LATCH stands for “Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children”. They became mandatory in vehicles in 2002 to help parents better secure the baby seat in the car and eliminate seat belt incompatibility. Pursuant to the actual law the lower anchors are designed to support a maximum weight of 65 lbs. Most parents are not aware that this weight includes the child and the child seat. When the total weight exceeds 65 lbs the child seat must be secured with the car seatbelt.
In order to make this information clear to parents the new LATCH law effective in February 2014, will require child seat manufacturers to modify their label to make sure parents understand that their child weight determines how long they can use the lower anchors.
This legislation was heavily pushed by automakers in order to protect themselves from product liability lawsuits as baby seats these days are heavier than those manufactured in 2002 and are putting increased strain on the lower anchors.