Car Seat Harness Too Tight?


New member
Hi everyone,
I strap my child (6months) in the car seat and I ensure that she passes the pinch test however I am afraid the car seat straps are too tight on her. We originally were using Chicco Key Fit 30 and the straps would leave marks and dig into her neck (even with the strap protectors on), we adjusted the strap harness to make sure it was in the correct spot but this continued to happen.

We just bought the Britax Marathon Dual Comfort and today when we went out she was SCREAMING and was difficult to calm down even after taking her out of the car seat. I performed the pinch test because obviously it is important for me for her to be strapped in safely but when I took her out she did have marks (indentations) where the straps lay. This makes me so anxious because I don't know how to know if it's too tight and I definitely don't want it to be too loose either so I feel like I can't win! Any help would be appreciated.


Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
Hi. I'd say that if the straps are leaving marks on her neck even with the harness pads on then the harness is too snug. You shouldn't be able to take a pinch of the harness above the chest clip when it's positioned at armpit level. It works out to be about an average woman's finger's width of space under the harness at the shoulder. There will always be space under the harness at the belly, so don't worry about space there. Here's a graphic of the pinch test in case a picture helps.


  • Pinch Test.jpg
    Pinch Test.jpg
    1.6 MB · Views: 18


Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
If you're scared you're overtightening, try the reverse pinch test.

Pinch the material, and hold it while you tighten the harness. When the material pulls out, double check that there's nothing you can pinch, and then you're done. Don't go further.

If you've been overtightening, it'll probably feel panic inducingly loose. But it's passing the pinch test and it's fine.


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