3 Point Vs. 5 Point Car Seat – All You Need To Know


Welcome to the Ultimate Guide on How To Choose Between 3 Point vs 5 Point Car Seats.

If you’re anything like me, you won’t choose a car seat for your little ones without extensive research. Let’s face it – safety and comfort are non-negotiable when it comes to our little ones. But with so many factors to consider such as age, weight, and special requirements, making a choice can be daunting.

Don’t worry though – after extensive research and personal experience with my own children, I’ve got you covered.

3 Point Vs 5 Point Car Seat

To choose the right car seat for your kid, there are several factors to consider. For instance, what’s your child’s age and weight?

You see, with an overwhelming variety in the market, you need to be aware of all these details. So, which is better: a 3-point or a 5-point car seat?

Whether you have any special requirements or simply want to pamper your kid, we have the solution for you.

So sit back, relax (if that’s even possible with kids around), and let me help you make an informed decision on which type of car seat is best suited for your family’s needs.

Ok, just show me already!

What Is the Difference Between a 3-Point and a 5-Point Harness Car Seat?

Whether your car seat is rear or forward-facing, you should pick one with either a 3-point or a 5-point harness. In simpler terms, the main difference lies in the number of straps holding your child into the car seat.

The 3-point harness features two straps from the top and one from the bottom. The three straps buckle at the kid’s crotch to hold his torso to the car seat. This setting is designed to secure the child in place.

On the other hand, the 5-point harness car seat has two from the top, two near the hips, and one at the bottom. The five straps also buckle at the child’s crotch. These straps help you position your kid safely.

Is a 5-Point Harness Car Seat Safer Than a 3-Point?

Yes, it is.

Think about it that way, the 5-point harness car seat features two additional hip straps. It goes without saying that these extra straps mean more protection for your baby.

In other words, with more straps holding the child into place, any impact will be more evenly distributed.

Originally, a 5-point harness car seat is designed for racing cars. It provides the same level of safety given to racers. In fact, a 5-point harness car seat offers ultimate protection.

It somehow hugs children tightly. This type of car seat prevents submarining and injuries. With five different straps around every part of the child’s torso, there’s no chance of misplacement; trust me!

On the other hand, the 3-point harness car seat is just like a typical safety belt. It simply secures the child in place. Without the additional hip straps, your child is loosely secured into position.

Is a 3-Point Harness Seat Belt Legal in the US?

Yes, it is. However, you must know that being legal isn’t about the number of straps.

The US law requires that children sit in car seats with certain specifications for every state. If your 3-point harness car seat passes the inspection, it’s legal.

In this respect, there’s no difference between a 3-point and a 5-point harness car seat as long as they pass the test.

What Is the Age Limit for a 3-Point and 5-Point Harness Car Seat?

The number of straps doesn’t really make a difference in the age limit of car seats.

That being said, we recommend that you use a 5-point harness car seat for younger children to hold them more tightly in place.

When the child reaches two years old, you can switch to a 3-point harness car seat if you want. At this age, your child is big and strong enough to sit correctly in the car seat.

In other words, I believe every rear-facing car seat should be of a 5-point harness.

What Is the Weight Limit for a 3-Point and 5-Point Harness Car Seat?

This is another criterion that doesn’t depend on the number of straps.

The distinction here is rather between rear and front-facing car seats. For instance, rear-facing car seats can take up to 50 lbs, while front-facing car seats can accommodate kids up to 65 lbs.

In addition, every model has a specific weight limit that’s usually set by the manufacturer right on the box.

What Is the Height Limit for a 3-Point and 5-Point Harness Car Seat?

Your child has to be shorter than 4 feet and 9 inches to be in a 3-point or 5-point harness car seat. Taller than this, you can switch your kid to a booster car seat.

Again, it’s not about the number of straps.

Conclusions On 3-Point vs. 5-Point Harness Car Seats

Now that we’ve said it all, you, hopefully, know the main difference between a 3-point and a 5-point harness car seat.

It’s simply a matter of safety, which, I’m sure, is the first thing on your list. With two extra straps to secure your kid in the best position, a 5-point harness car seat is a lot safer.

I hope now you’ve checked the specific legal requirements in your state and made an informed decision.

Maybe you can help me out with something, can you please share on social media how this post has helped you? It would mean a lot to me. Thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much safer is a 5-point harness car seat?

The 5-point harness car seat is pretty safe. It provides the best protection for toddlers and preschoolers. It holds your kid, positions her correctly, and further distributes impacts.

When should you not use a 5-point harness?

Take your child off the car seat and into a booster seat when she reaches 65 lbs or 4 feet and 9 inches.

What is the car seat law in the USA?

The US has a law that regulates the use of car seats. Every state has its individual specifications.

However, the law, generally, requires that “all children are properly restrained in a federally approved child safety seat appropriate for the child’s age, weight, and height up to 8 years of age or 65 lbs.”

Can a 7-year-old be in a 5-point harness seat?

Yes, it’s OK as long as your child is within the weight and height limit set by the manufacturer. Some modern car seats are actually strong enough to fit a 100-pound child.




Last Updated on October 5, 2023 by Brian Beasley

Written by Linda Reid

Hey there, I'm Linda, a mom of three cool kids. I've tried so many car seats, you could call me a "Car Seat Detective." Searching for the perfect car seat can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but don't worry! I've committed to researching and reviewing car seats that are super safe, cozy, and great for growing kids. Together, we'll find the perfect car seat that keeps your child safe and cozy, and makes you feel like a super-parent!