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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > TDI Model Specific Discussions Areas > VW MKVI-A6 Golf family including Jetta SportWagen (~ 2010-2014)

VW MKVI-A6 Golf family including Jetta SportWagen (~ 2010-2014) Discussions area for A6/MkVI (2010-2014) Golf and Golf Wagons (Jetta Sportwagon in the USA).

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Old April 8th, 2011, 11:11   #1
jhgnag
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Default LATCH Safety Concern

Maybe this is common knowledge, but it certainly wasn't for me.
After purchasing our JSW TDI about a month ago, we bought a new carseat. It's a Sunshine Kids which by the way is a very, very nice seat. I was reviewing the manual and it said that the LATCH could be used up to 80lb. child weight, but to check the vehicle limit as well.
After digging through the manual, I couldn't find a limit. I called VW and they told me the limit is 48lbs. (Important information, don't you think?)
VW was completely indifferent to my concern that they didn't publish the limit in their manual.
They said they didn't for "legal" reasons and that the number was in the manual so I could call if I had any questions. I told them they should at least mention a weight limit and to call to confirm what it is if they didn't want to publish. Finally, I asked for a supervisor who said she would make the recommendation.
Frustrated with the complete lack of responsibility from VW, I decided to file a complaint with the NHTSA which I just did.
Can you imagine if some poor 50 lb. kid was injured in an accident because Mom & Dad didn't know they couldn't use the LATCH system over 48 lbs.???
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Old April 8th, 2011, 11:36   #2
rambalu80
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I just checked the owners manual for my 2007 3-series and they don't list any weight limits for the LATCH child restraint system either.
While I agree that it is important (lifesaving) information, I'm wondering if it is industry practice to avoid mentioning the max. weight limits.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 11:43   #3
jhgnag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rambalu80 View Post
I just checked the owners manual for my 2007 3-series and they don't list any weight limits for the LATCH child restraint system either.
While I agree that it is important (lifesaving) information, I'm wondering if it is industry practice to avoid mentioning the max. weight limits.
You may be right. If so, that is inexcusable in my opinion. What could be more important than making sure your child is safe? One thing I've realized is that getting questions answered on child safety is a bit of a joke. Everybody points to everyone else (NHTSA, VW). The NHTSA referred me to a local install inspector when I tried to get some information regarding the rear side airbags. So the central organization can't give me information on whether or not rear side airbags are safer or not for a 3 year old and and refer me to the "opinion" of a local inspector. That is a joke. Of course, VW wouldn't touch it either and referred me to the NHTSA.

My blood pressure is rising the more I type....

Last edited by jhgnag; April 8th, 2011 at 11:58.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 12:19   #4
timwagon
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Here's NHTSA's info on weight limits and LATCH systems:

There is growing interest in using the top tether and lower anchors for children in harnessed forward-facing carseats that have weight limits above 40 pounds. The government safety standards do have a safety margin above that, and were based on a combined child and carseat weight of 65 pounds. It is possible that some automakers added a safety margin above that. Even so, it is best to check with your vehicle's manufacturer and carseat manufacturer if this is an issue, especially if your child exceeds 48 pounds. Unfortunately, some companies may not have this information readily available for consumers.

From this excerpt, it appears that the NHTSA standard assumes a car seat weighing up to 25 pounds, and a child up to 40 pounds, with a combined weight of 65 pounds.

This is well below your seat manufacturer's 80 pound child weight limit.

Your seat manufacturer should not recommend using the LATCH system for any child weighing more than 40 pounds. That's well beyond the NHTSA design limit.

The VW limit, at 48 pounds, exceeds the NHTSA LATCH weight guidelines by 20%.

I agree that VW should have this critical infrmation in the owner's manual, but VW also appears to have set a design limit well above the minimum NHTSA standards.

Last edited by timwagon; April 8th, 2011 at 12:47.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 12:45   #5
jhgnag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timwagon View Post
Here's NHTSA's info on weight limits and LATCH systems:

There is growing interest in using the top tether and lower anchors for children in harnessed forward-facing carseats that have weight limits above 40 pounds. The government safety standards do have a safety margin above that, and were based on a combined child and carseat weight of 65 pounds. It is possible that some automakers added a safety margin above that. Even so, it is best to check with your vehicle's manufacturer and carseat manufacturer if this is an issue, especially if your child exceeds 48 pounds. Unfortunately, some companies may not have this information readily available for consumers.

From this excerpt, it appears that the NHTSA standard assumes a car seat weighing up to 25 pounds, and a child up to 40 pounds, with a combined weight of 65 pounds.

This is well below your seat manufacturer's 80 pound child weight limit.

Your seat manufacturer should not recommend using the LATCH system for any child weighing more than 40 pounds. That's beyond he NHTSA design limit.

The VW limit, at 48 pounds, exceeds the NHTSA LATCH weight guidelines by 20%.

I agree that VW should have this critical infrmation in the owner's manual, but VW also appears to have set a design limit well above the minimum NHTSA standards.
Thank you for the information. I figured the LATCH would be more secure than a seatbelt, but apparently not. Imagine all those parents who never bother to look into this. NHTSA and VW should be doing a better job informing consumers.

I may be purchasing an old '97 Land Cruiser for camping/hunting/fishing and was initially concerned about the safety of my 3 year old. I'm not too worried anymore. Plus I think the mass alone would provide more safety than LATCH and/or airbags.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 13:00   #6
timwagon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhgnag View Post
Plus I think the mass alone would provide more safety than LATCH and/or airbags.
Cars in the 40's , 50's, and 60's were very big, very heavy, and very unsafe.

There is little correlation between vehicle mass and vehicle safety.

It's good vehicle design that makes a vehicle safe.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 13:37   #7
OldManWinter
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From http://www.car-safety.org/latch.html

If the harness has a weight limit higher than 40 pounds, then the seatbelt should be used to install the seat once the child exceeds the seat's LATCH limit.

This is actually an interesting discussion, my 5 year old is pushing 40lbs now so perhaps we'll have to change how his seat is installed. Thanks OP for bring this up.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 13:47   #8
OldManWinter
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Sorry just talked with the wife.

Before the VW we had a Hyundai and it's manual said to defer to the car seat's manual for the weight limit for latch.

Realistically it's steel welded to steel, it can hold a lot of weight. Maybe not a 65lb kid in a 60mph crash but who knows.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 15:25   #9
jhgnag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
Sorry just talked with the wife.

Before the VW we had a Hyundai and it's manual said to defer to the car seat's manual for the weight limit for latch.

Realistically it's steel welded to steel, it can hold a lot of weight. Maybe not a 65lb kid in a 60mph crash but who knows.

I'm not sure I understand the message, but I think this is the point I am trying to make.

Car seat manufacturer says 80 lbs. but check with vehicle manufacturer. VW states, but does not print 48 lbs., for LATCH. I agree, it seems it could hold more, but I would hope they have made the recommendation bases on real data, not just an opinion.

This is all very frustrating. It shouldn't be this difficult to get these answers or figured out.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 15:30   #10
jhgnag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timwagon View Post
Cars in the 40's , 50's, and 60's were very big, very heavy, and very unsafe.

There is little correlation between vehicle mass and vehicle safety.

It's good vehicle design that makes a vehicle safe.
Do you have data on this? I would genuinely be interested in seeing it. I can't get past the simple physics of a 6000 lb. vehicle colliding with a 3,000 lb. vehicle.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 17:41   #11
timwagon
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Originally Posted by jhgnag View Post
Do you have data on this? I would genuinely be interested in seeing it. I can't get past the simple physics of a 6000 lb. vehicle colliding with a 3,000 lb. vehicle.
NHTSA and the IIHS perform crash tests all the time. You can check those sites at your leisure. There's lots of independent ratings on the safety of nearly every vehicle made.

There are big cars that test very well, and big cars that don't.

There are small cars that perform very well, and small cars that don't.

Before stability control became common most SUVs were statistically more dangerous than most passenger cars, owing to inherent instability and rollovers.

So, is the mass of a vehicle a factor in vehicle safety? It depends on the vehicle, and the type of accident.

In a head-on collision with two vehicles with similar safety features and designs, but different weights, the heavier vehicle is likely to afford more protection. Remember that a head-on collision represents only one type of potential accident, and a fairly rare accident.

In the current IIHS ratings, four vehicles get an overall "poor" rating: – the Hyundai Accent, Jeep Wrangler 2-door, Chevrolet Colorado Truck, and GMC Canyon truck.

So, there you have a sub-compact, an SUV, and two trucks, all of which are scored "poor", meaning that certain accidents are very likely to result in occupant injuries.

The GM trucks are probably at least two times heavier than the Hyundai, yet all are lousy safety choices, according to the IIHS.

Last edited by timwagon; April 8th, 2011 at 17:58.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 19:21   #12
lonniebear
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i didn't even know there were car seats with a latch system for kids that were 50 lbs. my 5 year old has been in a booster for some time that just uses the regular seat belt. He's probably 55 lbs now.

good catch though. i think it's bizarre that the vw says 48 lbs is the limit. as mentioned earlier, i'm sure it could handle much much more than that. I do crash simulation for military vehicles and can tell you that from looking at my sentra's latch system, it could handle much more than 48 lbs.

i agree that this is more of a legal, aka covering your ass thing, than a engineering thing.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 20:50   #13
TwoTone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhgnag View Post
Maybe this is common knowledge, but it certainly wasn't for me.
After purchasing our JSW TDI about a month ago, we bought a new carseat. It's a Sunshine Kids which by the way is a very, very nice seat. I was reviewing the manual and it said that the LATCH could be used up to 80lb. child weight, but to check the vehicle limit as well.
After digging through the manual, I couldn't find a limit. I called VW and they told me the limit is 48lbs. (Important information, don't you think?)
VW was completely indifferent to my concern that they didn't publish the limit in their manual.
They said they didn't for "legal" reasons and that the number was in the manual so I could call if I had any questions. I told them they should at least mention a weight limit and to call to confirm what it is if they didn't want to publish. Finally, I asked for a supervisor who said she would make the recommendation.
Frustrated with the complete lack of responsibility from VW, I decided to file a complaint with the NHTSA which I just did.
Can you imagine if some poor 50 lb. kid was injured in an accident because Mom & Dad didn't know they couldn't use the LATCH system over 48 lbs.???
Find a manual that does. Both my Ford and Subie don't. Every car seat manual I've read has the check with your vehicle man, so if I parent doesn't check, it's really on them.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfherbert
I knew someone that was a VW customer rep about 6 years ago. His job was to clean up VW's (at the time) poor reputation for quality and customer support. I think he did his job well.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 21:01   #14
TwoTone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhgnag View Post
Do you have data on this? I would genuinely be interested in seeing it. I can't get past the simple physics of a 6000 lb. vehicle colliding with a 3,000 lb. vehicle.
The problem is your not thinking physics. Older cars weren't designed to crumple thus absorbing most of the energy in a crash. All the energy was transferred to you.

That's one reason cars are totaled easier now. They are designed to crumple all around the passenger compartment in order to absorb as much of the crash energy as possible and not transfer it to you.


Google the older Ford 150. The current design is partly due to the horrible crash test it received.
http://www.iihs.org/ratings/ratingsbyseries.aspx?id=511

Also 1959 Chevy vs. 2009 Chevy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_ptU...embedded#at=38

So big safe pick up right, I'd rather be in a mini over that F150 any day.

Father inlaw still has one and I don't allow him to drive my kids in it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfherbert
I knew someone that was a VW customer rep about 6 years ago. His job was to clean up VW's (at the time) poor reputation for quality and customer support. I think he did his job well.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 12:40   #15
timwagon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonniebear View Post
i didn't even know there were car seats with a latch system for kids that were 50 lbs. my 5 year old has been in a booster for some time that just uses the regular seat belt. He's probably 55 lbs now.

good catch though. i think it's bizarre that the vw says 48 lbs is the limit. as mentioned earlier, i'm sure it could handle much much more than that. I do crash simulation for military vehicles and can tell you that from looking at my sentra's latch system, it could handle much more than 48 lbs.

i agree that this is more of a legal, aka covering your ass thing, than a engineering thing.
All prudent engineers set a safety limit well below the design limit.

I don't agree that VW's 48 pound limit (20% above the NHTSA standard) is unreasonable. Remember that this calculation assumes an additional 25 pounds for the car seat, so it's really a 73 pound limit for child + seat.
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