No wonder chest clips on car seats are illegal!


55g yet crash testing cannot measure loads as chest clip is placed level with arm pits of the dummy, level with the steel bolt

Example of a number of car seat mis-uses chest clip anatomy
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      A child’s body is very fragile. Their rib cage is just soft cartilage and will not resist forces arising from the chest clip.
    Soft tissue is easily damaged (see image below):

    • Arteries
    • Heart
    • Lung tissue

In a car crash at just 30mph, a child will experience forces of up to 60g, This is huge and severe internal injury is very likely. See child on the right hand side of this video on our facebook page

Crash dummies cannot measure forces exerted by the chest clip (see below for detail of mannequin design)

What is the purpose of the chest clip?
The objective of the chest clip is to help prevent a child from getting their arms out of the harness and slipping the harness off their shoulders. Children push their hands under the harness, see image below for gap that children exploit.

Children expolit the gap between the gap between their torso and harness to leverage their way out of a car seat

Children expolit the gap between the gap between their torso and harness to leverage their way out of a car seat

The alternative safer solution is the 5 point plus harness that shields the gap that children exploit to push their arms under the harness. The 5 point plus has won the British Baby Products Association Innovation Award as well as the German Kind + Jugend innovation Award.

5pp integrated

Not only is the chest clip ineffective at making child seats child proof, the hard bulky object introduces additional risks to a toddler in the event of an accident. It does not matter where the chest clip is positioned, in the event of a collision, the chest clip will generate dangerous localised loads. A toddlers rib cage is not strong, just soft cartilage, and will not offer any protection (see below regarding design of crash dummies). The safer, more effective approach is discussed here The 5 point plus is available as standard on car seats or as a retro-fit accessory (excl USA & Canada).

Joanna Culley BA(hons) MMAA RMIP MIMI


Trauma risks to key organs and arteries

It stands to reason that having a hard bulky chest buckle on a child’s car seat is a significant factor in causing either thoracic or abdominal trauma in the event of an accident. For more information on viscous injury risks please read Viano’s and King’s Biomechanics of Chest and Abdomen Impact research paper

A toddler’s rib cage has not yet ossified and any trauma from a crash will penetrate through to the organs and arteries and not be dissipated around the rib cage.

A child’s chest experiences forces of up to 60g in the event of a collision at just 30mph. The chest buckle may not break on impact creating a hard surface that can exert considerable force to a child’s internal organs.

Internal injuries are not easily identified in young children and hospitals are very reluctant to carry out CT Scans due to radiation risks to young children.

Latest Q3 Crash Dummy Cannot Measure Dangers of Chest Clip to Arteries & Organs

Image of Q3 dummy. A steel bolt is located level with the axilla, preventing measurement of loads of chest clip when positioned here

A chest clip positioned where the sensor is would be considered a misuse! Yet the bolt prevents true injuries from being identified

The chest clip is found on child car seats sold in North America, but in Europe it is illegal and cannot be fitted to child car seats.

Car seat manufacturers are failing children and parents by not designing child proof car seats.

The simple action of a child undoing his chest clip and getting their arms out of the harness renders the car seat useless, and also increases driver distraction & accidents.

The issue of toddlers getting their arms out of the harness is solved by shielding the gap under the harness that toddlers push their arms through and not the chest clip

Find out how the “5 point plus” works and helps prevents the problem in the first place!

5pp integrated

Dorel (Maxi-Cosi / Bébé Confort) advised 4th April 2014:

“We will recommend the 5-point plus accessory to parents that call us and ask for a solution for their child that is freeing himself from his harness. We will also integrate the 5-point plus accessory in our FAQ at the website.”

“The evaluation is that the product works well, and that with this accessory it is quite impossible for children to get out of the 5-point harness.”

Read full news story
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Rear facing & forward facing seats that are designed to stop children getting their arms out of the harness.

Rear facing & forward facing seats that are designed to stop children getting their arms out of the harness.

The jury was unanimous: “The 5 Point Plus belt provides much improved safety for a child in a safety-seat.”bpa winner logo

Parents are often asking why isn’t the chest clip available in Europe?

Here are some of the reasons explaining why the chest clip is a flawed solution to the common problem of kids removing their shoulders from the harness:

  • The harness chest clip can break and pose a laceration and choking hazard (product recalls in 2010)
  • Risk of damaging wind pipe if clip is too high
  • If chest clip is too low, then there is a high risk of damaging internal organs. In the USA (January 2011), a child suffered a punctured lung due to a chest clip breaking the child’s rib

Crash tests using P series Dummies cannot detect the impact of chest clips on a child’s ribs as the legislation states that the manikins are constructed as follows:

2.3. Chest
2.3.1. The skeleton of the chest consists of a tubular steel frame on which the arm
joints are mounted. The spine consists of a steel cable with four threaded
2.3.2. The skeleton is coated with polyurethane. Measuring equipment can be housed
in the chest cavity. 

The measuring equipment that is housed in the chest is an accelerometer to monitor the forces experienced by the manikin during crash testing and not for measuring the forces exerted by the chest clip

  • Children often unbuckle the chest clip, making it ineffective (Research from Yale University confirmed this)
  • Children can easily move the clip upwards / downwards, making it ineffective and potentially dangerous
  • There have been instances in the USA where calluses can form when the chest clip rubs against the child’s chest bones, particularly those that are protruding
  • It has been known for parents to buckle the chest clip only, leaving the main buckle undone
  • Chest clip is an extra buckle to unfasten in the event of an emergency

The chest clip does not resolve the design flaw inherent in the car seat harness when used in a child environment, it is simply one approach with many problems to remedy the issue.

No wonder the chest clip is illegal within Europe!!!



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