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Dictionary of Child Safety Seat Terms

3-point harness: Webbing on a safety restraint system with three attachment points: two at the shoulder and one between the legs.

5-point harness: Webbing on a safety restraint system harness with five attachment points: two at the shoulder, two at the hips, one between the legs.

Base (of a child seat): The base of a child seat is the lower portion that rests on the vehicle seat. A detachable base that comes with many infant seats is used to permit a fixed installation into the vehicle allowing the child seat to be taken in and out of the vehicle without having to do a new installation each time.

Belt path or route: The manufacturer’s required place where the safety belt passes around or through the child restraint.

Best practice: Suggested options that represent most acceptable ways to travel for a child of certain age, size, physical development, and behavioral needs. Best practice may vary given real world circumstances.

Booster seats: Are intended to be used as a transition to lap and shoulder belts by older children who have outgrown convertible seats (over 40 pounds). The booster ralses the child so that the required lap and shoulder belts fit correctly. They are available in high backs, for use in vehicles with low seat backs or no head restraints, and no-back; booster bases only. Also known as a belt-positioning booster.

Car seat: Common term for a specially designed device that secures a child in a motor vehicle, meets federal safety standards, and increases child safety in a crash.

Chest clip: The chect clip is the device on the harness straps of the child safety seats used to position the straps properly on the child.

CPS: Child passenger safety.

Child safety seat (CSS) or car seat: A crash-tested device that is specially designed to provide infant/child crash protection. General term for infant-only convertible, combination, and booster seats.

Combination seat: A type of forward-facing child restraint that is used with an internal harness system to secure a child and then, with removal of the internal harness, is used as a high back belt-positioning booster (BPB) seat.

Convertible child safety seat: A child restraint that "converts" from rear-facing for infants to forward-facing for children.

Foam noodle: This is a is a foam rod or tube about 4-5 inches in diameter and five feet long; these are found in pool and toy stores. Cut off a piece the width of the child seat base and use to raise the base of the seat to obtain a 45-degree angle. A rolled up towel or newspapers, etc., serve the same purpose.

Forward-facing-only child safety seat: A child restraint system that is intended for use only in the forward-facing position for a child at least age 1 and at least 20 pounds.

Harness retainer clip: A plastic (sometimes cloth) tie or clasp that holds the shoulder straps close together over the child’s chest at armpit level.

Harness strap: This refers to the child seat straps used to secure the child into the safety seat.

Infant-only safety seat: A child restraint system designed for use only by a baby (usually weighing less than 17 - 22 pounds) in a semi-reclined rear-facing position.

LATCH: Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. Newer method to attach child safety seats to vehicles independent of the vehicle safety belts.

Locking clip: A flat H-shaped metal item intended to clip belt webbing together at a free-sliding latch plate in order to prevent the webbing from sliding through.

Lower anchors/lower anchorage system: Newer method to attach child safety seats to vehicles independent of the vehicle safety belts.

Safety belt: The webbing, anchor, and buckle system that restrains the occupant in the vehicle. Sometimes referred to as a seat belt.

Seat bight: The intersection between the bottom vehicle seat cushion and the back cushion. The seat crack.

Shoulder belt positioners or comfort guides: Devices (some built in and some add-ons) that can be used to reposition shoulder belts so they fit across the shoulder rather than across the neck.

Shoulder harness slots: Slots in the back of the child restraint through which shoulder straps are routed.

Tether anchor: The kit or installed hardware bracket used to secure the tether hook and strap at the designated anchor point in the vehicle. The tether strap and hook attach directly to the anchor bracket.

Tether strap: A piece of belt webbing that anchors the top of the child car seat to the vehicle structure. It keeps the restraint from tipping forward on impact and can provide an extra margin of protection. Can be optional or factory installed.

Protect children from traffic injuries. You can do it!

Content provided by the Minnesota Safety Council, AAA Clubs of Minnesota, Safe Kids Minnesota and the
Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety.