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New regulations set for child car seats; set to go in effect in February 2014

A significant change is coming early next year to regulations for child car seats after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration adopted a new rule for weight limits for a common style of car seat installation.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - A significant change is coming early next year to regulations for child car seats after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration adopted a new rule for weight limits for a common style of car seat installation.

The method that parents use to support the car seat - either the latch or seat belt - will determine if their car seat is obsolete.

"People always get upset, they get anxious about car seat changes, I just got mine installed, I just figured out how to do it right, there's so many instructions, it’s so hard to do, very complicated and now they’re going to change it all again,” said Rose Walsh, a Health and Safety Coordinator with Child Care Solutions. “This is actually a change that makes sense."

Walsh says the anchors in vehicles have been crash tested up to 65 pounds, so in the past, any child under that weight could safely be strapped. The new rule says manufacturers must now combine the weight of the seat itself and the child, using that same 65 pound weight limit.

New seats will be sold with stickers on it reflecting the change, but that doesn't help with current car seats.

Walsh recommends looking for a manufacturer phone number on your child car seat so you can call to ask how much it weighs. She says if you can’t find the number on the actual seat, you should look in the instruction manual or try to find it online.

If the combined weight is too heavy for the latch method, Walsh says the seat is still usable, but that the seat belt method should be used to secure it in the vehicle.

Walsh says the seat belt method is equally as effective as the latch method.

The new rules set by the NHTSA are set to go into effect on Feb. 27, 2014.

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