"Occupant retention with the 5 pt harness"


Car-Seat.org Ambassador
What does the phrase "occupant retention with the 5 point harness" mean? I see it advertised a lot -- does it just mean that the child doesn't go flying out? Isn't that, like, the definition of a car seat's purpose? I guess I just don't understand why car seat companies actively market this as being some kind of special feature...am I misunderstanding?

Also, on the list of features for the Extend2Fit, Graco says:

"In addition to meeting or exceeding all applicable US safety standards, the Extend2Fit[emoji769] convertible car seat has been side impact tested for occupant retention solely with the built-in 5-point harness system"

What is the implication of the word "solely" here? Does it just mean "occupant retention alone" -- that they didn't study injuries for side impact collisions and so they aren't making any claims about injury reduction --only whether the child stayed in the seat? Or does it mean "harness alone" -- that they tested the functionality of the harness to hold the child, even without the support of the rest of the seat?

Hope this makes sense!

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Forum Ambassador
It means it hasn't been side impact tested for retaining the occupant in booster mode with the seat belt. If the seat doesn't have a booster mode, it's wording carried over from their seats that do. Basically saying that their side impact testing only applies to harnessed mode.
Last edited:


Admin - CPS Technician
There's no federal standard for what side impact protection really should mean, so they give us the best they can with the assurance of 'occupant retention'.
The side impact standards have been in the pipeline for years and years, but it's expensive and tricky to get the dummies properly instrumented and injury criteria agreed upon, so there's nothing yet.
It does sound like maybe they copied and pasted from a 4Ever manual, though I *thought* some of the SIP-labeled boosters also have that 'for occupant retention' wording....? Maybe they just really don't want you to use the seat without a harness (sort of kidding, but you know, people might think they can just plop their kid in the seat and be good without using the straps...)
The TBSS has the wording " In addition to meeting or exceeding U.S. safety standards this seat meets both Graco's side impact testing and Europe's draft side impact standard" on it.

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