Newborn car seat straps correct position matter a lot because they can benefit as well as harm your baby’s spine, neck, and head.
There are several brands designing Infant car seats that may vary in their harness system. That is why the parents need to know how to adjust newborn in car seat correctly.
In this article, we will guide you regarding 5 point harness car seat and how to use it accurately.
What Is Newborn Car Seat Straps Correct Position? 5 Point Harness
Infant car seats have a 5-point harness strap system in which:
- 2 are shoulder straps
- 2 are waist straps
- 1 additional strap is made to pass through the legs and meet in the middle
Newborn Car Seat Straps Correct Position – For the Parents!
Newborn babies cannot hold up their heads on their own and need a car seat that offers satisfactory protection to them while riding.
For Rear Facing Car Seat:
For rear-facing infant car seats, the shoulder straps are fastened after passing them through car seat slots at or just below your child’s shoulders.
For Forward Facing Car Seat:
For forward-facing car seats, the shoulder straps are at or just above the child’s shoulders.
How to Adjust Car Seat Straps? Accurate Car Seat Fit Guide
The way to tighten and loosen the car seat straps may vary company-vise.
Note: If you have a Graco car seat, you can take help from our detailed article on it i.e. “How to adjust Graco car seat straps”
To get to know the basic steps in tightening the car seat straps around your newborns, the following points could help you:
1. Determine that the Car Seat should be Compatible with Your Newborn’s Size:
The newborn baby’s size (in terms of weight and height) may vary a little.
If the harness straps won’t fit your baby accurately, you can place a washcloth in between the crotch straps and the baby’s belly.
2. Newborn Car Seat Straps Correct Position | Adjust the Harness Straps:
All the best car seat brands have harness systems that have 3-height-positions to adjust with your growing baby and newborn car seat straps correct position mentioned in the manual.
To position the harness straps according to your baby’s height:
- Put your baby into the car seat
To determine the pair of slots that is at or just below your child’s shoulders
- Take out the shoulder straps from the metal retainer at the back side of the car seat
- Pull the straps from the front side of the car seat
- Reinsert them into the determined slot
- Plug the straps into the metal retainer again
The ends of the straps must come in front of the metal-splitter plate and straps loops must be within the splitter plate.
3. Buckle Up Your Baby in the Car Seat
Before buckling up your baby into the car seat, make sure that the webbing doesn’t have any twists. Next is to click the buckle tongues into the buckle housing.
The buckling system of different companies may be a little different. In that case, you can take help from their official manual.
4. Tighten the Harness Straps:
- Descending the chest clip over the baby’s belly
- Tighten the straps while keeping them near the belly
- Pull up the shoulder straps keeping the chest clip low
It will gather the slack up to the shoulders
- Remove the slack by pulling the tail
Note: for newborns, there will remain a little gap between crotch straps and the baby’s belly. You can keep a washcloth there to ensure a secured harness.
5. Keep your baby warm in the car seat – Tips!
The newborn babies must be kept protected while outside for their safety. You can put a blanket over the harness straps.
Note: never put a blanket, thick clothing, and winter coats under the harness straps as it may cause suffocation and trouble in breathing for the child.
How Tight Should Car Seat Straps Be for Newborns?
Newborn car seat straps correct position is the one that neither suffocates them nor should be too loose. Newborn babies (if delivered at full-term):
“The harness straps should be tight enough that you can’t pinch any webbing between your fingers at your baby’s shoulder”
Most Common Mistakes in Car Seat Straps Adjustment
For beginners (even the experts) in using the car seat harness systems, there are a few mistakes that they can make.
The chances of harm to the children in car accidents elevate when they are not snugged properly.
If you are using the infant car seat, you must not do the following mistakes:
1. Improper fastening of harness straps:
While trying to avoid over-tightening, the parents usually leave the harness straps too loose.
“The harness strap should not allow any slack, it should be as snug as a hug”
The logic behind a tightened harness strap is that in an accident, they will keep the baby restrained, thus protecting them from getting even the slightest harm.
2. Chest clip not positioned at armpit level:
Properly positioned chest clips keep the child confined even in a violent crash by preventing the straps from breaking.
Note: It should neither be too low (the child may eject out of the straps) nor too high (may compress on baby’s throat).
3. Harness straps have twists in them:
Twisted harness straps are not considered as safer as straight straps.
The reason is that the twisted straps do not evenly distribute the baby’s weight on the car seat and the chances of injury elevate in such cases.
4. Car seat is not installed tightly:
Improper infant car seat installation is the obvious cause of injury to the child in car accidents.
Note: According to a report by the Child Seat Safety Team, out of 4 thousand child seat checks, 51% cases are those in which the car seats are not installed properly.
Infant car seats are designed to provide safety to the children while riding in cars. Knowing the newborn car seat straps correct position will keep them safe by blocking the damaging forces in car accidents.
It is advised to the parents to make sure that the car seat is installed properly, the harness straps are snugged tightly, chest clips are in the correct place, and the harness straps won’t have any twists in them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the car seat correct position for newborns?
From the age of 0-2 years, the babies should ride rear-facing in car seats.
How to adjust a newborn in car seat correctly?
Position the harness straps first according to the height of your child, buckle up your baby in the car seat, and then tighten the harness straps as mentioned above.
When to stop using 5 point harness?
When your child is 8+ years old, 49+ʺ in height, and has a weight of 60+ lbs. is time to stop using 5 point harness system.
How to put baby seat in car?
Infant car seats should be installed rear-facing in the car while for toddlers and older than 2 years, it can be installed forward-facing.
Will my car seat fit in my car?
Not all car seats fit in all types of cars. That is why you should buy a car seat that is compatible with your vehicle’s LATCH system.