The difference between LATCH and ISOFIX.

ISO (International Organization of Standards) yes the same that you see as ISO 9000, 9001. ISOFIX for CRS is ISO 13216. ISOFix stands for International Standards for attachment points for the child restraint systems (CRS). ISOFix refers to the Lower Anchors only. To call a seat ISOfix type seats it needs to be paired with either a Top Tether or Load Leg.

The similar regulation in Canada is called LUAS (Lower Universal Anchorage System), CANFix or Universal Child Safety Seat System (UCSSS). All these terms or abbreviation refers to the lower anchorage only. Same guideline, same perimeter just different name for different country. Their anchors are all rigid anchors and has a width of 11inch.

In USA it is called LATCH. It stands for Lower Anchor and Top tether for CHildren. The name itself refers to the whole system lower anchors and top tether similar to isofix (lower anchor) plus Top tether or Load leg (for European version). It is similar in use (to install the CRS) but different because they have different weight limit and due to its regulation pass different test.

Lap Shoulder belt or popularly known as seat belts or safety belts (usually refers to the 3 point belt system like drivers or front passenger seats. 1 shoulder 2 hips (total 3 points of contact). Newer cars since 2012 will have 3 point belts for middle seats as well. Otherwise it will be the lap belt only (2 hips, total 2 point of contact).

Question. Which is better? Which is safer? If money not an issue which is the best?
The rigid anchors have a combined weight of a child and crs at 33kg.
The flexible anchors have a combined weight of child and crs at 30kg.
A lap shoulder belt has a weight limit of 300kg adult male.

So you see, although the CRS itself can be used up to 25/35/45/54kg if the weight of the seat is 10kg, your child can only use the seat installed with ISOFix/Lower Anchors max only 23/20kg. When they have increase in 500gm you need to uninstall the seat and use a lap shoulder belt. All of them pass the necessary test to obtain their safety approvals (that is why it is important to buy an approve seat).

No one installation is better than the other. The rule is

  1. Get a CRS that fits your child now in terms of age, weight, height and developmental needs (medical needs or maturity)
  2. Get a CRS that can be installed in your car (read the car manual and see where can install what type of seat). DO NOT buy an isofix seat when your car do not have lower anchors (in your car). Don’t attempt to “wrap” the seat belt around the CRS in hope it will not fly. Trust me, that seat will fly and it will not be caught by Superman/Wonderwoman or Captain Marvel (like Endgame they don’t appear when you need them).
  3. Get a CRS that you can use correctly each and everytime. Convenience if you need to move it between cars. Comfort and if baby likes it is a bonus. But you, yes “YOU-Mummies and Daddies” opinion matters more. Babies are funny creature, they suddenly decide they don’t like banana and apples anymore after declaring it to be their favourite fruit like forever.

Age and maturity is what we usually focus on. Weight and height is a guide. They don’t graduate from infant carrier to convertible to combination booster and finally booster. They don’t graduate. You actually decrease their level of safety as you move through the groups.

Infant carrier is like a bubble. High sides (covering the head), high hips area (protecting their little legs and chubby feet), installed rear facing means the whole shell protects the head, neck, spine and back.

Convertible has lower sides to allow baby to look out. Only covers the head (you can see the face or tip of the nose from the side), covers the hip but allow the legs to hang over.

Combination booster usually for in between 4 to 8yo when they outgrow convertible but not yet ready for booster with seat belt. Once they pass 6yo, its not about physical development its about their mental and emotional development whether they are matured and ready for a booster.

Then once they outgrow the harness in the combination booster but not yet fit the belt (shoulder belt across the chest, lap belt low on the hips) then they need a booster. Studies in UK and US as well as latest in Australia says their kids may not be ready for booster even between 8 to 10yo (means still in convertible till 8yo 😱). But do you know in Sweden they keep their kids in booster until 16yo? 🤣🤣😱😱 (In Malaysia, 1yo already too big for baby seat).

There is no 1 size fits all and no 1 system that is perfect. Get what you need now or foresee in the next 6 months and work from there. While we only recommend seats that we are confident is safety approved and crash worthy, we do consult and help you find the best solution base on what you have or can afford. Do not think that a seat is only to avoid getting a ticket. Studies of more than 20 years have proven its effectiveness in preserving lifes and minimising injuries. Just use it correctly and install it properly. A safe seat is rm500 that last you 6 years which means it cost less than rm1 a day. If you save rm100 a month, in 6 months you can have a variety of choices.

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