Britax Car Seats – What Are The Britax Latch, Hugs, And Versa Tether Systems?

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car photoIf you’ve been shopping for car seats, particularly Britax Car Seats, you may have come across the term “LATCH,” or in the case of Britax car seats, “Versa Tether” and “HUGS.” Wonder what they mean?

It’s actually pretty simple. LATCH is an acronym for “Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren.” This system consists of easy-installation connectors that attach to cars featuring LATCH connection points.

LATCH in Your Car

These anchor points are factory installed, and are located near your vehicle’s seat belts. They provide an easy and very secure connection. The lower anchor points are usually a small bar or rod tucked between the seat back and cushion. The upper anchor is often a ring-like object located behind the seat on the rear filler panel of a passenger car, or it might be on the floor of an SUV or station wagon.
In other words, the LATCH system is simply three connector points that car manufacturers installed to make it easy for buckling in a car seat. This system was designed to standardize the installation of a child’s car seat; it basically lets you install the car seat without using your car’s seat belt.

Is your car equipped with the LATCH system for your Britax car seat? The USA has required that vehicles manufactured after September 1st, 2002 must have the Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren system installed in at least two rear seats. So depending on the year of your vehicle, you just may have the LATCH system built in.

If you have an older car, does that mean you can’t use a Britax car seat that is equipped with LATCH connectors? Absolutely not! The car seat can still be used with the car’s regular seat belt.

The LATCH System on a Britax Car Seat

LATCH-equipped Britax car seats have connectors that you snap or hook on those bars installed between your car’s seat cushion and seat back. Installation is a snap, it’s much easier than wrestling around with seat belts! Gone are the days of snaking seat belts through narrow holes and struggling to find the latch on the other side of the car seat.

Rear-facing car seats are required to have the lower LATCH attachments. Convertible car seats (ones you can use forward and backward-facing) and forward-facing car seats are required to also have the top tether strap in addition to the lower attachments.

Britax Versa Tether

The Britax Versa Tether system is an additional anchor aid. It provides even more security with both front and rear-facing Britax car seats. Versa Tether anchors the top of the car seat to the top LATCH mount in your car, minimizing the chances for head injury to your children. Britax especially recommends Versa Tether for children over 50 pounds.

The Britax HUGS System

Some Britax car seat models are equipped with a patented floating “Harness Ultra Guard System.” This is a feature Britax designed to distribute the car seat webbing loads, which reduces head movement and minimizes the possibility of webbing edge loading on the neck in the event of an impact.

The LATCH system is a great safety innovation that has made the lives of parents easier and the lives of our children safer. Britax has made it clear with their Versa Tether and HUGS systems that safety is a high priority. Britax has a track record of style, quality, and safety, and it comes through plainly on each model of Britax car seat.

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