Using Isofix /LATCH

LATCH is the term for the "Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren". It is a system found on car seats made in the USA since 2001. LATCH is a webbing strap attached to the car seat, or detachable base for capsules, with a hook on each end.

Isofix is similar and is typically a rigid system that is incorporated into the car seat frame. Some models it can be slotted away when not in use, and the seat can then be installed with the seat belt instead of using Isofix .

Isofix is an attachment system found in some cars, it allows for a quicker and often better install of your child's car seat*.
For the purpose of this page the term "Isofix " will be used to explain the lower anchorage system on car seats.

*Isofix is not necessarily "safer" than a seat belt, it does however, reduce the high occurrence of incorrectly installed child seats. It is easy to use, quick to install, and most often gets a tighter install than using a seat belt since there is no need to know your seat belt type, or use a locking clip. It is best to try both systems to see what method works best for your car, and car seat. Never use both seat belt and Isofix together. This system is intended as either, or, but never both.

You cannot use both Isofix and the seat belt. No car seat is tested this way and it could harm your child.

Please note that Australian car seats currently do not use this system and must be installed with a seat belt and top tether only.

Do NOT attach an Isofix car seat to the seat belt buckle joiners, also located in the seat bight.

Firstly you need to check if your car has Isofix connectors or not, not all cars will have them and they cannot be retrofitted into your car. If your car does not have them you will need to install your car seat with a seat belt. Not all cars allow use of Isofix in the middle, and you must not borrow attachments from the side positions. Check your vehicle manual to see if you can use the centre position with Isofix .

By looking at your back seats (near the buckle) you may see this symbol, this means your car has Isofix attachments for your car seat to attach to. This symbol may be a button or a fabric patch. Your car may have the words "ISOFIX " in place of the symbol.

latch symbol

The Isofix points are shown below in front of the yellow arrows, a close up is shown with a Isofix hook attached to the connector (below right).

Isofix location Latch - hooked

Steps to installing your car seat using Isofix

  1. If your seat has Isofix straps, place the straps through the correctly belt path (rear facing or forward facing). Check that the straps are flat and that they are not caught on any part of the car seat. Loosen the strap so they are long enough to install.
  2. Place your car seat where you want (where the car manufacturer allows) the child restraint to be used with Isofix.
  3. Connect the clips to the Isofix connector, repeat for opposite side.
  4. Tighten the strap pulling on the end with the adjuster, or each end where the straps are not interconnected.
  5. Push your weight into the car seat using a knee and continue pulling the straps to tighten the seat.
  6. Move the car seat from side to side, if there is more than 2.5cm (1 inch) movement in either direction repeat step 5. If the seat is still loose after re-tightening try the seat in another location or switch to using the seat belt. Check what seat belt type you have first, as you may need to use a locking clip to get an acceptable install with the seat belt

Isofix can be used until your child reaches 18kgs (40lb). Then you will need to switch over to the vehicle seat belt to restrain the car seat. Check with your car seat and vehicle manual to see if they allow Isofix use beyond this weight.

Use the links below to find out more:

| Essential information
| Knowing the type will help achieve a correct install
| Find out what one is and how to use it
| Find out what to do with the tether strap and bolt
| Find out what to do with the tether bolt
| External link to technicians list by area
| Why wont my seat install correctly? Help!