Edited: Originally published 2/10/2011
NOTE: please do not buckle your child in this way. This is a three-point harness that is missing a chest clip and isn’t tightened at all. It is extremely dangerous to travel with a child unsecured in a car seat. You should use a seat with a 5-point harness that is tightened so that you cannot pinch the strap at the collarbone. The chest clip should always be at armpit level.
Did you know that in most cars, it is not safe to use LATCH anchors in the rear center seat?
I was surprised when I learned this as well!
Contrary to popular belief, most cars are not equipped with dedicated LATCH anchors for the rear center seat. Many people simply use the closest anchors.
These anchors are intended for outboard seats and are not safe to use for center seat installations. For anchors to work correctly, they need to be a set distance apart. Many in center seats simply are too close together. Use a lap belt to install center seats. Double check your owners manual for more information.
Your car owners manual will have more information regarding if your particular vehicle is equipped with center LATCH anchors.
On a side note, it is never safe to use LATCH anchors for more than one seat – for example, to install an outboard and center seat, one anchor would need to be shared. LATCH anchors have weight limits. Check your owners manual for details on your specific weight limit. Many vehicles require lap belt installations after 40 pounds, though newer vehicles are increasing these weight limits.
Stay safe out there – you’ve got precious cargo!