How to Install a Car Seat Using the Tether Strap

LATCH, which stands for “Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren”, is designed to make proper car seat installation easier. Most rear-facing child restraints use the lower anchors only (no tether). Read your child restrain instruction manuals for specifications on installation using LATCH for your specific car restraint. Top tethers anchors are sometimes called top straps in vehicle owner's manuals. and are frequently the last item discussed under the child restraint section.

The purpose ofthe top tether is to hold the back of the child restraint firmly against the vehicle seast to make it more secure and reduce the amount of forward and side movement. It can reduce the distance that the child's head moves forward 4-6 inches and can thus lessen the risk of head injuries in a crash. You should use the top tether whenever possible.

Where is LATCH located?

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 also required to provide three tether anchorages in the rear seat. Possible top tether anchor locations are:

  • Ceiling above the rear seating position
  • Rear window shelf
  • Back of the vehicle seat
  • Floor of cargo area
  • Under the vehicle seat

Still have questions regarding LATCH? Download our LATCH resource for Parents.