Crotch Buckle Placement - Where does it go and how do you know?
Crotch buckle what? Also known as a harness buckle, this is the big buckle that the harness clicks into in your child’s car seat. It usually has a large red release button and is in between your child’s thighs.
So, what’s the deal with this buckle? You have heard it before and I’m here to say it again…READ YOUR MANUAL. Your manual will tell you where the crotch buckle should be. Weight, age, forward facing vs rear facing and even placement on child can all dictate where that crotch buckle should be. Not all car seats have more than one crotch buckle slot though, so identify that on your seat before you spend hours scouring your manual. You can identify how many crotch buckle locations you have by looking at your seat. If there are no empty slots in the seat in the area where your child’s legs/thighs/knees sit, you probably only have one. Alternatively, if the crotch buckle on your seat comes from too far away from your child (which can be the case if your seat only has one slot), this can leave a gap between your child and the buckle. This gap can be problematic for infants and possibly children with health concerns because it can allow room for their bum to slide forward and this can create chin to chest head slump. Some infant seats have specific routing instructions for the crotch buckle for smaller infants, an easy example of why your manual is your friend and why you NEED to read it.
If your crotch buckle isn’t in the correct position, it can impact the way your seat performs in a crash as well as the comfort and fit for your child. A short crotch buckle becomes uncomfortable for some children as it can push on their groin. If the crotch buckle slot is under their bottom, this causes the webbing to come from under them as well and it can also be uncomfortable and it also may mean that it’s time to move it out one (This will certainly be stated in your manual if applicable). Some manufacturers don’t allow the buckle to come from underneath a child’s bum, it must be close to or in front of the child.
As always, questions/comments/concerns, please let us know!