What are Built-in Lock-offs?
Built-in lock-offs are devices that are designed into the shell of a convertible car seat and the base of an infant car seat that ensure a snug lap and shoulder belt installation with minimal effort.
Where are Built-in Lock-offs located on the car seat?
Since built-in lock-offs are meant to be used with vehicle seat belts, the lock-offs are located in the vehicle belt path areas on the child seat. Some seats, such as convertible car seats, have both rear-facing lock-offs and forward-facing lock-offs.
The latest BRITAX convertible car seats come equipped with both rear and forward facing lock-offs located underneath the cover; refer to your child seat user guide to understand which lock-offs should be used during installation.
Infant car seats are rear-facing only seats and feature a central, rear-facing lock-off.
|The photo above indicates the location of the central lock-off on the BRITAX CHAPERONE infant car seat base.
||Here the vehicle lap-shoulder belt is being routed through the lock-off on the infant car seat base.
How does my child benefit from seats that feature Built-in Lock-offs?
First of all, it is important to understand that the job of a car seat is to minimize injury to your child during a crash. Minimizing movement of your child during a crash is one of the ways in which the seat limits injury.
If you are going to install your child seat using the vehicle seat belts then you have to make sure that the vehicle seat belts can be locked into place; this will minimize the movement of the seat during a crash. A secure car seat is one that does not move more than one inch side to side or front to back at the belt path.
Most vehicle seat belts have mechanisms that allow the belts to lock into place while you are installing your child seat. (Actually, since 1996, federal regulations require that all vehicles have locking seat belt systems.) You must NOT install a child seat into your vehicle using the vehicle seat belt system if you cannot “pre-crash” lock the vehicle seat belt in place. Again, a child seat that is installed in a way that limits movement minimizes the risk of injury to your child.
How do Built-in Lock-offs work?
If your vehicle seat belt system will not lock into place when you are installing the child seat, then you must use an approved device to lock the seat belts into place. Built-in lock-offs are approved devices to lock the vehicle seat belts in place to keep the child seat from moving excessively.
Built-in lock-offs have been designed into most BRITAX convertible car seats, as well as rear-facing infant car seats, to take the confusion out of trying to figure out whether your vehicle seat belt system can be locked while installing the child seat in your vehicle.
The lock-offs hold the vehicle seat belt in place until the vehicle seat belt has to do its job.
All vehicle seat belts are designed to lock during a crash even if they will not lock while you are installing your child seat. During a crash the built-in lock-off(s) being used may break or become deformed; this is okay because during a crash the vehicle seat belt takes over and holds the child seat into position. This is why the built-in lock-offs are referred to as a “pre-crash” positioning device.
Before installing your child seat it is crucial that you:
- read the manufacturer user guide that came with your child seat, and
- refer to your vehicle owner’s manual to understand what type of vehicle seat belt system you have.
How long has BRITAX incorporated Built-in Lock-offs in their seats?
BRITAX has incorporated built-in lock-offs into select seats since we first entered the North American market in 1996.
Which current BRITAX car seats feature Built-in Lock-offs?
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