All the vehicle models older than 2002 do not have a latch system installed in them. Then, how to install a car seat without latch system is confusing for the parents having cars that lack anchors or tethers.
From September 2002, it has been made mandatory for vehicle manufacturers to install a latch system in all the coming models for the easiest car seat installation.
However, there are still several cars on the roads in the US that are lacking anchor systems and need to tether a car seat without anchors.
What is a Car Seat Latch System?
Do anchors, tethers, LATCH, and top tether anchors. Making you confused? Do you need to clear first what the LATCH system is?
LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for Children) is a system of connectors or straps in the car seats to connect them to the vehicle’s metal anchors.
The vehicle seat consists of Tether and Lower anchors
The car seat consists of connectors or connecting straps plus hooks
How to Install a Car Seat without a LATCH System?
According to the NHTSA:
“Every 3 out of 4 are baby car seats are installed improperly either with or without LATCH and for most of the parents, installing a car seat without LATCH is rather complicated”
They prefer to learn how to install a car seat without latch system or how to tether car seat without anchor. Keep reading to learn it step by step.
How to install a car seat without latch system for Infants?
Infant and toddler car seats are installed rear-facing as stated in the car seats law. You can position your car seat as described in the article “Does car seat go behind driver or passenger”.
Use either seat belt or lower anchors:
You can have 2 options, either a seat belt or lower anchors but don’t use both. Some parents assume that using both means safer installation, but it’s not true actually.
Adjusting the seat belt into position:
Adjusting the seat belt through the seat belt path in the baby car seat is the first step in how to install a car seat without latch system It will take you 3-4 minutes in doing the following steps:
Step#1: Locate seat belt
It will be on the car seat side. It can have many slots, make sure you have to pull the seat belt all the way out.
Step#2: Tighten the seat belt
Gently tighten the safety belt on the vehicle seat belt path and pull it from the retractor until you hear an audible click that means it has been finished in the retractor (otherwise you will get a snugged harness).
Note: When inserting the steppe, avoid pulling the strap forcefully and exerting too much pressure, for it could damage the straps.
Accurate installation test:
Newborn car seat straps correct position will have the following details followed:
- Pinch the harness at the shoulder straps
- Your fingers will slip off the webbing in case of a snugged harness
- The chest clip should be at the armpit level
Note: Positioning the chest clip at armpit level brings the shoulder straps inwards and ensures a safety harness.
- For infants, the harness straps should be inserted in the slot that is just at or below your baby’s shoulder.
The above-mentioned safety-ensuring measures will help you in learning how to install a car seat without latch system.
Related: Can You Feed a Baby in a Car Seat?
How to install preschooler’s car seat without latch system?
According to the car seat law, a child should not be allowed forward-facing until they have outgrown the weight and height limit for rear-facing car seats.
Rear facing vs forward facing statistics showed that children riding rear-facing remain safe from getting severe head and neck injuries than those riding forward-facing.
Related: car seat weight chart
How to install a car seat without latch system for preschoolers involves the same steps as for infant car seats if it is rear-facing. For forward-facing car seats:
- You must have to use the “top tether”
Note: For forward-facing seats, the top tether is a must as it moves the car seat slightly forward (6-8 inches) and lessens the risk of head injury to the child in case of a car crash.
- Tether position is also important.
Note: it could be on the floor or on the rear shelf (behind the car seat), on the ceiling, on the cargo area in SUVs, or may vary with car models.
- Child’s position in the car seat
Note: for forward-facing car seats, you will use the upper two slots and the shoulder straps will be at or just above the child’s shoulder.
How to install booster car seat without latch system?
For booster car seats with back support:
- Place the car seat on the vehicle seat (preferably in the middle).
- Pull the seat belt all the way out.
- Against the back of the vehicle seat, thread the vehicle belt through the belt path and buckle It’s out the other side.
- Press down the car seat firmly while pulling out the belt to tighten.
- Attach the car seat hook to the vehicle anchor.
- For that, push down the seat firmly and tighten the top anchor strap.
Note: if your car seat doesn’t have an anchor strap, tuck the top anchor strap hook under the car seat to be used as an anchor strap.
For backless booster seats:
- Place the booster seat on the back seat
- Put the seat belt across the child’s hips and low, making sure that it goes perfectly through the belt pathway
The tips on how to install a car seat without latch system will be quite different than the above two car seats. Some of the safety tips for booster car seats (with and without back) are as followed:
- High-back booster car seats are considered safer for kids below 10 years
- Never use the reclining mode for booster car seats when installed without a latch system.
- Center the booster car seat on the vehicle seat and do not leave even an inch gap between a car seat and the back seat
- Buckle up the backless booster car seat when unoccupied, as it may be dangerous during car accidents
“How to install a car seat without latch system” might seems difficult on the first attempt, but if you follow the steps given in our guide, it will get easy for you on the second try.
Some parents do not consider installing car seats without a latch is not safe, and they prefer to use a latch system. It is okay. However, your child’s safety depends upon the way of installation (either with or without a latch), car seat brand, and its condition (it has service life or it has expired).
Related articles: most comfortable car seat for long trips
Do you wanna be stay updated on baby car seats? Keep visiting our website www.topbbayseats.com and share your experiences of parenthood with us!
Frequently Asked Questions
How to install safety first car seat rear facing with latch?
Place the car seat on the vehicle seat and recline it till the red line on the side of the seat comes parallel to the floor.
Route the vehicle belt through the belt path of a car seat, attach hooks to vehicle latch anchors and pull on the free end of the belt to tighten the latch while pushing down the seat with the other hand and that’s all about how to install safety first car seat rear facing with latch.
Related: How to Adjust Graco Car Seat Straps?
Where to use top tether car seats?
We use the top tether for forward-facing car seats a with harness system. It is essential to use it while installing the car seat without a latch system.
Should we install a booster seat with latch or without?
Backless booster seats do not have a latch and we use a vehicle seat belt for this seat. On the other hand, high-back booster car seats can also be installed without a latch system. Read the guidance provided above to know more about it.
Do high back boosters need to be anchored?
There is no one-word answer to do high back boosters need to be anchored. From a safety point of view, anchoring the booster seat is necessary.
It will ensure latching the seat in the right place, however, all car models do not have latch options in them.
Why do we use car seat anchor hooks?
The latch system in vehicles consists of built-in car seat anchor hooks. When you have to install the car seat, you will use latch anchors in place of the seat belt.
What is the purpose of a car seat tether connector strap?
A car seat tether connector strap is necessary for forward-facing car seats. It will be hooked into the tether anchor of the vehicle in which it is to be installed. It also reduces the chances of injury to the child’s head and body in car crashes.