New year brings new car seat safety regulations - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

New year brings new car seat safety regulations

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - In February, an amendment to a 2001 law will change how you install your child’s car seat based not only on their weight, but the weight of the car seat.

“Every year, the last thing they had for kids isn’t safe anymore, so this is the new thing,” Zach Nichols, a father of two, said, “well, maybe there’s some legitimate stuff to it, so I’m definitely going to look into it.”

That new regulations have to do with the car seat latch system. Nichols has his son hooked in to his car seat with latches, but according to this new law, that must soon change. His oldest son weighs 35 pounds and his car seat weighs about five pounds. Under the new law, the combined weight of the child and the car seat must be less than 65 pounds to use the latches. So, when his son grows to 60 pounds, he will be required to use the seat belt restraint instead.

Those latches were built into all car models after 2002. They usually protrude from the bottom rear of a seat and are specifically designed for car seats.

New mom Bethanie Taylor said her daughter’s car seat weighs at least 20 pounds.

“It’s hard, it’s frustrating, I guess, to, you know, feel like you’re doing something right and then you feel like you’re not because they tell you something different,” she said.

To make things easier, new seats will be labeled with the weight of the car seat. Many on store shelves won’t have that label yet, however. What you can do is weigh your child then weigh the car seat. Add those numbers together and if the total is more than 65 pounds, start using the seat belt restraint instead of the latch system.

“If safest for her is putting the straps on or not putting the straps on, I mean, we’ll do obviously what’s safest for her,” Taylor said.

The change comes after car manufacturers say they can’t guarantee the strength of the anchors used in latching with additional weight.

“Whoever invented them didn’t put them in, that’s the best I can say,” Nichols said, “It can be a booger trying to get them in there.”

Despite the stress, both parents say they’ll be latching on to the new law.

Once that new law is implemented, the fine for misuse of car seats would be between $25 and $250.

There are car seat inspection stations around East Texas. To find the closest one to you, just click here.

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