Rant: Seatbelt vs LATCH, Never Both


So, this is a rant. I’m just warning you now. A couple of days ago I saw a great post on facebook, posted by Carseats For the Littles. The post talked about whether using a seatbelt only install on your carseat or using the LATCH system was safer. If you don’t know, LATCH is a nifty little system that hooks the seat to anchors in your car without using the seatbelt. Some cars have these anchors, others don’t. Either way the article explains how both methods are equally safe if used separately. And in came the comments from parents.

“I use both, seems that it would be safer!”

Obviously the comments varied, but that’s the gist. Let me be clear, this is not what I am ranting about. As parents there are four million things that we are supposed to know, it is impossible for us to always know the right thing to do. However, as I read on through the comments (I know, why would I do that, what’s wrong with me) I saw certified carseat technicians reply back with a simple “Actually, that makes it unsafe, it can make the seat too tight or compromise the seat in a crash if both methods are used.” It even says in almost every carseat installation manual not to use both methods of installation at the same time. The only two seats that have been tested and approved to do this are the NUNA Pipa infant seat and the Clek Foonf convertible car seat. If you don’t have one of these two seats, you are putting your child at risk by going against the tests and instructions saying not to do both methods at the same time. So, what does one do in this situation? We say holy crap I can’t believe I missed that, time to adjust! Right?! Apparently not!! As I read on I saw the replies of these mothers who had been doing it both ways.

“My (insert name of carseat that is NOT one of the above two) says to do both ways.”

“I don’t trust one way or the other so I’m still going to do both.”

And my personal favorite, “I just *feel* that it’s safer, I feel more comfortable using both ways.”

WHAT! I just, I can’t. I’m speechless. There are so many areas of parenting that have tons of perfectly fine options to choose from. Limit screen time or let your child play tons of video games. Public school or private school or homeschool. Breastfeeding or formula feeding. This is not one of those areas. There is ONE way to safely install your child’s carseat and some of these parents would rather go against tons of research and actually put their child at risk because they have a feeling or because they have too much pride to admit that they had been doing it wrong from the start. Please, for the love of safety, swallow your pride. I did it! When I brought my child home from the hospital I put both the lap belt and the chest belt of the carseat through the hooks because I thought it was safer. No, that was wrong. I adjusted it and moved on. And THEN when we switched to a convertible carseat I had the seatbelt going through the “forward facing” slot instead of the rear one for a couple of weeks. Again, I admitted my mistake and fixed it. I know it is hard to be judged. I know that there are parents out there that will shake their head and you and say “wow, I can’t believe she screwed that up”. Well screw them. Your child’s safety should be much more important than continuing to do something the wrong way just to prove the point that you are the perfect mom who has never messed up. There are lots of Meany McJudgepants out there, but there are plenty of moms like myself who will not judge you on your mistakes, but will applaud you for growing and fixing them.  If you’d like more information about car seats and installation, I highly recommend you check out Car Seats for the Littles. They have TONS of articles on anything car seat related, have a list of recommended seats for all budgets, and have an awesome area where you can find a certified car seat technician to contact in your area with questions or to even come and help you install your seat.



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