Harness straps are two long straps attached to a buckle that keeps the child in the car seat and spreads out crash forces.
Generally, child car seats (child restraint system, CRS) come equipped with a 3-point or a 5-point harness in Group 0+ seats, and only a 5-point harness is used in Group 1 CRS.
These two types of harnesses are defined as below:
- 5-Point: This harness has five points of contact that includes one over each shoulder, one on each side of the pelvis, and one between the legs with all five coming together at a common buckle.
- 3-Point: This harness has three points of contact that includes two shoulder straps coming together with one buckle in the shell or on a crotch strap (DO NOT CONFUSE this with the vehicle 3-point belt.
The higher the number of points, the better it is at spreading crash forces. But why does a Group 0+ child restraint – which is for a fragile baby – might have a 3-point harness?
Because Group 0+ is ALWAYS installed rear-facing and the crash forces are spread throughout the back of the seat during a collision, putting much less force on the child and better protecting their neck and spine.
Learn more here what tests are carried out before they approve the use of a harnessing system.