City Premier Travel System by Baby Jogger Review

If you’re looking for a comprehensive stroller system, I have to tell you about the City Premier Travel System by Baby Jogger. We’ve owned this system for twelve months, and we’re still excited about it. It’s that good.

Just so you know, the City Premier Travel System is far more than a stroller. It’s a complete ensemble including car seat, stroller, deluxe pram, and a set of adapters. You can add accessories like a glider board for older children.

What’s a Travel System?

In a nutshell, this system is everything your baby will need for transportation from birth to two years old.

To start, the car seat. The Baby Jogger City Go is a great seat that will serve your little one from birth (we took our youngest from the hospital with when she was born) to well over a year old. It includes a base that stays in the car, along with adapters so it can fit onto the stroller. Being able to stroll your baby from home, place them in the car, and then take them out, all without waking her up is a huge boon.

The bassinet itself is a dream, and our little one spent much of her first few months in it. While traveling it served as her full-time bed, and while at home it was her favorite nap spot.

The stroller itself is also great. You can easily maneuver it with one hand, and even when riding over bumpy gravel driveways, it doesn’t jostle baby around. It’s got a great sunshade canopy. There’s also a huge, ultra-convenient storage basket that’s easily accessible from all sides (we have even used it for our carry-on luggage while traveling).

What I Love Most About the City Premier Travel System

  1. The adjustable handlebar is excellent for switching between my (short) self and my (tall) husband.
  2. The lock is easy to use and well-placed on the side of the stroller, making it one easy click to secure the stroller.
  3. For our family, the reversible riding option for the stroller chair is great. My mother-in-law prefers it one way, I prefer it another, and our little one gets to enjoy both directions. Everyone wins.
  4. The UV Canopy is great for coverage on sunny days.
  5. The magnetic peek-a-boo windows are perfect for me to check on my baby without disturbing her enjoyment.

Pros of City Premier Travel System

  • The large wheels are excellent for maneuvering up and down urban sidewalks and stairs. Although I have an elevator in my apartment building, there are three stairs before I get to the elevator. The smoothness of this stroller allows me to easily navigate these steps—even if the stroller storage area is filled with groceries.
  • The seats are spacious, snug and comfortable. Our little one was really comfortable in each seating option – the bassinet, stroller, and the car seat.
  • Lots of options that will serve you from birth to walking.
  • One hand folding. This is really nice compared to some other strollers in the market.
  • Reversible riding option, again, so handy for my mother-in-law’s preferences when she has our daughter.
  • Road steering/handling is smooth and sure.

Cons of City Premier Travel System

To be fair, there are both pros and cons to this travel system. While we definitely believe the pros outweighed the cons, here are some things that bothered us.

  • Not convenient when attaching the car seat. See below.
  • Canopy doesn’t stay in place. It keeps slowly folding, and we needed to push it back in place every couple of minutes.
  • All the attachments must fit the City Premier brand, and many of them are quite pricey. We bought the complete system, but for families who already have a car seat they like, this could pose a problem.

My biggest frustration with the City Premier stroller set is when I have to switch the bassinet/stroller seat to the car seat, which we do quite often. The car seat is a great fit once it is securely on the stroller, but it takes a few tries to get it on. There are no good indicators of where to fit the car seat onto the adapters, so each time feels like a guessing game.

All in all, the City Premier Travel System offered us exactly what we wanted for our daughter: a quality, convenient, comfortable ride that we could use for the long haul. We hope this review helps you as you’re deciding what to use for your little traveler.

At what age should a child use a booster car seat?

I pulled out of the driveway straight into a roadblock at the intersection in front of the house. State troopers on each direction stopped motorists in every passing vehicle.

Smiling timidly, I handed over my license and registration. The unsmiling officer glanced into the backseat and lowered his eyebrows.

“That child looks too young for that booster seat.”

I twisted around to look. Sure enough, my oblivious three year old swung her legs cheerfully from her big sister’s booster seat. Behind her, my older daughter looked at me with a mixture of innocent confusion and knowing guilt, squished in her little sister’s car seat.

“How old is she?”

“Almost four.”

“So three?”

Gulp. “Yes, sir.”

“Ma’am, three year olds are not old enough for booster seats.”

“Her sister switched seats with her. I didn’t realize…”

He mumbled something and retreated to his squad car. When he returned, he handed me a colored paper. “I’m giving you a ticket for inappropriate child restraint. You will appear at court at the abovementioned day in September. Failure to appear may result in a warrant for your arrest.”

Shaking, I pulled away. I dutifully reported to court on the appointed September day, when I was fined over $200 for my mistake.

Take It from Me: Know the Rules

If you’re a new parent, take my advice: learn exactly what child restraint system is required. It varies from state to state, so in case you’re unsure, here are some guidelines.

  1. In a recent policy statement the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their guidelines and are now advising parents to keep toddlers in rear-facing car seats until the age of two, or until they exceed the height or weight limit of the car seat.
    Your child should stay in a rear-facing car seat for as long as they will fit. Once their knees are pushing against the seat and making them uncomfortable, or if they have exceeded the height or weight limit printed on the back of the car seat, it is time to turn them around.
  2. A child should be in a five-point harness car seat up to the age of four. I got the ticket to prove it—and just weeks before her fourth birthday, too!
  3. The laws say children should remain in a booster seat until they are tall enough for the lap belt to fit snugly over their thighs, not their stomachs. That can be as old as 12.
  4. Children should remain in the backseat until the age of twelve.
  5. Learn more in our complete guide to booster seats.

Even though child safety requirements can seem invasive, they’re there to protect, not to perturb. Remembering that helps me keep it all in perspective – that, and the squad car parked on the side of the road!

Our favorite booster seats:

Tether Straps & Car Seat Anchors

As parents, we always worry about our child’s protection. Thankfully, baby and child safety equipment will generally come with a set of extensive (though sometimes overly complicated) instructions. That is certainly no different when it comes to car seat tethers and car seat anchors. Let’s shine some light on tether straps and car seat anchors; the terminology, the history and understanding the importance of using them as directed.

First, let’s clarify the necessary terms.

Car Seat Tether – Behind all car seats, you will see a long seat belt style strap that has a clip at the bottom to attach to an anchor; this is your car seat tether.

Car Seat Anchor – Anchors are metal attachment points installed in a vehicle to secure your car seat tether strap. Anchors are often hidden behind removable plastic covers or carpet.

LATCH – An acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.

When did the tether strap come into use?

I was surprised to learn that tether straps have attached to baby car seats/forward facing car seats since 1989. Vehicle manufacturers began installing car seat anchors in 2001 and the LATCH system became compulsory in 2003.

In 2003, new legislation mandated that vehicles must provide 2 lower car seat anchors and 3 car seat anchors for forward facing car seats, if there are 3 seating positions available in the car.

Common Anchor Positions

Lower anchor for a car seatLower Anchors


Generally rear facing car seats use only the lower anchor strap feature found between the backrest and seat. Sometimes they are covered with soft cushioning or a plastic cover. Depending on the vehicle, it may come in the form of a long bar or smaller separate metal bars. The hooks from your car seat will either be a rigid latch hook, a flexible latch or a j-hook.

Forward facing car seats can utilize the lower car seat anchor as well with a rigid lower latch in some models.

Tether Strap Anchor Behind and at the Base of the Vehicle SeatTether Strap Anchor Behind and at the Base of the Vehicle Seat

In vehicles such as mini vans, there is an anchor at the very lowest back base of the seat.

Tether Strap Anchor on Window ShelfTether Strap Anchor on Window Shelf


In a sedan, you will find the car seat anchor on the back shelf below the back window. It may be covered with a section of plastic which you can lift to open.

Tether Strap Anchor Attached behind the SeatTether Strap Anchor Attached behind the Seat

In the back of some vehicles the anchor can be found at the back of the seat, around ¾ of the way down the back.

Pick Up Truck Anchors

Depending on the make and model, pickup trucks have varied spots for their tether strap anchors; behind the rear head rests, behind the seat backs or to the sides of the rear seats.

Safety Tips to Ensure You Use Car Seat Straps & Anchors Appropriately

Every vehicle is different; every car seat is different, so please ensure the following when installing:

Read the instructions on your car seat very carefully to ensure you understand the directions fully. If the instructions indicate the use of two anchors, then do it. If a booster recommends using the lower anchor, then use it. Although a lot of car seats may look the same, they are not, and may have small differences with varied safety features. Follow the instructions to the letter when using your car seat latch straps and anchors. It is crucial for optimal safety.

Read through your vehicle’s owner’s manual to ensure you are very familiar with the location of your car seat tether anchors. Don’t assume that something that looks like a car seat tether anchor is in fact one. Make sure it is with your owner’s manual.

Be aware of the state or provincial laws related to weight and height requirements, so you can ensure you are using the appropriate style of seat. (i.e. rear facing car seat, child car seat, booster seat).

Adhere to the expiry dates. Car seats and booster seats do indeed have expiration dates. Most have an expiry of 6-10 years from the date of manufacture. Over time and with different exposures, parts can wear or degrade. A car accident could damage or loosen a car seat anchor or tether, heat may weaken plastic components on your car seat, or perhaps it was stored in a manner that may have damaged the tether strap. Manuals and instructions can get lost over time, safety stickers can peel off and recalls are only in place until the expiry date. This important date should be noted on the back or under your seat. Dispose of the seat upon expiry. It should not remain in circulation.

Remember

Car seat straps and car seat tether anchors (LATCH) are a major part of the safety system of your car seat. Make certain you use them according to the guidelines provided with your seat. Proper installation and care of your car seats and using your car seat tethers and car seat tether anchors appropriately will ensure the safety, security, and comfort of your little ones.

Car Seats We Love

Car Seat Buying Guide

Car Seats Aren’t Just Essential, They’re the Law

From the moment you leave the hospital with your precious new cargo, you’ll want to be prepared to transport your baby safely–no matter where you go. That’s why, before baby arrives, you’ll need to do some homework and carefully choose an appropriate car seat.

It’s not only for baby’s safety and your peace of mind; laws in all 50 states require car seats. But knowing that a car seat is necessary is the easy part. Choosing the right car seat is where it gets tricky. The process is almost like buying a car. There are scads of body types, upholstery styles, safety features, and prices. So fasten your seatbelts, parents. Here’s Car Seats 101.

Before You Buy

Before going into the nitty gritty of types and features, keep in mind these helpful guidelines when selecting a safety seat:

  • Choose a seat that you find easy to use and that fits in your vehicle. Be sure it can be buckled tightly.
  • Look for the seat you can use facing rear as long as possible.
  • Be aware of weight limits.
  • Keep in mind that if you buy an infant-only seat, you will need an infant-toddler (convertible) seat later.

Car Seats — You Won’t Believe the Options

There are as many opinions about the safest, most comfortable, and most convenient car seats as there are car seats. But there is only one absolute to follow in the process. A baby car seat must pass Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Make sure when you’re scouting around that the product you choose has passed muster.

There are three types of car seats available:

Infant Car Seats

Infant car seats are designed specifically for infants up to 22 pounds or 26 inches long. Although there are many brands and features to choose from, all infant car seats have one thing in common: they are designed to support a developing infant’s back, neck, and head. Infant car seats should be installed rear-facing (facing the back window of your vehicle) in the center of your back seat. For added convenience and comfort for baby, many models are available with a stay-in-car base that not only allows you quick installation, but easy and gentle removal from the car without waking your sleeping baby (a feature parents love).

Infant car seats offer two restraint systems:

  • Three-Point Harness – A three-point harness secures your child at the shoulders and between the legs.
  • Five-Point Harness – A five-point harness secures your child at the shoulders, hips, and between the legs.

Our favorite car seats for infants:

Convertible (Infant-Toddler) Seats

Designed for newborns up to approximately 20 pounds, then converts to a car seat for infants 20 to 40 pounds. Convertible car seats are so named because they can be converted from a rear-facing infant seat to a forward-facing seat. This means that from birth to around the time she reaches her first birthday, your baby can keep the same car seat. An added bonus is that she gets to face the front of the car like everyone else.

Convertible car seats offer three restraint systems:

  • Five-Point Harness – Consists of five straps–two at the shoulders, two at the hips, and one at the crotch. This allows parents to adjust the harness closer to baby’s body and is easy to buckle and unbuckle. This is the best choice if you’re using the seat for a small baby and provides the best protection against head injury.
  • Three-Point Harness with T-Shield – This model uses a soft, T-shaped center section to draw the shoulder straps over your child. The “T” then buckles into the seat shell at the crotch. It’s simple to use and easy to position. It is not appropriate for an infant whose head does not clear the T-shield. The shield harness should be no more than chest high when fastened.
  • Three-Point Harness with Overhead Shield – This padded T-shaped or triangular shield swings down over baby’s head, drawing the straps over the shoulders. A third strap buckles the shield to the seat at the crotch. Some are adjustable and can be tightened to accommodate smaller children or loosened for bulky clothing. This restraint system fits properly when the shield is at the child’s chest level.

We loved these convertible seats:

Booster Seats

When your child has outgrown the convertible seat, but is too small to use your car’s safety belt system alone, it’s time to move to a booster seat. Designed specifically to help standard vehicle seat belts fit children better, these specialized seats are appropriate for children who are 4 to 8 years old, weigh between 40 and 80 pounds, and who are less than 4-feet-9-inches tall. By reducing the potential for belt-induced injury which can occur when a lap or lap/shoulder belt is a small child’s only restraint, booster seats play a very important role in protecting children as they transition from a child safety seat to an adult-sized lap and shoulder belt.

There are two types of booster seats:

  • Belt-Positioning Booster – Designed for children who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds, belt-positioning boosters are available in high-backed and backless models. The child sits in the booster seat and uses the vehicle lap and shoulder belts for restraint. Lap and shoulder belts together offer better protection than lap belts only.
  • High-Backed Booster with 5-Point Harness – This type of booster seat can be used as a forward-facing child safety seat for a child who weighs between 20 and 40 pounds, or more. The booster seat is attached to vehicle with either the LATCH system’s lower anchorages or the vehicle’s belt system and tether (if the seat has one), while a 5-point harness provides full body protection. When a child reaches 40 pounds, the 5-point harness is removed and the seat converts to a belt-positioning booster seat. In this configuration the child uses the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts for restraint, and a tether will not be used.

Our favorite booster seats include:

What About Preemies?

These extra-small bundles of joy need extra attention while on the road. Here are some helpful suggestions when considering a seat for your preemie.

  • Use a seat with the shortest distances from seat to harness strap slots, and from back to crotch strap.
  • Supplement baby’s comfort and safety by rolling blankets or towels and placing them on either side of baby to keep his head from slumping.
  • Never place any extra cushioning under or behind the baby.

Safety Tips

To be sure you’re making the most of your seat’s innovative safety features, be sure to follow these guidelines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Use the lowest harness slots for a newborn infant. Keep the straps in the slots at or below your baby’s shoulders for the rear-facing position.
  • It’s important for an infant to ride sitting semireclined, about halfway back or 45 degrees from horizontal.
  • Make sure harness straps fit properly over the shoulders and between the legs of your infant.
  • To fill empty spaces and give support, roll up a couple of small blankets and tuck them in on each side of your baby’s shoulders and head.
  • Never use any car seat or booster car seat in a seat with an air bag.
  • Be sure that the car seat you purchase is appropriate for your child’s height and weight.
  • Send in the manufacturer’s registration card. If by any chance your car seat is recalled, you will be notified by the manufacturer.
  • The base of your car seat should rest firmly on the seat, and the vehicle’s belt must be able to secure it tightly. If it moves an inch in any direction, it’s too loose.
  • If your car has lap and shoulder belts with a free-sliding latch, you must use the locking clip included with most car seats. (Locking clips are also sold separately.) Follow manufacturer’s instructions for installation. If you have any questions, contact the manufacturer. Also, many local police stations, fire stations, and hospitals can offer you assistance.
  • To make sure you have installed your car seat correctly, attend a car seat safety check and read our installation tips from the NHTSA. Many local fire departments, police stations, healthcare facilities, and even some local baby stores like Babies “R” Us will periodically hold these meetings and will examine your car seat installation at no charge.
  • Avoid used car seats. Normal wear and involvement in accidents may limit their effectiveness. Also, they may not conform to present safety standards.

General Shopping Guidelines

  • Be sure it’s a car seat – Sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to confuse some of the newer, top-of-the-line carriers with car seats. Make sure the product description specifies “car seat.”
  • Look for car seats featuring easy-release latches and buckles – When your hands are full, an easy release can save aggravation.
  • Make sure there’s wiggle room – You want your baby to be comfortable year-round, so allow room in the seat for bundling up during cold weather. Make sure the product description indicates the seat accommodates larger youngsters than yours.

Travel Systems

A Convenient Package

One of the most convenient innovations in the stroller industry in recent years has been the travel system–a convenient stroller and infant car seat in one. The infant car seat provides head, back, and neck support for your newborn, while keeping baby in a comfortable, reclined position, just like a carriage. With the stay-in-car base feature, the infant car seat can also be used as an infant carrier. This allows you to take the infant car seat from the car to stroller and vice versa without ever disturbing your baby. Many travel system manufacturers have designed these strollers so that the car seat inserts with baby facing you. However, there are styles that allow you to insert the car seat so that baby can either face toward you or away from you. Either style will offer your baby a comfortable and secure ride. Once baby outgrows the infant car seat, it can be removed, converting the system into a convenience stroller. The stroller’s own seating and restraint system is used until your child is approximately 4 years old. These strollers are designed to fold quickly, easily, and compactly for storage, and offer many features that will make it a comfortable ride… for both of you.

Stroller features may include: Child play tray; parent cup holder; 3-point or 5-point harness system (not overhead); removable, washable pad; all-terrain, swivel wheels; brakes that set with a lever or foot pedal; seat recline; and storage basket.

Infant car seat features may include: Canopy, level indicator, ergonomically designed handle, head cushion, stay-in-car base.

Age range: Newborn (for car seat) to toddler (stroller).

Check out the Britax B-Agile Travel System or the Baby Trend Expedition – two travel systems that have been getting consistently great reviews from parents.

Strollers We Love

School Bus Safety Guide

A few facts:

  • School buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury – Today’s school buses are built with safety in mind. They are tougher, cleaner and more diligently maintained than ever before. School bus drivers are required to receive special security and medical training, and undergo regular drug and alcohol testing to provide a safe ride for your child. And school bus traffic laws are strictly enforced.
  • School buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school – Students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends. But did you also know that your child is much safer riding the bus than being driven by you? Add in the environmental and financial benefits, and it’s hard to find a reason to send your kids to school any other way.
  • School buses keep an annual estimated 17.3 million cars off roads surrounding schools each morning – Imagine a world with less traffic, cleaner air, and more affordable transportation. These are just some of the benefits that school bus ridership provides. While school buses are one of the safest ways to send your kids to school, there are many good reasons that make them a growing choice among parents for their children’s school commute.

Safety First

While riding the bus is much safer for your child than riding the car to school, there are still a few risks worth taking into account. In fact, in 2009 alone, over 20,000 people were injured nationwide in accidents involving busses.

In fact, the greatest risk of all, is not riding the bus, but getting on or off the bus. Children need to be especially careful around the bus’ danger zone – the 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of the school bus.

Here’s what you should teach your child about school bus safety:

  • Always walk to the bus stop. Never run.
  • Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left facing traffic.
  • While at the bus stop, wait in a safe place away from the road. Do not run and play while waiting.
  • Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger. Always go straight home and tell you parents if a stranger tries to talk to you or pick you up.
  • Wait until the driver says it is safe to board the bus, then get on one at a time.
  • Once on the school bus, go directly to your seat and sit down facing forward. Remain in your seat facing forward as long as the school bus is moving.
  • If you drop something while getting on or off the school bus, ask the driver for help.
  • If you need to talk to the bus driver: wait for the bus to stop, raise your hand, and call the driver’s name.
  • Keep all your loose items inside your backpack or book bag.
  • Be respectful of the school bus driver, and always obey his or her instructions.
  • Never throw things on the bus or out the windows. Never play with the emergency exits.
  • Once you’re off the school bus, walk five giant steps from the front of the bus, cross in front of the bus when the driver indicates it is safe, stop at the edge of the bus – look left-right-left again for traffic, and if there’s no traffic, cross the street.

There are also a few rules to be aware of as a parent:

  • Have your child wear bright, contrasting colors so they will be more easily seen by drivers.
  • Make sure they leave home on time so they can walk to the bus stop and arrive before the bus is due. Running can be dangerous.
  • Walk your young child to the bus stop and have older children walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.
  • Make sure your child stands at least 10 feet (5 giant steps) from the road while waiting for the bus. The child will then be out of the way of traffic. Have younger children practice taking 5 giant steps to become familiar with 10 feet.
  • Teach your children to secure loose drawstrings and other objects that may get caught in the handrail or door of the bus as they are exiting.
  • Give your child a note or follow the school’s procedures if you would like for the child to get off at a stop other than the one they are assigned. The driver isn’t allowed to let a child off at another stop without written permission.
  • If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can be so excited at seeing you after school that they dash across the street and forget the safety rules.

New Car Seat Safety Features

What You Should Know About New Car Seat Safety Features

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 80 percent of child car seats are installed incorrectly. The NHTSA believes that the full effectiveness of child restraint systems is not being realized due to different car seat designs and features that affect the compatibility of child restraints with vehicle seating and seat belt systems. In order to simplify the installation process, an innovative anchorage and tether system known as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, or LATCH, has been developed. Beginning September 1, 2002, all new car seats and vehicles will be equipped with this new system, and that means big changes for both car seat and automobile manufacturers. This article will help you get up to speed on this important new development in car seat safety.

See our complete guide for choosing a Baby Car Seat.

What is LATCH?

LATCH is a new standardized child restraint system designed to simplify child safety seat installation and enhance child safety. The result of a new government regulation (FMVSS 225) aimed at reducing the number of car seats that are installed improperly, the goal of the new LATCH system is simple: To increase the effectiveness of car seats by requiring an easy-to-use anchorage system independent of the vehicle seat belts. The LATCH system calls for vehicles to be equipped with one upper (tether) and two lower anchorage points. The upper (tether) anchorage will be a ringlike object permanently attached to the vehicle on either the rear filler panel or on the cargo floor, depending on the vehicle. The two lower anchorages will be a set of two small bars in the rear seat of the vehicle, generally located where the seat cushion meets the seat back. Outfitted with permanently affixed hooks or buckles that are compatible with the anchorages in the vehicle, LATCH-equipped car seats will now attach to the vehicle seat via these anchorages instead of being held by the vehicle’s seat belts. By September 1, 2002, the LATCH system will be required in two rear-seating positions in all new cars, minivans, and light trucks.

Top Tether Straps

As of September 1, 1999, government regulations have required automobile manufacturers to install built-in top tether anchorages in new passenger vehicles. Almost all convertible car seats and high-backed booster car seats manufactured after this date have top tether straps to attach to the vehicle anchor. The purpose of the top tether strap is to better stabilize the car seat and reduce the potential for the head to move forward, thus lessening the likelihood of injury in a collision. The tether strap is attached to the upper back of the child’s car seat and hooks into an anchor located in the rear shelf area of most passenger vehicles. (The mounting location for certain vehicles, like station wagons and minivans, might be in another position.) The top tether straps are only to be used when car seats are in the forward-facing position. Most car seats manufactured before September 1999 can be retrofitted with a tether strap available through the car seat manufacturer and most cars can be retrofitted at the car dealership. Parents and consumers should be aware that a tether strap alone does not constitute the LATCH system.

Lower Anchorage System

Beginning September 1, 2002, all new cars manufactured will be equipped with two sets of small bars (lower anchors) in the rear seat of the vehicle, generally located where the seat cushion meets the seat back. All car seats manufactured will have permanently affixed hooks or buckles designed to attach to these lower vehicle anchorages. Together, the two lower anchorage points and top tether anchorage make up the LATCH system. The new lower anchorage system can be used by itself for all infant and convertible cars seats in the rear-facing position and with the top tether strap for all forward-facing convertible and high-backed booster car seats. Car seats manufactured before September 1, 2002, can be retrofitted with lower anchor attachments with a LATCH kit sold separately. Most older cars cannot be retrofitted with lower anchors.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which vehicles have the LATCH system? – All vehicles, including cars, minivans, and light trucks, manufactured after September 1, 2002, will be equipped with the LATCH system in two rear-seating positions. Some vehicles manufactured after September 1999 are also equipped with the LATCH system, so you should ask your car dealer which models are equipped with the LATCH system when you are buying a used car manufactured after September 1999. You can also check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine if your older vehicle has predrilled points where tether anchorages can be installed.
  • Will the new LATCH-equipped child seats fit my older vehicle? – Yes. New child safety seats that are equipped with the LATCH system can be used in older vehicles. They will have to be installed using your vehicle’s safety belt system without the top tether attachment. (You may be able to install a tether anchor mounting in your older vehicle–contact your vehicle manufacturer for a tether anchor kit). These new seats must continue to meet the current requirements of the standard for head protection when tested without the tether attached.
  • Is my current car seat safe? – Yes. Child safety seats on the market today that were manufactured before September 2002 and are not equipped with the LATCH system are safe when used properly and free of recalls. Continue to use your current child seat with the vehicle’s belt system, making sure you have read the owner’s manuals for both the child seat and the vehicle about proper use and installation in your vehicle. If you are in doubt about installation, look for a car seat safety check, or call your local fire department, hospital, police station, or state highway safety office for assistance. Remember–always put children 12 and under in the back seat.
  • Can my current car seat be fitted with a top tether attachment? – Possibly. Depending upon when your car seat was manufactured, there are tether kits that you can find in our store or order from your car seat manufacturer.
  • Can my older car be fitted with the mounting needed for a top tether attachment? – Probably. Most vehicles can be fitted with the necessary hardware. If you require further information, contact your automobile manufacturer.
  • Which child safety seats have a tether? – Most forward-facing child safety seats manufactured as of September 1, 1999 will have a tether strap attached to the child safety seat. The stricter head protection requirement does not apply to rear-facing and belt-positioning booster seats; therefore, they typically won’t incorporate a tether. If your child safety seat was manufactured before September 1, 1999, check your manufacturer’s instructions or contact the child restraint manufacturer to determine if a tether can be added to your child safety seat.
  • What about side air bags? – Side-impact air bags, which are not required by law, provide additional chest protection to adults in many side crashes; some also provide head protection. Consumers should be aware that children who are seated in close proximity to a side air bag may be at risk of serious or fatal injury if the air bag deploys, especially if the child’s head, neck, or chest is close to the air bag at the time of deployment. Since children 12 and under should ride in the back seat, you should not purchase a vehicle with an activated rear side air bag unless the manufacturer has determined that those side air bags pose no significant risk to children. Because there are variations in the design and performance of side air bags, check with the dealer or read the owner’s manual for information and warnings about child passengers and side-impact air bags.
  • What car seat can I purchase if I drive a new car manufactured after September 1, 2002? – A LATCH-equipped car seat with a permanent top tether and lower anchor attachments, or a LATCH-compatible car seat that comes with a permanent top tether strap but requires the purchase of a LATCH kit sold separately. The kit will retrofit the seat with the lower anchor attachments.
  • What car seat can I purchase if I drive a car manufactured after September 2000 and before September 1, 2002? – A LATCH-equipped or compatible car seat for use with your vehicle seat belt system, or a non-LATCH car seat for use with your vehicle seat belt system.
  • What car seat can I purchase if I drive an older car manufactured before September 1, 2002? – A LATCH-equipped or compatible car seat for use with your vehicle seat belt system, or a non-LATCH car seat for use with your vehicle seat belt system.
  • In vehicles that do not have LATCH anchorages, the vehicle seat belt system can still be used to install any car seat, including the new LATCH-equipped seats.

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