What is a locking clip? why you need it and how to use

What is a seat belt locking clip?

A locking clip is usually a lightweight piece of metal shaped specifically. When you purchase a safety seat belt, it might be attached with it or provided separately in a bag.

The locking clips are placed on the seat belts to make the car seat more secure and protected. The seat belt locking clip keeps the rider of the car seat from the bumps and jolts. Locking clips not only are installed in the safety seats rather you might have seen them in various passenger seats as well.

Though the global tech world has smarter and more secure locking mechanisms working in the vehicles, yet this lightweight piece of metal is in demand.

What is a locking clip? Why locking clip is so common?

The major reason for its frequent use is that it is a quick and cheap source to avail. You can instantly fix the loose seat belt by using this smaller safety tool.
As the car parts and safety equipment are usually costly, and you have to ponder upon frequently to replace or repair any part of the vehicle if damaged or require some technical setting.

Obviously, if your seat belt is loosened, or the car seat is not getting adjust according to the baby’s weight and size properly, what will you do? Will you move to change it?

The answer is definitely no. you will try to fix it. The locking clip is used to tighten the seat belt fast under a specific installation setting.

What is the car seat locking clip?

Before discussing the use of the car seat locking clip, you need to know the introduction to the car seat. The car seats are actually seats manufactured for the safety of the children.

The car seats are adjusted within the car to keep the baby secure while riding in the vehicle. Every year thousands of children get killed in road accidents due to unsafe rides.

As a parent, the children’s security is always at the priority while moving on the shorter or longer journeys.

Features of the car seat

The car seat specifies that those are designed according to the children’s age. 

  • The car seats designed for infants and toddlers are usually designed rear-facing or forward-facing. 
  • The car seats for school going children are manufactured with seat belts. Kids have to sit in an upright posture with the straps of the seat belt. 

The children can sit more securely with straps and strings of the seat belt. The manufacturers design the car seats according to the height and weight limit of the kids, specifically according to age limits.

Common issues with the car seat safety

Car seat safety plays a vital role in the case of accidents and tragedies on the roads. Either you are traveling within your town or having a journey outside the home town; in both cases, every driver should have a safe drive.

Among various safety measures during driving, car seat safety is one of the most crucial ones. The car seats may become dangerous when those are not fixed properly, or it has issues while the baby is sitting or sleeping in them.

Let us have a look at a few possible issues that can be experienced with the safety seats:

The loose safety seat may cause a collision in case of emergency brakes or accidents. The baby may hit the head or face with the back of the car seat and get a serious injury.

A loose harness can also become a cause of severe crashes in an accident. The loose harness may drop the child outside the safety, and the child may hit severely with the interior of the car or with other passengers in case of the loose harness.

The harness chest clip is fixed improperly. It should be at the center of the chest. The centralized clip enables the seat’s straps in the right place.  

As an owner of the car seat, you might have experienced such issues while riding. It is the reason. Every person moves to more secure and protected equipment, just like the locking clips.

The car seat manufacturers offer the car seat locking clips with specific installation methods and requirements to keep the seat belt more tighten and secure for your baby.

Types of Locking clips & Seat Belts

1.Lap-only belt:

It was commonly installed in older vehicles. The lap-only belt is less common in the cars of newer models. This type of belt is designed in different ways. Some have a tail to adjust the excess string of the belt while others possess a retractor that can lock the extra slack of the belt.

Security status: Lap-only seat belts are less secure as they do not restrict the upper part of the body to avoid crashes in any accident.  In case of crashes in the car, the upper body is in more danger to get injured.   

2.lap-shoulder belt:

These belts are also referred to as 3-point belts. Lap-shoulder belts are a common part of modern vehicles. It has 3 contact points. The two contact points on both sides of the hips and one point at the shoulder. The lap-shoulder belt was included in the back seating position initially.

Some Back-seat center lap/shoulder belts have adjustments with the roof of the vehicle and others can be adjusted with the back seat. The 3- point lap/ shoulder belt is tied with the latch plate by bringing it down and buckle it in its special setting. This latch plate is smaller than regular latch plates. However, you can use a regular latch plate also with this seat belt.  

Its appearance and attachment are a bit different. If you need to fold the seat down, check out the slot at the end of the side buckle and slide the seat belt back to its storage compartment.

Security Status: This type of seat belt is secure enough to keep the body from bumps and jolts. The whole body is less prone to the risk of injuries in case of sudden accidents or tragedies in the vehicle. Besides, back seat center lap/ shoulder belts can easily be installed with the car seats as well.

3.Inflatable seat belt:

The inflatable seat belts feature an airbag attached to the shoulder of the belt. The inflatable seat belts are available in the S- class and E-class vehicles like Mercedes, Ford, and Lincoln vehicles. In these vehicles, the inflatable seat belts are featured with the outboard seating position. In some models of the cars, the secured outboard seating is available with a special belt bag.

The inflatable seat belts are used in various airlines also. This type of seat belt gets inflated by gaining compressed gas from the air canisters. You can find the gas canisters at the base of the seats. If any tragedy happens in the vehicle or airplane, the latch plate is forced to get the gas in the airbag from the gas canister. The gas is inflated in the airbag that is the part of the seat belt and secures the trunk of the human body.

Security status: The inflatable seat belt possibly secures the trunk of the human body and reduces the vulnerability of the injury.

When is a locking clip not required?

The car seats that have an automatic locking mechanism do not require the locking clip. The built-in locking mechanism is also famous as a lock-off. The car seats with lock-off get locks on having sudden brakes or in case of crashes in the vehicle. When the cars stop, or you feel a collision while riding, the lock off makes your seat belt locked instantly.

If your car seat has this lock-off mechanism, just read the user’s manual to operate it properly. Every car seat has a different number of lock-off. Some have only one, others two or three as well depending upon the requirement of the car seat and type of the seat belt used in it. 

Be careful, if your car seat is not designed to configure with the locking clip, never install it. It is never used with the LATCH and lap-only seat belt. You may fall in trouble if you try locking the clip with the LATCH or lap the only type of seat belt.

The security risk is also associated with the misuse of the locking clip. When the locking clip is not used properly or installed properly; it may cause danger to your baby or any rider experiencing it. Although it is just a small piece of metal mishandling may cause a greater tragedy for you, and proper handling of the locking clip may keep you safe from the life-threatening event. 

When is a locking clip required?

The locking clips have been used with the cars of older models frequently. A locking clip is required intensely when the car seat does not have a built-in locking mechanism. The built-in locking mechanism features retractors that cannot be switched easily. Here are some instances that detect the instant use of locking clip in the car seat:

· When the latch plate or retractor of the car seat is damaged or removed due to any reason, the locking clip is necessarily required to fasten the belt.

· The car owners who love to have classic models of the car they need a locking clip to fasten the seat belt as all the older versions of vehicles earlier than 1996 must require locking clips as safety equipment.

· When your vehicle’s seat belt gets locked with the latch plate and does not get buckled tight, it makes the rider insecure, and even such a seat is more vulnerable to head and body injuries in case of accidents. In such a case, a locking clip is needed direly.

· If the car seat has an Emergency locking retractor with a sliding latch plate, a locking clip is required to keep the child secure.

If you are planning to have an international flight or want to ride on your vehicle outside the home town, check out the car seat you possess. Your child’s safety is priority. If the car seat for your baby does not have a locking clip, you can order one by contacting the manufacturer. Besides you can use the locking clip of any seat belt as they are always adjustable and can be interchanged from one belt o another due to standardized production. 

An interesting fact about the use of the car seat in the US is that the law and the regulatory authorities enforce the use of locking clips. Even you will find strictness about the locking clip even in those car seats that use Euro routing in their manufacturing.

In the Euro- routing method of fastening belt, the lap and shoulder both are fastened with the seat belt. You will have to tie the lap portion of the seat belt just like the traditional lap-only seat belt as well as the shoulder portion of the seat belt is also routed with the CR shell. 

How to use a locking clip?

The installation of the locking clip is not very difficult, but it may get complicated if you are using it the first time. If you want to learn the use of the locking clip, you may find hundreds of videos on the internet to get better guidelines. Here are some specifications mentioned for the locking clip:

· If you intend to use the locking clip with the car seat, the seat belt should be shoulder type. The locking clip does not get configured with the lap-only seat belt.

· The lap and shoulder strings of the seat belt should have the same fabric to have webbing with the locking clip.

· The latch plate of the seat belt should be intact and requires a free sliding along one side of the seat belt. If the buckle is not moveable, the locking clip cannot be used properly along with the seat belt.

If you are yet confused with the locking clip of the seat belt, it is better to contact the manufacturer’s of your car seat, or car seat technicians can better guide you about the proper installation and handling of the locking clip to avoid future dangers while having a ride with your baby.

Why locking clip is in demand?   

Generally, the locking clips have been becoming less common. The car manufacturers’ are using more modern and valid techniques instead of the locking clip. The latest models of cars rarely have any locking clips.

The automatic locking mechanism of the seat belts has replaced the locking clips. Yet various customers like to secure the car seat with the locking clip. Here are some tricky and common reasons to use a locking clip with the seat belt of your car seat:

·The locking clip keeps the seat or your baby from tipping. The angling of the rider while sitting in the car seat may become dangerous in case of sudden stop or collision of the car. 

When you are using a locking clip to lock the shoulder belt, every bump will make your belt a bit tighter and keep the rider from tipping.
Another major reason to use the locking clip is that you need the locking clip to adjust the extra straps of the belt.

The locking clip helps to tighten the belt. If the seat belt of the car seat is loosened and your body is shaking like a pendulum while sitting on the seat, you definitely require this magical safety equipment.

conclusion

Before starting the ride with your family, test the car seat. It should be loosened a bit approximately one inch from all sides. If you can move freely, you need to work with the car seat. As the locking clip is a beneficial and quick remedy, yet it also needs to place carefully to avoid injuries in case of accidents.
A locking clip is a pre-positioning tool before a crash. It may get broken or removed when an accident happens. But it will work until it is installed in its place. It possibly secures the seat of your baby. You may find it attached to various types of seat belts or the car safety seat of your baby.
The final thoughts are that this magical tool is the best choice for the seat belts of your vehicle. Either you purchase a car seat for your baby, or you intend to have a newer vehicle, check out the safety of the seat belt. The use of a locking clip is visible in various models of the cars with seat belts or the safety seat. If you have lost or damaged the locking clip, you can order the one from the car seat manufacturer.

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