Look at your child’s car seat. You may see a long strap that is attached to the top of the seat. What did you do with that strap? If you attached it to the tether on your vehicle, congratulations! If you have not, keep reading—your child may be at risk of serious injury in a car crash.
This long strap is known as the top tether. It is part of the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system used to install car seats. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 55 percent of parents ignore the top tether. They are not sure what to do with it, so they tuck it away. This is not a good idea.
The top tether is designed to hold the car seat steady and keep it from flying forward during an Atlanta car crash. When the tether is not used, the top of the car seat can move forward in an accident—up to eight inches. This can cause serious head, neck, and spinal cord injuries to the child strapped inside.
The top tether is very easy to install. You may have noticed a hook or latch on the end of the tether strap. This hook attaches to a metal loop on your vehicle—the hardest part is finding the installation point. Unfortunately, car manufacturers put the tether loop in a variety of locations:
- On the back of the back seat, either at the top or bottom
- On the floor or in the cargo area directly behind the back seat
- In the trunk
- On the shelf below the back window
- On the rear door frame
- On the back wall of the vehicle
If you cannot find the tether hook, contact the car seat technician at your local fire department. The top tether can reduce your child’s chances of injury, but it cannot stop a car crash. If you or your child is injured in a Georgia car wreck, you need good, honest information about your rights.