Sometimes it seems manufactures are out to confuse parents as much as possible.
For years Child Passenger Safety Technicians stated that you don’t use LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) with boosters. The booster simply sat on the seat under the child, then the seat belt held in both the child and the booster.
About five years ago though, dedicated boosters started coming with lower anchor connectors, both high back and backless. Some combination seats could even use lower anchors in booster mode.
While many have seen this as a really cool idea, it has introduced a layer of confusion. LATCH has weight limits, LATCH has weight limits, LATCH has weight limits…. You can nearly hear it echoing on any car seat forum. So why, suddenly with bigger kids, can we use LATCH?
The simple reason is the lower anchors are just holding in the booster seat, not the seat plus the child. As the seat is usually a svelte 10-30 pounds, lower anchors only have to hold the weight of the seat, not the larger child who is sitting in the seat. If you have a combination seat that allows the lower anchors and tether in booster mode, or a dedicated booster with lower connectors, then yes, you CAN use them, even if you have a 60, 70, or 120 pound child. The seat belt holds the child; the lower anchors hold the booster.
So what do the lower anchors do while they’re holding the booster? The main feature is actually a safety benefit that isn’t for the child. It’s for when the child is not using the seat. During a crash the seat belt can hold both the child plus seat. If you have a booster without lower connectors, the booster should be buckled in every time it’s empty. That way it’s not a projectile in a crash. Nobody wants to be beaned in the head with a booster, especially as some weigh more than 30 pounds.
A booster that utilizes the lower anchors is a nice option for a lot of families. If you have a child who would not remember to buckle in a booster every time, or just find it helps with keeping the seat in better, lower anchors are available now on many different boosters. If you have a booster that cannot use the lower anchors, they are just as safe and do a wonderful job of protecting children. Just remember to buckle them in when not in use to protect yourself.
Dedicated boosters available with lower anchor connectors (this list is not exhaustive):