Child Safety Harness
Child Safety Harness
Child safety harnesses are designed for children 14 - 32kg.
Used with a child booster seat or on its own with the centre lap belt, alternatively can be used with a converted lap/sash belt. It MUST be attached to a tether point at all times.
The Child Safety Harness (CSH), can be used once your child outgrows his/her car seat at around 18kgs. The CSH comes over each shoulder, and attaches to the vehicle seat belt.
A child safety harness (CSH) according to Britax.com.au reduces injuries caused by lap-only. This is because the harness can be used with a lap only belt for children weighing 14-36kgs. The lap only belt should not be used by passengers, unless a CSH is being used with it. Alternatively the lap belt should be used to secure child restraints only.
The CSH also looks and feels similar to the harness found in a car seat. This means your child is more likely to want to use the CSH.
Left shows traditional 5(6) point harness. Right shows Protecta harness and lap belt. Seat shown is a Maxi Rider II. This seat can use the internal harness until 18kgs, the CSH protecta model for 14-26kgs, or the adult belt (lap/sash) 14-26kgs also. The CSH can be used on its own from 26-32kgs.
The child safety harness can be used either:
- With a full back polystyrene booster seat
- With a booster seat fitted with a "versa tether"
- A half booster
- On its own with a lap belt, or converted lap/sash belt (using a locking clip)
Putting your child in the harness.
- Place the child in the seat.
- Hook child safety harness to tether point located behind the seat (you cannot use bolts off to the side, or cargo hooks) - Do not tighten harness yet .
- Put harness over the child's body, thread lap belt through loops at the bottom of the harness.
- Buckle up and tighten seat belt. Always tighten lap belt before child safety harness.
- Tighten tether strap behind child (standard harness) or at the front of child safety harness (Protecta harness).
!! It is important to check that the lap belt sits low down over the child's hips across the strong pelvis. Some models do not allow the lap portion to sit down low enough, try to purchase a booster seat with low down belt guides for the lap belt, or an anti-submarine clip (shown in the yellow square below).
!! If your seat has an anti-submarine clip always use it. This prevents your child from sliding down under the seat belt during an accident. Major internal injuries could result if the booster seat and adult belt are not used together correctly.
Yellow arrow shows child harness attached to tether point (installed on parcel tray of a sedan).
Yellow square shows anti-submarine clip. This clip prevents the child from sliding out under the lap portion of the seat belt in a sudden stop or accident. It is not available on all child restraints. It also helps to position the lap belt low down over the child's lap, so it does not interfere with their internal organs during an accident (reducing injury risk).
The Protecta harness can be used through the seat slots, attached to the Versa tether or over the top back of the seat, also attached to the Versa tether. Use with the seats slots until your child's shoulders are level with the top seat belt slot.
- To convert the belt you need to sit the child in the seat where the lap/sash belt is, buckle the belt up, and then hold the sash portion onto the lap portion, by the child’s hips.
- Lock it into place using a locking clip, and then feed the converted belt through the harnesses loops.
- I would suggest only using this method when the lap belt is in use (securing a child restraint) as the locking clip does not allow movement between the lap/sash portions. It takes time to adjust as the child grows. Patience is needed
!! Always place the locking clip away from the child, as shown in the above image, red square.
!! If using the converted belt method take caution in hot weather as the locking clip may burn. Ensure your child has their legs covered to prevent injury or burns.
Some booster seats (Infa Vario, Secure Cindy II and Maxi Rider II) are now being made available in New Zealand with "Versa Tether" straps.
This means that the booster seat can be tethered to the vehicle as you do a car seat, and also a child safety harness.
The image below shows a Versa Tether - The bolt remains the same as seen on toddler car seats - with an additional piece where the child safety harness can be attached (left side of photo).
Please note: In America the terms, "Versa Tether" refers to a tether strap that can be tethered both the Australian way, and the Swedish way. Swedish tethering (below, right) is NOT used in Australia and can only be used in New Zealand with the Radian XTSL car seat.
The Australian method (below, left) is used here - and only for seats with a dual tether - where two (2) straps, one on each side, come out of the sides of the seat. Versa tethers in NZ can only be used with a forward facing child restraint, and are used to tether the seat, and attach a CSH or Protecta harness.
The angle of the Australian method (above, left) is not correctly represented - a 45 degree angle is required for rear facing children.
!! A child harness cannot be used in the a vehicle position where there is a split in the seat back. The harness may fall into this gap offering poor protection to your child
!! Centre only belts should be used with a harness, or to secure a child restraint only, never use the lap belt alone to secure a child in a booster seat without a harness.