Harnessing a Car Seat

Rear-facing installation

When installed rear-facing, the harness straps should be positioned at or below the child’s shoulders.

Forward-facing install

When installed forward-facing, the harness straps should be positioned at or above the child’s shoulders.

Chest clip

The chest clip should always be closed and positioned at armpit level.

Check harness

To check the harness for tightness, pinch the strap at the child’s shoulders. You should not be able to pinch the harness webbing together.

Approved Accessories

Only accessories provided or approved by CYBEX should be used with CYBEX car seats. This includes infant inserts, harness covers, seat protectors, etc. Use of accessories or parts from other manufacturers could alter the performance of the child restraint.

Cold Weather

In cold weather, place a blanket over the child once they are harnessed in their car seat. Bulky coats can create additional space between the child and harness, making it difficult to properly adjust the harness and secure the child.

Car Seat Harnessing and Child Fit FAQs

I am having a hard time tightening the harness of my child’s rear-facing convertible car seat. Is there anything that can make it easier?

Car seats that adjust by pulling a strap at the front of the car seat between the child’s legs, generally adjust more smoothly when pulling in a downward motion. However, when installed in a rear-facing position, it can be harder to pull downward on the strap. Try these steps:

  1. Place your child in the seat and buckle the harness.
  2. Pull the chest clip out towards you. This will tighten the harness across the child’s legs and gather all of the slack towards the shoulders.
  3. Next, pull the strap between the child’s legs to remove the slack. Make sure the chest clip does not slide up towards the child’s face.
  4. Position the chest clip at armpit level and check the harness for tightness by pinching at the child’s shoulders.

When I position my infant in her rear-facing car seat, there is a gap between her bottom and the buckle strap. Is there anything I can do to improve her positioning?

CYBEX car seats come with positioning inserts, which should be used per the instructions in your car seat manual. Using the insert that came with your car seat, may help eliminate the gap between your child and the buckle.
If the positioning insert does not eliminate the gap, you may use a small wash cloth to help fill in this gap with CYBEX rear-facing car seats. To use: place your child in the car seat, buckle and tighten the harness so that you cannot pinch any webbing when testing at the child’s shoulders. Once tightened, slide the wash cloth in the gap between your child and the crotch buckle.
If needed, you may also use tightly rolled receiving blankets placed next to your child to center him/her in the car seat. The positioning blankets should never be placed under the child, between the child and the harness, or near a child’s mouth, face and neck.

My child is using a booster seat and has a hard time reaching the vehicle buckle. Can I use a seat belt extender to make it easier for him to reach?

Belt-positioning booster seats are designed to raise the child up and help to position the vehicle lap and shoulder belt correctly. When a child is properly positioned in a belt-positioning booster seat so that the vehicle restraint system can be used, the child’s risk of injury in all types of crashes is reduced. In the event of a crash, the vehicle seat belt system provides all of the crash protection for a child in a belt positioning booster seat. Because a seat belt extender modifies the existing vehicle seat belt system, it should be approved for use by the vehicle manufacturer prior to use with a booster seat.

My child’s head falls forward in her forward-facing car seat, especially when she sleeps. What can I do?

First, consider whether your child should be moved back to a rear-facing car seat, which often provide additional recline and may help prevent your child’s head from falling forward. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain rear-facing until they meet the upper height and weight limits of their rear-facing car seat.
Next, if you decide to keep your child forward-facing – check to see if his/her car seat offers a recline option, which may help keep your child’s head resting on the restraint. Many forward-facing car seats offer a mechanism to provide a semi-recline for installation. Be sure to check your instruction manual for weight restrictions and proper use of this car seat feature. Additionally, many CYBEX car seat and booster seat models offer a three-position reclining headrest to improve comfort and positioning.
Finally, if allowed by the vehicle manufacturer, the vehicle seat can be slightly reclined when installing the car seat. Reclining the vehicle seat may also help keep your child’s head resting on the restraint. The installation instructions of both the vehicle and car seat manufacturer must be followed and you must be able to achieve a secure and correct installation.