicle's tether anchorage.
- If your vehicle does not have tether
anchorages, you may be able to have one retrofitted. Check with your vehicle
manufacture or local dealership.
- Remember, all children are safest when
properly restrained in the back seat.
To have your car seat
inspected by a certified technician, call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK or visit
For more information on LATCH
and car seat safety, please visit NHTSA (National Highway Traffic & Safety