When looking for a car seats for your baby, particularly your first one, it can get quite confusing to decide which one is better. This is why it is important to understand the differences between the seats before you purchase one. One of the main differentiators between car seats is the Harness, so let us have a look at the differences between a 5-point and a 3-point harness for car seats.
The major difference between a 5-point harness and a 3-point harness is the number of straps used to harness the baby into the seat. A 5-point harness has two straps over the baby’s shoulders, one which is routed between the baby’s legs and another two straps which secure the baby’s hips. The 3-point harness, on the other hand, has straps on the baby’s shoulders and between the legs but nothing secures the baby’s hips. Basically, the more straps used, the better the baby is harnessed, and a 5-point harness provides a more secure harnessing than a 3-point harness. There have been situations where babies got out of their shoulder straps, this is much less common with 5 point harnesses.
When it comes to absorbing the extreme forces of a collision, 5-point harnesses are also better. They distribute the forces across the baby’s strongest parts, the shoulders, back and hips and they keep the head, neck, shoulders and hips firmly protected. The protection of the 3-point harness, on the other hand, is not as good. With no straps around the baby’s hips, the shoulders and back absorb all of the forces which can lead to extreme pressure on these areas and even the ejection of the baby from the car seat.
Simple Parenting believes that a 5-point harness better protects a baby in case of an accident.
In case of an accident, forces are transferred to the car seat and to the baby. The baby’s rigid body parts (shoulders and hips/pelvis bone) can withstand the high load forces of a crash better than the soft body parts (lower abdomen). With a 5-point harness the baby’s abdomen area is better protected and it does not have to endure such high loads.
The shoulder straps can be easily adjusted to the correct shoulders’ height, which ensures that the forces during an accident are best transferred to the car seat shell and the rigid shoulder bones of the child.
In addition, in case of an accident a child might be ejected from the car seat. A 5-point harness ensures that the child is better secured and keeps the child in the safest position within the protective seat shell.