As a parent of a young child, you may have installed a car seat recently and wondered what the long strap that extends from the top of the seat is and what exactly you are supposed to do with it. Sound familiar? You might have just simply tucked it away and forgotten about it. If so, you would not be alone. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 55 percent of parents fail to use this strap properly, if at all. But, just ignoring this trap could place your child at risk of serious injury should you become involved in a Hernando County car accident.
What is this long strap and how does it work? It is called the top tether and it is part of the LATCH system, short for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, which is used to properly install car seats in cars manufactured after 2001, as well as for installing car seats using a seat belt. This top tether’s job is to hold the car seat against the car’s backseat and reduce any forward and side movement should an accident occur. By not using the tether, a car seat can actually move as much as eight inches forward, which can result in severe and debilitating injuries to a young child. The reality is that this top tether should never be ignored, as it could be the difference between life and death in the event of a Hernando County collision.
Installing the top tether anchor is actually quite easy once you have identified the installation site. There should be a hook at the end of the top tether that attaches to a metal loop in your car. Top tether anchors are generally found on second-row seatbacks, in the cargo area roof, behind backseat head restraints and sometimes in the trunk. If you are unable to locate where your car’s top tether anchors are, check your owner’s manual for help. If you are still having trouble, visit SaferCar.gov to find a car seat technician in your area that can assist you with proper set-up.
If your car seat has been installed correctly, you should not be able to move the seat more than an inch from side to side and front to back. In order to check this, just grasp the seat at the belt path, where the seat belt or Latch strap laces through the car seat, and firmly pull. The top of the car seat should not be able to move more than an inch once it has been tethered correctly.
Installing a car seat properly can seriously reduce your child’s risk of an injury in a Hernando County crash, but it cannot prevent the accident from happening in the first place. If another driver’s negligence or carelessness on the road has caused you or your child to suffer an injury in a car accident, contact a Hernando County Auto Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton today online or call 352-666-2121 to learn about your rights. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions and to discuss your injury claim.