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  1. #1
    MamaParis Guest

    Default Why do Euro infant car seats only have 3 pt harnesses?

    OK - I just have too much time on my hands I guess - but I was wondering if any of you all know why the infant seats in the European market only have 3 pt harnesses?
    Like even the ones with a US equaalent with a 5 pt harness - still only have a 3 pt harness in the Euro market.
    Like the US Primo Viaggio has a 5 pt - the European one has a 3 pt.
    and so on.

    Why is that?

    Also, whats their deal with not having any bases on their infant seats?

    And does there just happen to be a European carseat with a 5 pt harness and a bsae with LATCH?

    Just thinking about this I guess and I couldn't find any answers. I have a friend who has a Eurp infant seat and yes, its a nice seat - but why would one choose a 3 pt harness over a 5 pt and why would one choose to HAVE to install the seat over and over and over again without a base and without LATCH? or isofix or whatever they call it.

    just wondering ...

  2. #2
    MamaParis Guest

    Default RE: Why do Euro infant car seats only have 3 pt harnesses?

    and also ... isn't there like some Chicco infant seat coming out thats supposed to be way cool?

    any word or info about that one?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003

    Default RE: Why do Euro infant car seats only have 3 pt harnesses?

    Hi Paris. I don't know anything about the European seats. My guess is that they just haven't done as extensive research as the Americans have regarding the 3-pt. vs. 5-pt. harnesses. As for the base vs. baseless install, I think they may have a requirement that the shoulder belt be routed behind the infant seat back which would mean that you couldn't use a base. It's actually quite easy to install a baseless seat that way, so it's not too much of a hassle, but still there's so much room for error.

    The last I heard about the Chicco Key Fit is that it's due out this month. I really liked it when I had a chance to try it out in May.

    Heather, CPS Tech

  4. #4
    momtojoshua2002 Guest

    Default RE: Why do Euro infant car seats only have 3 pt harnesses?

    I can't speak for other European countries but Sweden advocates the 3 point harness stating that in case of an accident, the 5-point harness keeps the shoulders in place (obviously) but moves the pressure that the accident would create from the shoulders up to the head instead. So the neck and head are impacted as a result of this.

    The 3-point harness allows for the pressure in case of an accident or if someone just steps on the breaks very hard, to be more evenly distributed over the body.

    But then also, Sweden advocates that you keep your child rear facing until 4 or 5 years of age. I know the child has to be at least 30 Ibs to be forward facing, but they do advocate that you keep them RF until about 4, because the risk of injury in case of an accident is reduced from 95% (FF) to 50% (RF).

    They do have 5-point harnesses too (I believe the car seats come with that clip that you can attach if you want to???), but advocates for the use of 3-point if possible.

    I'll do more research later today and see what I can find (I can contact someone with questions as well), but this is what I could find off hand, and what I know from my own experience. When we go to visit family and get a rental car with a car seat, they always attach it RF for DS (last time we went was last summer when he was 2.5 yrs old), and the seat had 3-p harness.

  5. #5
    MamaParis Guest

    Default RE: Why do Euro infant car seats only have 3 pt harnesses?

    Thanks Heather and Ida ...

    I'd love to know more about the 3 pt vs the 5 pt thing, if you find anything else out Ida.

    And thats good to hear about the Chicco infant seat coming out soon. :)

    Thanks guys!

  6. #6
    momtojoshua2002 Guest

    Default RE: Why do Euro infant car seats only have 3 pt harnesses?

    Ok, I’m waiting for an email back for clarification, because I did find some information that leads me to believe that the RF car seats are being replaced with 5 point harnesses in Sweden, although if I go to Britax’s Swedish web page, the seats featured there are all 3 point…..

    But I just wanted to clarify what I had posted this morning, as I think I misunderstood what I read at that point.

    This is what I now know:

    1.All children in Sweden should be RF until about 4 years of age.
    2.Most seats that you would buy here in the US that are convertible are only RF in Sweden. Britax has one seat that can be used both RF and FF; the “Two-Way?.
    3.I found one post about the Two-Way having a 5 point harness but the pictures don’t show that so I’m utterly confused over this. Will wait for clarification, maybe I’ll email Britax in Sweden as well. Maybe what they call 5 point we call 3 point??
    4.Having said this, a 5 point harness should not be used in FF. This is due to the facts I posted about this morning (about the head injuries as a result of the shoulders being restrained) but I misunderstood what they were talking about. They were talking about the car’s 3 point seat belt, not the car seat’s 3 point harness. So since you should not use the 5 point harness in the car seat in Sweden for FF, you need to wait with putting your child FF until he/she is 4, so he/she is old enough so that you can use your car seat AND secure your child with the car’s seatbelt only! The harness in the car seat is at that point removed completely.

    I’m not sure if I’m making sense………. But I guess bottom line is that car seats in Sweden don’t have 5 point harnesses for FF, because they should be in a RF until 4 yrs of age, and at that time, they are big enough to be in a seat where the child and the seat can be secured with the car seat belt only.

    That still doesn’t answer the questions as to why there are RF infant car seats out there that have only 3 point harness, so I’m still investigating this one.

    Also, I’m finding this extremely interesting myself and will now keep DD RF as long as possible (DS should be fine, he’s 3.5 yrs old). But imagine a child that’s 1 yrs of age where the head is 25% of its body, and you have this child FF. 5 point harness aside, the impact that the head and neck will take if there is a crash is enormous compared to the child being RF (about 6 times as much pressure when it’s FF compared to RF!).

    Thanks Paris for getting me to investigate this, because I’m now super concerned about FF placement of car seats and have to do more research..... and sorry for kinda twisting the subject but I find the different rules very interesting! (I know the original question was regarding the infant seats and 3 pt harness, and I'm waiting to hear back re: this and the lack of infant seat base as well.)

  7. #7
    DisneyLovnMom Guest

    Default RE: Why do Euro infant car seats only have 3 pt harnesses?

    If you look at Bebe Confort, their infant seats are recommended for short trips only, under an hour and a half. The Windoo Carrycot is what's recommended for longer car trips.

    FWIW all of DHs cousins who've had babies recently use the stroller with carrycot or a pram, they're not using the car seat outside of the car, it's just a different way of thinking.

    I haven't seen a LATCH seat but I haven't looked recently either. Bebe Confort and Renault have an isofix system for the infant seats, we just haven't had a chance to try it out since we have an Opel and DILs have an older Renault that we don't put the kids in.

  8. #8
    MamaParis Guest

    Default RE: Why do Euro infant car seats only have 3 pt harnesses?

    Very interesting!

    I'm so glad you are taking the time to post all of this - I always like to save this stuff for future reference!

    I'm really big on extended RF. My DD is 2.5 and is RF still as well as my one year old DS ... others may think I'm nuts and probably 90% of the people where I live turn their babies to FF at like 6-9 months old - but I feel better with the kids RF until they can't RF anymore! ;)

    Thanks again Ida and please post back with any more info you find out!

    I always hear conflicting opinions on whos testing methods are better .. US, European etc ... and I'd like to be able to one day just sit down and look at all of the stuff I've save over the last couple years and decide for myself! :)

    Thanks again!

  9. #9
    MamaParis Guest

    Default RE: Why do Euro infant car seats only have 3 pt harnesses?

    Oh yes, I'm really big on not using the infant seat outside of the car!

    I have my prams and newborn friendly strollers and baby carriers for transporting my baby outside of the car as well :)

    I always try to think as to what I would prefer if I were a little newborn out and about.

    Would I want to be snugly secured into a plastic carseat with no where to move? Or Laying in a carrycot with space to stretch and move and BREATHE! ;)
    Or carried and so on.

    I'm not sure how I feel about the car beds like the Windoo ... but the Maxi Cosi Cabrio abd Bebe COnfort Infant seats have always appealed to me for their newborn friendliness as well as those DEEP side wings and larger limits ...


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    East Coast

    Default RE: Why do Euro infant car seats only have 3 pt harnesses?

    I'll throw these out here more as ideas than facts since my memory is murky about what I read and the reliability of the source.

    1. I think there are differences in the seatbelts that might be used ot attach a car seat, and accounting for that variation is one reason car seat standards differ in countries. In the US, I think lap belts in back seats were allowed much long than in Europe , so car seat regulations in the US have to account for the range of cars on the roads. THat might relate to requiring a base.

    2. Not sure if there is a significant difference in safety between an infant rearfacing seat with 3 vs. 5 point harness. I think a CPS tech on these boards implied there wasn't much difference.

    3. I think car seats in Europe cannot have a chest clip because there can be only one release point for car seats (for a faster release? Seems unlikely that in a life-threatening situation, there would be enough time for speed of release to be a factor.)

    4. Americans expect high convenience in all their products, and the snap in and out mentality of using a base suits us perfectly. Europeans just may not demand this convenience as much.

    5. I read car seat brochures in Belgium that say babies can be put in the FRONT seat, rearfacing, as long as there are no airbags, and I saw people do it there. I don't think you'd ever read anything in the US that suggested doing this.

    6. I do believe that a car seat directly installed with a seat belt is more secure than one installed in a base, where it's the base rather than the seat that is actually belted in. So maybe bases are considered inferior in Europe even if they are convenient.

    I just gave away my Euro car seat today to someone here in the US who really wanted it despite the lack of a base, so I was just talking about this this morning. I put it on freecycle and someone else wanted it just as a backup seat and really wish I had ignored first come, first served and given it to him.
    Advice and commentary on living overseas

    DD1 15, DD2 12, and DS 9

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