For quite some time, the seat belt locking clip served as a means to fasten lap and shoulder belts when installing car seats. However, the significant impact of new trends resulted in their multiple options.
Therefore, there are various locking clip types and multiple reasons why you should use them when traveling in any vehicle. Since their main objective is to protect the persons sitting in cars, it seems that you can rarely find vehicles without the seat belt locking clips nowadays.
The primary motive for this is the fact that they protect seats from tipping. This way, the chair you installed - lightweight or more robust - won't lock you tighter if there are bumps on the road.
However, that's not the only reason why you should use them. So, let's see why they are the best option for you and your children! Shall we?
About a Seat Belt Locking Clip
Whether you know or you don't know what a seat belt locking clip is, I, as a safety technician, will explain it to you here.
Seat belt locking clips are are small metal parts attached to the seat belts, and they serve to keep your child and seat stable. They will keep the shoulders and lap tightly and will also prevent their sliding or dropping. Of course, they will protect seat belts from slipping away too.
You must know that these safety equipment pieces might be challenging and tiresome for you to install. However, as a reward, your kiddo will be safe and protected in the car seat when you do it properly! No matter whether you use an Uber, a cab, or a rented car, make sure your little one is safe and secure, and then continue your adventure.
Locking Clips: One Type or More Types?
As a safety technician, I need to tell you that there are two locking clips: the LATCH and classic seat belt locking pins. What is the difference between these two?
Let's begin with the LATCH seat belt locking clips. The LATCH is an abbreviation for lower anchors and tethers for children. The very name explains that the locking clips serve to protect your little ones' in the seat, especially in the lower parts, so that they cannot move or slip away. The LATCH will keep them stable and secure during the ride.
LATCH is straightforward to use - you can effortlessly hook or push in the clips and later tighten the strap. If you must install car seats, the process is the same - string the seatbelts through the paths, buckle them up, and pull them out before the places feedback in at the top. The new US laws interpret this last step as locking at the retractor.
However, not everywhere can you find these clip systems. And for those who don't use them, the installation is more accessible. But, if the seat contains a shoulder/lap belt that you can't lock with the retractor, you might need something else to help you with it.
What Locking Clips Are Suitable For You?
The right answer to this question varies for many reasons. Mostly, it depends on where you are planning to travel or what type of car seat your children use.
For instance, if you want to travel abroad - to Europe, Australia, Canada, etc., you will use the LATCH seat belt locking clips. The same refers here, in the USA, so if you travel from one state to another, you can also use LATCH locking pins.
What's the heck here?
It's the fact that in some other countries, the LATCH system has another name - ISOFIX or LUAS, for instance; therefore, you need to search for those locking clips if you plan to visit some other parts of the world.
Another option can be a retractor too. If your child's weight doesn't overpass the importance of the car seat, you can easily attach the clips to the retractors, and your seat will be ready for use.
However, if your little one exceeds the maximum weight and height limit of the seat, it would be the best option if you took some clips. I always get various questions on how parents should behave when they find themselves in these problems. I always tell them to bring their clip. This way, your children will have the ultimate safety standards, and you can easily install the pin.
Contrary to LATCH attachments, there are classic seat belt locking clips. They are as crucial as LATCH because these offer an effortless installation process too. Follow me here: you need to pull the strap through the two free spaces known as arms, and then you need to tighten the seat belt. I'm sure it won't be complicated for you, follow the steps, and you'll achieve the best results!
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The Installation Process - Tips & Tricks
What shall you do when you get a seat belt locking clip and don't know how to install it correctly? CALL a safety technician/instructor!
People find it easier to do something on their own, but of course, you'll call someone experienced when your baby is the priority. The CPSTs and instructors will help you and guide you step-by-step in this process if you want to install clips properly.
One possible alternative is to watch various videos with, again, instructions to the letter. These videos will also guide you on installing the clips correctly, but my recommendation is to call an expert if you don't trust videos or yourself too much.
However, I will add extra details that you need to know before installing them: use both shoulder and lap belt, made of the same material, and the clip needs to slip without any obstacles along the seat belt in question.
Car Seats With (NO) Additional Locking Clips
You may already be conscious that there are multiple car seats with already installed locking systems. These mechanisms in advance keep your children safe since you don't need other clips to tighten their seat belts and provide better protection.
If your seats come with these clips, you'll get instruction manuals to see how to install or use them properly. Also, those seats don't usually come with additional locking pins. So, if your chairs don't have the necessary clips, please contact the manufacturer to send you a hook or ask a safety technician to help you install it.
You might find various infant car seats that DO have extra lock-offs, and you don't need to buy one. Such examples are Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi Coccoro, and many others. Of course, you can find them all on Amazon and consult the manufacturer or safety technician for necessary information about the setup process and how to choose wisely.
We've come to an end. Now, let's revise!
As you can see, the seat belt locking clip is essential and useful as they add more protection and keep your children safer. But you have to follow the steps on how to use and place them correctly on the seat belts.
You can also observe some seats that don't need the clips, but you'll have to be careful and check their bases and whether they come with additional clips, or that's not the case.
Finally, the locking clips are an excellent choice if you want to prevent children's injuries and tighten them better in their seats. This way, they won't slip away and can travel with you wherever you go!