What is a 5 Point Harness Car Seat

What is a 5 Point Harness Car Seat?

Before buying a harness car seat for your little one, you should what is 5 point harness car seat and the difference between a 3 point harness and 5 point harness seat.

A five-point harness is a kind of seat that has five straps attached to the car frame. It is designed with increased safety so that it can provide more safety in the event of a vehicle crash. This seatbelt system is mandatory for participating in NASCAR’s car race competition. This form of the seat belt is a must, because of the high speed involved in the game. Besides this invention is also used for securing infants and toddlers in children’s safety seats. 

The five-point harness straps adjust over the child’s body to hold him steady in the seat. The five-point harness is built with five straps. Two of the straps are located at each shoulder, two at the baby’s hip, and one between the baby’s legs. These straps hold the baby tightly in the position and save the baby in event of an accident. Almost every car seat in us has a five-point harness. 

Difference between A 3 point harness and a 5 point harness car seat

Choosing the right car seat from the huge amount of car seats available in the market for your baby is a really tough job, especially when it’s your first time.  

The harness of a car seat is the most important aspect to consider before purchasing a car seat. Though all the new models’ car seats have 5 point harnesses you might also find some 3 point harness seats in the market. 

The five-point harness has two straps around each shoulder and two straps for holding the baby’s hip. And one between the baby’s legs. 

On the other hand, the 3 point harness has only 3 strap positions, two in the shoulder, and one between the baby’s legs.

The two extra straps help the babies to stay in proper position during the trip. 

The reason you should avoid a 3 point harness

The more straps the seat has the more safe buckling you can do. The five-point harness keeps the baby safer in the seat by absorbing more crash energy and disturbing the force on the child’s body parts like hips and shoulders. On the other hand, the majority of force goes on the child’s shoulder on a 3 point harness seat. And without hip straps, the child might come out of the seat. 

The five-point harness provides additional protection with those hip strap belts that you won’t get in a Three-point harness. That’s what 5 point harness is the best option for any child. So you should avoid the three-point harness and buy the five-point harness. 

The way a 5 point harness car seat keeps your baby secured

You will find different types of seats in the market. Some of those seats have a five-point harness while the other seats don’t have the five-point harness. We will explain why the Five-point harness has been proven safer than other car seats with a shield or Three-point harness.

Transfer the crash energy

The five-point harness is designed with five harness straps to restrain the child at the hips and shoulders. These parts are the strongest part of their body. In the event of a crash, the harness straps transfer the crash energy to this strong point of the child’s body and on the car seat. The test shows that for this the soft body parts of the baby like the abdomen, remain protected from impact. 

The other soft body parts of the child can not withstand the crash energy as the strong point do. When your child is in a 3-point harness or shields the child can fold over the strap belt while restrained at the lower abdomen. This means that restraint can enter the abdominal area and can cause serious injury.

Certified dummies for crash tests let us analyze the energy on the strong body parts in different accident scenarios. The highest energy that strong parts can withstand has also been entrenched. To make sure the force on the child’s each body part remains within the safe limits all the five-point harness seats have been engineered and tested. 

Hold the baby in safe a position

The five-point harness holds your baby securely in the safest sitting position. Though crash tests have been designed to mimic actual accidents as precisely as possible, the real accidents are often more complicated than crash tests. Such as, the car can get upside down or will roll over in some accidents. If this kind of situation arrives the baby could fall out from the car seat either from the side and under or over the straps belt.

But a five-point harness seat keeps the smaller baby in the same safest position on the safety seat by holding them with the five-position harness. 

Federal crash test standards do not test the car seat as complicated as a rollover scenario. Just because your child’s car seat has the approval certificate does not mean this seat will protect your baby in every complex type of accident.

On a test by UTAC(The independent testing organization for the automobile industry) the dummy fell out from the car seat while it was on a shield seat system.   

A 5-point harness ensures that your growing child fits correctly in the car seat.

We all know that children grow quickly. You must position the straps of the car seat correctly to make sure that the crash energies transferrer to the seat frame and to your child’s strong shoulder.

With the Five-point harness, you can easily adjust the height in different positions to make your child as safe as possible.   

The innovative hook and Easy-in strap system of the five-point harness make it fast and easy for you to make the harness fit perfectly on your child’s body on every journey.

According to us, the Five-point harness is the safest seat for infants and toddlers for traveling. That’s why almost all five-points harness seats can hold kids up to 4 years old.

However, you need to move your child in a booster seat when your child out grogs the limits of the harness seat. So buying a convertible car seat is the smartest option. 

Check our convertible car seats with extended weight limits, that can be converted to a booster seat from a five-point harness. 

Adjusting the Height of the Shoulder Straps

Different car seats have different ways of height and weight adjusting straps. There is some seat where you have to rethread the strap belt to adjust them in higher or lower slots. On the other hand, you just have to simply adjust the headrest up or down and with this headrest, the shoulder straps also get adjusted up or down. And this system is called a no-rethread harness. Though the no-rethread harness makes it easy for you to adjust the harness it also makes it harder for you to tighten the harness, because there is more friction in this system.

In a rear-facing position you don’t need to uninstall the seat, you can easily adjust the rethread strap. But in a forward-facing position, you need to uninstall the seat to move the harness on a rethread system. But a no-rethread harness allows you to move the harness straps without uninstalling the seat in a forward-facing position. You need to adjust the harness properly to make your baby safe in the car seat. 

Make sure the shoulder harness strap is at or below the baby’s shoulder in the rear-facing position. And at or above the baby’s shoulder in the forward-facing position. 

Tighten the Harness

You need to tighten the harness straps correctly every time when you place your baby in the car seat. It is very important to correctly tighten the harness straps for ensuring your child’s safety.

This how you tighten the harness :

Move the chest clip down on the baby’s abdomen. Leave the clip here while tightening the straps.

Now pull on the shoulder straps to remove slacks from the straps. 

Almost every car seat has a webbing back end strap that came out from the seat between the child’s feet. Firmly pull up this webbing tail to tighten the straps

 If you don’t find any webbing tail on your car check the vehicle manual. There should be a buckle at the backside of the seat or knobs on the side of the seat.

Once you properly sung the straps, move the chest clip up to the level of the armpits.

Adjusting the Crotch Buckle and Hip Straps

The crotch buckle is the strap connector point between the baby’s leg. If your car seat’s crotch buckle is adjustable you should place it as close as possible to the child.

Some car seats come with adjustable hip harness straps. If your harness is adjustable select the closer slot to move the harness closer to your child’s hip. And you can move it when your child grows up. 

Untwisting Straps

You need to keep the harness smooth before you use it so that it doesn’t get twisted or tangled. While placing your child in the car seat and taking him out the harness strap can easily get twisted when the straps move under and around the child’s body.

If you don’t smoothen the straps they won’t lay flat and instead of lying flat, they will wound tightly like cords. Twisted straps are very dangerous because they transfer all crash force in a small area. So it is very important to untwist the straps. 

Buckle Your Child in a 5-Point Harness

Loosen the harness straps before placing your baby in the seat. Position your baby all the way back on the car seat and make sure the baby is not slouching out from the seat. Now place your child’s arm through the harness straps. Make sure that the straps are going over your child’s shoulder and down the belly and abdomen area and over the hips. Then buckle between the baby’s legs. Now Attach both connectors into the crotch buckle and hook the chest clip. And the last step; tighten the harness straps. 



My child has the habit of un-clicking his harness, what can I do?


When the baby can un-click his harness straps, it is very annoying and dangerous. Some children learn to unbuckle themself from the seat.
To avoid risk you can do is :

Make sure the harness is at the proper height – if you adjust the harness too low, your child will be able to ‘wedge’ his shoulders under the straps and will push down the buckle.

2) Make the harness tension correct.

If your child is still undoing their buckle continuously and he doesn’t seem to leave this habit, you may want to change the seat and try a different seat to see if your child still can undo the buckling. 

Just because your baby is un-clicking the harness, it is not good to move him in a high back booster especially if your child’s weight and height are below the limits. 


How long should a child stay in a five-point harness car seat?


Minimum Four years. A child must stay in a five-point harness car seat until reaching 40 pounds or 4 years. 


My child wriggles out of the straps – what can I do?


 As like the above problem, this problem happens very often

What you need to do is :

 1) check if the harness height is at the correct level?

 2) look over the harness tension – make sure the harness is not too tight or loose. 

 3)dress your baby with a lite cloth. Do not use any heavy jacket while putting your baby in the seat. 

 4) You can also use aftermarket products with your child’s seat. These products prevent babies from wriggling out. But before using an aftermarket product with a child’s car seat carefully read and understand the manual instructions. Also, ensure the product will not interfere on the way to the harness while getting your baby in and out. 

If the child continuously keeps slipping from the harness, Try a different car safety seat which is appropriate for your child’s weight to check if they still wriggle the straps off. 

But always remember Just because your baby is un-clicking the harness, it is not good to move him in a high back booster especially if your child’s weight and height are below the limits. 



● In 2015, using the seat belts in vehicles saved the lives of 13,941 people aged 5 and over.

● Front airbags save more than 2,573 lives of 13 and older.

● From 2009-2013, 81% of children younger than 4 who faced crashes and were restrained in a child seat had no injury. 

● Children safety seat saved an estimated 266 child who is 4 and younger

● Most of the parents use a 5-point harness car seat for their child from birth until using a booster seat.

● According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, booster seats can reduce the risk of getting seriously injured by 45 percent.

● After research, Safe Kids found that more than 64 percent of parents do not use the top tether. (The to tether holds a car seat from pitching forward.)

● Child safety seats are 71 percent effective to reduce the risk of serious injury for infants, and 54 percent effective for 1-4 years old toddlers. Child safety seats reduce hospital admissions requirements by 69 percent. 


According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “All children who are 2 years old or who are younger than 2 years but they have outgrown the height and weight limit for rear-facing of their car seat, should use a harness forward-facing seat as long as possible or until they cross the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also recommends using a forward-facing 5 point harness car seat for 4-7 years old kids. And to use the tether in the back seat to properly secure the baby in the seat for as long as possible. Because a five-point harness seat has 5 straps connect points that help to keep the baby securely in the proper sitting position in the restrain. The harness spreads out the crash energy in the child’s strongest parts Shoulder and hip and in the seat shell. A properly tighten harness protects a child from injury even in a complex accident where the car may roll over. 

If you have a child of 4 or 40 pounds you will get a lot of forward-facing car seats with a harness.

There are lots of car seats available in the market that accommodate kids up to 65 pounds. You will also find some car seats that can accommodate children up to 80 – 85 pounds. These seats also come with higher harness slots to accommodate taller children. 

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