The most important part of a safety seat or child restraint system (CRS) is its harness system.
A rear-facing CRS has an energy management system focusing on the frame of the seat. During a frontal collision, a child will be pressed to CRS frame and the energy from the impact will be distributed to the frame/shell, saving the child’s head, neck and spine. The harness in this orientation is more about holding the child in place rather than a major part of the energy management system.
For a forward-facing CRS, the harness is the major device that will spread the impact to the entire area covered by it, effectively reducing injury. It will also hold your child from being thrown out during the collision. The position of the lap straps is important in this orientation because CRS is designed to hold the child on its strongest body parts, which is the bones, on the chest and pelvic bones.
Figure 1 shows a child strapped with a black harness. The best position for a lap straps are at the pelvic area.
But, when the crotch strap is too long causing the buckle to ride up to the belly, the lap straps will also ride above the pelvis and sit on the waistline instead (refer to Fig. 2, harness in red). Although the difference of the position is only a few centimetres, in forward-facing orientation, this is dangerous because the impact will be focusing on the soft parts of the body around the waist/stomach and not on the hip/pelvis as it should be.
Is your CRS tailored to your child’s physical development? Is there a way to correct any errors that violate these standards?
Contact us if you hesitate about the safety of your child in his/her CRS!