Keeping your child in a car seat using a LATCH system longer may be dangerous. That's according to new federal regulations that go into effect Wednesday.
A 2001 federal law required kids up to 65 pounds remain in a car seat; but there's a new recommendation in 2014. On LATCH car seats the 65 pounds must include the seat weight too.
"The manufacturers have found that the latch anchors are only able to handle that much weight in a stress situation and they can actually break or not be safe," said Diana Johnson, child safety coordinator at Saint Francis Medical Center. "The new seats that they're going to manufacturer in 2014 will have the weight of the seat on the box, but if they have an older car seat, then it won't. They'll need to weigh the car seat."
In Nebraska, any kid under age six needs to be in a child restraint when riding in the car. That car seat needs to comply with federal laws.
Hall County Sheriff Sergeant Quinn Webb investigates fatal crashes in his jurisdiction. He knows first-hand the importance of child seats.
"It really opens your eyes to see how much those seatbelts and child restraints help save lives," he said.
"The number one killer of children in the United States is motor vehicle accidents; and so it's so important that the car seats and car restraints are installed correctly," said Johnson.
But, the majority of those restraints aren't used correctly.
"Three out of four car seats are being used incorrectly or not installed correctly; and we find that when we do the car seat inspections," said Johnson.
"If you don't have it in properly, then it's no good," said Webb.
Experts say the best car seat is one that's easy for parents to use. To make sure you're using it correctly, read the seat manual and check safekidsne.org for recalls.
Also, this time of year, experts say trade the bulky coat for a light jacket and lots of blankets.
"Anything under the straps compresses in an accident and it will leave room for the shoulder straps to fall down on the child and the child will actually come out of the car seat," said Johnson.