Seat belt adjusters are safe only if worn correctly. They make it possible for someone unable to use the standard belt to be secure in the event of an accident. Use only those certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some seat belt adjusters may interfere with how efficiently the seat belt functions, making them unsafe. 

According to the US Department of Trasport’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2,549 lives could have been saved in 2017 if all unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants involved in fatal crashes had worn seat belts.

As a mother of three young kids, I ensure my children are not among statistics. Even though NHTSA-approved seat belt adjusters are safe, you might have to consider a few factors. For instance, the children outgrew the baby seats and boosters due to their growth in height and size. Thus, some alterations are necessary. 

Does this all sound too much? Fret not because in this article, I will explain how seat belt adjusters operate, how safe they are for adults and pregnant women, and how to use them. Stay right to the end because I have answered some of the most common questions about seatbelt adjusters.  

What is a Seatbelt Adjuster?  

A seat belt adjuster is a device that helps you adjust a car seat to the desired height or position. Most cars have inbuilt car seat adjusters. In other instances, you might have to buy aftermarket adjusters, especially if you have kids who can no longer fit in their child car seats. 

What Does a Seat Belt Adjuster Do?

However, to be clear, here’s what a car seat adjuster does: 

  • Assists you in finding the ideal seat belt position. 
  • Ensures your clothing doesn’t crease. 
  • It offers comfort and safety for those who cannot use the regular seat belt.
  • It helps you obtain the appropriate shoulder point for the seat belt. 
  • Guarantees that the seat belt won’t remain around your neck.

Are Pregnancy Seat Belt Adjusters Safe?

Seat belt adjusters are safe for pregnant women. But only if you wear them correctly. When pregnant, a safety belt protects both you and the unborn child. There are no seat belts designed exclusively for expectant mothers. Therefore, seat belt adjusters are essential. Operating seat belt adjusters as a pregnant woman will make driving safer. 

The idea that seat belt adjusters are safe is supported by the  Fundación MAPFRE, a Spanish organization involved in international social projects seeking to facilitate the attainment of the millennial development goals.

The organization advises, “… look for adjusters that have been approved and reviewed, to purchase brands with good ratings, and not to let yourself be influenced by low prices.” 

You must prioritize your comfort and safety when you are pregnant. Wearing a seat belt is encouraged if your doctor has yet to advise against doing so. How do you ensure that you have set the seat belt adjuster correctly?

Here are some suggestions: 

  • To ensure you can drive safely, adjust the seat belt and put as much space as possible between you and the steering wheel. 
  • Your feet must comfortably reach the pedals. If no one is seated behind you and you are not the driver, move your seat as far back as possible. 
  • Put the lap belt below your tummy and over your thighs. 
  • Always position the upper strap between the breasts. 

The upper and lower belts’ ability to stay in position will depend on whether you can adjust the seat belt. A seat belt adjuster prevents the lap belt from twisting and landing on your belly, which is dangerous. Therefore, you must ensure that your seat belt adjusters are high quality. 

Are Seat Belt Adjusters Safe? 

Only if the person using the seat belt takes special precautions are the seat belt adjusters safe. Seat belt adjusters are helpful for kids who have outgrown their baby seats or booster seats, and the next step is adult seatbelts.

If you want to confirm if your kids can use an adult seat, check if they can sit with their legs bent over the seat edge and their back against the cushion. When sitting, their feet must be on the vehicle’s floor. 

If you have kids still using the baby car seats, we have written a separate article about the 15 things you need to know

Ensuring your shoulder belt is across the chest and away from the neck is the correct method for wearing a seat belt in a car. The lap belt should sit below your stomach while lying comfortably across your hips. Therefore, seat belt adjusters are safe if they make your seat belts lie in that position.

Are Seat Belt Adjusters Safe for Adults?

Adults can safely use seat belt adjusters. Let’s look at how various adult groups will use the seat belt adjusters: 

Older children 

Most kids can no longer fit in booster seats at ages 8 and 12. However, adult seat belts might not fit appropriately for children at this age, especially if taller than 4 feet 9 inches.

In this situation, you must ensure that the seat belt adjuster does not allow the shoulder or lap belt to ride too loosely.  

Here’s a YouTube video from the American Academy of Pediatrics showing how, after adjustment, the seatbelt should sit: 

Obese adults

Standard seat belts may feel uncomfortable or not fit obese persons. In such a case, the seat belt adjuster from the vehicle’s manufacturer is the one I recommend. After connecting the seat belt with the adjuster, the person should wear it comfortably without being too tight or loose.

Short adults

Car makers frequently build vehicles to fit people with a standard height. As a result, for a short person, the typical car shoulder seat belt may end up across the neck rather than the shoulder. 

In such a case, the seat belt adjuster helps lower the chest strap to meet the waist strap.  After reducing the point of contact, the chest strap can extend wider across the shoulder without interfering with your neck. 

People with limited mobility/disability 

Fitting a seat belt strap through the buckle may be challenging due to aging and specific medical issues. Therefore, a seat belt adjuster lengthens the seat belt buckle. A seat belt adjuster will be helpful for a driver who uses a wheelchair. 

How Do Seat Belt Adjusters Work?

The seat belt adjusters come in two varieties: rigid and flexible. You can fasten the adjuster at the seat belt anchor or the buckle. For seat belt adjusters to work efficiently, you need to do the following: 

  • Adjust your seat to its proper driving position. 
  • Raise the seat belt to a comfortable height, and pinch the top and bottom levers of the height adjusters. 
  • Move the seat belt until it clicks into a locked position. The shoulder belt should be centered on your shoulder and flat across your chest between your neck and the edge of your shoulder. 
  • Ensure your shoulder belt does not rub against your face or neck. If it does, move your seat belt height adjuster down. 
  • Your shoulder belt must also not hang off your shoulder. If it does, move your height adjuster up.

How to Put on a Seat Belt Adjuster

Here’s how easily put on a seat belt adjuster: 

  1. The clip should first be attached to the bracket’s backside. Place the larger end in the bracket’s highest notch.
  2. Press the smaller end of the clip into the hole of the bracket. Ensure that the tongue of the bracket is facing out and downward. The lap belt encloses between the two pieces. 
  3. You can now slide the seat belt adjuster along both belts until you are comfortable. Then slide the shoulder strap under the tongue of the bracket.

If you’re having trouble with your seat belt, kindly don’t drive. You risk receiving a ticket if you drive without wearing a seatbelt. 

Seat Belt Adjuster Buying Guide

The next step is to buy a seat belt adjuster now that you understand what it is, how to use it safely, how it works, and how to spot a bad one.

However, you must know the distinct features you’ll be looking for before rushing to the car manufacturer. Here are some pointers on what to search for: 

  • Look for a seat belt adjuster of high-quality, breathable materials like leather, synthetic fabric, or webbing. 
  • The material for the seat belt adjustment clasp should be sturdy. Some manufacturers use steel, while others use premium ABS plastic. It shouldn’t bend, wear out, or break with frequent use. 
  • It should be easy to attach, adjust, and keep the seat belt adjuster on the belt until subsequent use. You can fix it without using tools, welding, glue, or melting. 
  • The seat belt adjuster locking clips ought to be simple to attach and allow for simple adjusting. 
  • The size of the seat belt adjuster should be a perfect fit for the seat belt in your car. Your seat belt will only work correctly if the adjuster is narrow enough for the car’s seat belt. Because each seat belt fits a specific car make and model, you might have to reach out to your manufacturer to get a perfect fit.

Summary

Although you can choose whether to have seat belt adjusters, remember that not wearing a seat belt puts your life and passengers in danger. Seat belt adjusters are safe only if you follow the provided procedures. 

A few things to remember: 

  • A pregnant woman should ensure the lap belt is positioned over her thighs and below her tummy.
  • The safest seat belt adjusters have NHTSA approval; buy them from your vehicle’s manufacturer for the best fit. 
  • Seat belt adjusters might be necessary for children older than 8, short adults, obese children and adults, and those with mobility problems. 
  • Ensure you understand how a seat belt adjuster operates before using one.
  • Understand why and under what circumstances seat belt adjusters are required.
  • Check your seat belts carefully to spot worn-out belt adjusters to prevent a malfunction. 
  • Verify that the seat belt adjuster is made of high-quality materials and is defect-free before buying. 
Author

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

Keren Simanova

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren