2014 Upper Harness Weight Limit Changes

Car seat rules are changing in 2014. Let’s review what these changes are and what they mean for you, your little one and your RECARO car seat.

Some of you may be aware of the recent regulatory changes made to the FMVSS 213 Standard, enforced by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). The FMVSS 213 Standard addresses the testing procedures used to determine compliance of all child safety seats sold in the USA.  Provided below is some background information about the implementation of the new FMVSS 213 Standard that went into effect on February 27th, 2014, and what it means for RECARO products.


What’s New?

One of the changes to the law is the addition of a new 10 year old ATD, or test dummy, to the FMVSS test dummy line up which includes: newborn, 1 year old, 3 year old and 6 year old (weighted and un-weighted). Now, seats with weight claims higher than 65 pounds have to be evaluated with this taller, heavier 10 year old dummy, and still limit the forward head movement to the same distance as with the smaller test dummies. As part of the protocol, all seats claiming this higher weight range must pass a new test with the new dummy and without using a top tether, even if the manufacturer warns against not using a tether as RECARO does.

What about your RECARO product?

There are no structural changes that have been made to any RECARO products as a result of this new law. The only changes to our products have been to the manuals and labels. You are still purchasing and relying on the extensive racing heritage that RECARO integrates into every one of our products.

RECARO could eventually design a seat to pass these new testing procedures by increasing the stiffness of the seat. But eliminating the amount of forward movement necessary to pass the test with the new dummy would require the design of the seat to exert more force on the child, which is counterproductive to safety. Therefore, we have decided to lower the upper harnessed weight limit of the ProRIDE, Performance RIDE and the Performance SPORT to 65 pounds. To give you a point of reference, 65 pounds is the weight of an average 9.5 year old child.

RECARO applauds NHTSA for implementing the changes to the law. RECARO believes that most average children are already being transitioned out of an internal harness and into a booster seat around 65 pounds.

When using an internal harness, two separate safety belt systems are used to protect the child. One anchors the child restraint to the vehicle and the other secures the child in the restraint. Both belts will elongate during a crash, which is beneficial because forces transferring to the child are reduced by the increased forward movement from both belts stretching. However, when a child who is over 65 pounds is using an internal harness, their forward movement may be increased too much with two belt systems, creating a higher risk for head impact injuries. But by only using the vehicle belt, as in a belt positioning booster, the elongation of the second belt (the harness) would be eliminated, reducing the risk of head impacts for heavier children. Therefore, it is our recommendation to consumers that when a child reaches 65 pounds they transition to a belt positioning booster.

The Performance SPORT has full body, metal reinforced, deep side impact wings that provide superior protection as well as a better pre-crash position for the child. Ensuring a proper pre-crash position is a primary argument for keeping children in harnesses for as long as possible. All of RECARO child seats feature deep side wings and superior side impact protection.

What does this mean for you?

The law went into effect on February 27th, 2014 and it references the manufacturing date of the products, not the sale date. This means that you could possibly purchase a product after February 27th that still instructs you that it is okay to use above 65 pounds harnessed. The law states that you should follow what the instructions say on the child seat, but if you have questions or are uncomfortable with that approach you should contact the manufacturer’s customer service or a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPS Tech) for clarification. It is very important that you pay attention to the labels and manuals on your child safety seat.

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Press Contact

RECARO Child Safety, LLC 

1600 Harmon Rd. 
Auburn Hills, Michigan 48326 
Phone: (888) 9 RECARO