Car Seats for Kids: 3 Point Vs 5 Point Harness Car Seat

3 Point Vs 5 Point Harness Car Seat (Car Seats for Kids): Child seats are a must for kids aging from newborns up until they are at least 12 years old. This means that every child seat needs to be customized for the ease and comfort of the child. While almost all the standard seats are pretty comfortable, it’s the safety harness that makes or breaks things at times.

3 Point Vs 5 Point Harness Car Seat: Car Seats for Kids

The main difference between a 3-point and a 5-point harness car seat is the ease of use and security. Compared to the 3-point harness, the 5-point harness offers better security and a snug fit. Whereas, the 3-point harness offers better mobility and ease of use.

There are other differences as well when it comes to 3-point vs 5-point harness car seats. Let’s find out.

What Is A 3-Point Harness Car Seat?

A 3-point harness car seat is essentially the most common form of seat belt out there. It’s a standard harness that is used in normal car sets as well as baby seats. They are easy to set up, have a self-retraction feature, and overall, are very non-intrusive.

What Is A 3-Point Harness Car Seat
What Is A 3-Point Harness Car Seat?

It’s best used for children above 6 years and not absolute toddlers. The ease of usage with the 3-point harness means it’s fairly easy to make out of the hold regardless of how well it might be set up. That said, here are some common pros and cons of 3-point harness car seats.

Good sides

  • Easy to use
  • Less expensive
  • Self-retracting feature
  • Easy mobility


  • Compromises on the security
  • Prone to accidental unhooks

What Is A 5-Point Harness Car Seat?

Now let’s move on from the traditional 4-seater to a more sporty setup. you’ve definitely seen NASCAR and F1 cars, right? There the drivers use the 5-point harness in their car seats. Why? Because 5 point harness is the gold standard when it comes to security.

What Is A 5-Point Harness Car Seat
What Is A 5-Point Harness Car Seat?

Unlike the 3-point one, a 5-point harness has two upper and two lower connecting points with the fifth being at the center of the seat. The adjustable side harnesses allow for a secured fit.

We all know children can be fussy and careless. A 5-point harness is a perfect solution to ensure your kid stays secured, no matter how much they wiggle or wobble in the seat.

Good Sides

  • Superior security
  • Compact hold
  • Micro-adjustable
  • Perfect for toddlers


  • Reduces mobility
  • Looks clunky

3-Point Vs 5-Point Harness Car Seat: Comparison Chart

So now you know how a 3-point and a 5-point harness works on a car seat. Beyond the obvious pros and cons, both these harnesses share some common and different features. Let’s have a look.

Factors3 Point Harness5 Point Harness
SafetyOffers less safetyOffers better safety
MobilityBetter mobilityReduced mobility
Ease of useEasy to set up and useA bit difficult to set up
CustomizationHas a standard single harness systemEach of the two harnesses is individually customizable
ComfortProvides better comfortCan become uncomfortable on long journeys
MaintenanceEasy to maintainRequires additional care
Comparison Chart: 3-Point vs. 5-Point Harness Car Seats

What Are The Differences Between 3-Point And 5-Point Harness Car Seats?

The comparison isn’t the end verdict for the harnesses. As things stand, there is more than meets the eye. So to better understand how each of these harnesses plays out for kids, let’s take a detailed look at their differences.

3 Point vs 5 Point Harness Car Seat
3 Point vs 5 Point Harness Car Seat


Winner: 5-point harness

The 5-point harness provides better safety features thanks to the secure lock system. Each of the 4 endpoints of the harness connects to the 4 vertices of the seat. As a result, the child stays secure in their place from all four points.

On the other hand, the 3-point harness can be easily removed by a kid as it leaves one of the vertices open.


Winner: 3-point harness

When it comes to mobility, the 3-point harness is the clear winner. It can be easily maneuvered and adjusted according to comfort. The harness also doesn’t need to be pre-adjusted for the right fit. It’s more suitable for kids aged 6 or above whereas the snug fit of the 5-point harness works best for toddlers.

Ease of use

Winner: 3-point harness

The 3-point harness is a fast and simple solution. you just pull the harness from one side and clip it on the other. Plus, the clasp mechanism has a push button system. Press it and the harness automatically retracts on the side of the seat.

It’s just far more convenient and offers one-handed operations, unlike the 5-point harness.


Winner: 5-point harness

The 5-point harness offers a better customization option compared to the 3-point harness. There are two separate adjustable points in the 5-point harness which allows the ultimate comfortable fit. Contrary to that, the 3-point harness doesn’t have any externally adjustable feature.


Winner: 3-point harness

The 3-point harness wins the comfort battle simply because it’s much less obtrusive than the 5-point harness. It leaves one side of the body completely open with the main resistance being around the hip. As a result, it’s much easier to move around in the 3-point harness car seats than in a 5-point harness.


Winner: 3-point harness

3 point harness requires the least amount of contact while using. It’s mostly automated meaning it doesn’t require much external attention. A 5-point harness is also made of a similar material. The constant movement and adjustment make it dirt prone which in turn requires regular maintenance.

3-Point Or 5-Point Harness Car Seat: Which One Is Best For Your Child?

Now the all-important question is which one should you choose for your child between a 3-point and a 5-point harness? As you may understand from the comparison, none of these has an absolute advantage over the other. So the answer isn’t going to be a straightforward one.

Rather than picking one over the other, it should be looked at which age bracket does your kid fits in. If they are toddlers, the 5-points are an excellent choice as it ensures complete safety.

On the other hand, if they are a bit older, say over 6, then the 3-point harness can also be considered as it provides relatively better all-around mobility.

Read Also: When Can Baby Sit In Stroller Without Car Seat?


The debate between 3 point vs 5 point harness car seats is not new. It’s been going around for ages and should be ever strong in the future as well. But as things stand, they each are very capable harnesses that have their own target base.

Many people tend to discard the 3-point harness in favor of the 5-point harness simply on the grounds of better safety propositions. While it’s true that seat harnesses are primarily used for safety, they shouldn’t have to be intrusive to the overall comfort and joy of the ride. So, which team are you on between the two? Tell me via comment.

James Marlow

After graduating in automobile engineering, I started my professional life as an operational in-charge for a renowned car manufacturing company. Besides this job, I love to research and talk about different things I deal with daily. And this site Carseatlover is the result of that. I have created this site to guide people to find the right car seat and help them use the seat correctly. Stay with car seat Lover.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *