Harness Pinch-Test Pics

Defrost

Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus
I said in another thread I'd take pics of how I do the pinch-test.

I put one finger under the harness, so I can pull it up to fold with my thumb and forefinger; then I remove the finger under the harness once I've "pinched." I always check near the child's collarbone.

This harness is too loose; I could easily fold it in half:


So I grab the harness near the child's stomach and pull it up, which pulls out the slack around the child's hips/thighs (note that some carseats, like the EFTA, tighten at the bottom of the harness instead of the top, so this step should be skipped on those seats):


Next, I pull the harness adjuster strap, and test again. Still too loose - I can still pinch the harness together:


I pull the harness adjuster strap again, and pinch again. Now it's tight enough. My fingers slip off the harness when I try to fold it:


This harness is too tight. The Nautilus has a very smooth adjuster, so it will easily let you over-tighten the harness, but it's possible to over-tighten the harness on any carseat. Note that I can still fit a finger under the harness, but it's still too tight. My DD was unable to take a deep breath with the harness this tight:


There's nothing unsafe about having a harness too tight, except that it's uncomfortable and unnecessary. Kids can be both safe and comfortable in their carseats. :thumbsup:
 
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mish

New member
Thanks! I do the pinch test, too, but it is nice to have pictures. I am totally guilty of overtightening the harness on Adam's Nautilus. He keeps wanting it tighter though. I think he likes the feeling of it for some reason. Strange kid.
 

MomToEliEm

Moderator
Great explanation of how to test. I would love to see this post copied over to the "articles" forum so I could easily find it when needed.
 

BookMama

Moderator
Thanks Debbie - great visual aids! I know that I tend to overtighten once in a while, especially on my Britax seats (but believe me, both kids let me know when I do :rolleyes:).

I tried to give you rep but apparently I need to spread the love first. :)
 

Defrost

Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus
Glad everyone likes them! I wish the "pinch" was easier to see, but it was the best I could do with a black harness.

I would love to see this post copied over to the "articles" forum so I could easily find it when needed.

That would be fine by me. :D
 

southpawboston

New member
thanks for the visuals. i have a question. when you do the pinch test, is it okay to use three fingers? i mean, i understand using the thumb and forefinger for the pinch, but can you use your middle finger behind the strap to help grab the harness with the other two fingers? am i making sense? or do you have to use only the thumb and forefinger to initially grab the harness? pic #3 looks like you're using two fingers, but pic #4 looks like you're using three fingers.
 

Defrost

Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus
thanks for the visuals. i have a question. when you do the pinch test, is it okay to use three fingers? i mean, i understand using the thumb and forefinger for the pinch, but can you use your middle finger behind the strap to help grab the harness with the other two fingers? am i making sense? or do you have to use only the thumb and forefinger to initially grab the harness? pic #3 looks like you're using two fingers, but pic #4 looks like you're using three fingers.

I always use three fingers - you just can't see it in the first two pics because the harness was loose enough that I was able to pinch. I put my middle finger under the harness, then attempt to pinch. That's how I did it in tech class and no one said it was wrong, though I'll admit I never asked or paid attention to how the instructors did it.

I've seen videos where people just slide their thumb and forefinger along the shoulder, but if you do that with a too-loose harness, you pull up clothing or even skin. I think it also leads to people getting the harness too tight - they slide their fingers along the top of the harness, and if anything bunches up at all, even if it doesn't pinch together, they tighten.

If you compare how I did it above to the old "two fingers" method, it's very similar. In the too-tight pic, I could only slide one finger under the harness; in the "just-right" pic, I could fit two fingers side-by-side, and in the others I could fit more than two fingers. The only reason we don't use the two-fingers method anymore is because people have very different-sized fingers (not because it wasn't tight enough.)
 

mommycat

Well-known member
Thanks. I think I am probably over-tightening. But the kids don't complain! And hey, maybe it makes up for all the times everyone else leaves them too loose, despite all my nagging. :rolleyes:
 

Defrost

Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus
Thanks. I think I am probably over-tightening. But the kids don't complain!

If they're not complaining, I wouldn't worry about it. Some kids like it more snug - it's a sensory thing. :)

And hey, maybe it makes up for all the times everyone else leaves them too loose, despite all my nagging. :rolleyes:

Sadly, it doesn't. Otherwise, I could skip my insurance payments because I didn't get in a wreck and use my insurance for several months. ;)
 

mommycat

Well-known member
I guess in the end my insisting will pay off, because DS is starting to ask daddy and grandparents to tighten him more.
 

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