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Rethread or no-rethread – Your car seat harness questions answered!

Rethread or no-rethread – Your car seat harness questions answered!

Feeling worried about using a rethread harness? Like many other parents and caregivers, you might have doubts. We’re here to help!

As a new parent there are lots of things to consider when you’re shopping for your new infant car seat or all-in-one convertible car seat. Safety features, comfort, color, size and budget all play a role in the decision-making process. But a classic debate that is always up for discussion is rethread or no-rethread harness? 

Many parents and caregivers believe that harnesses with a rethread design, like our Diono Radian® seats, are going to cause all sorts of tricky problems for installation and fitting but truth is, that’s a myth! We’re not sure where or how it started but we’re here to help you understand why a rethread harness is in fact a super safe and smart safety solution!

First, we’ll answer the most common question, “Will I need to rethread the harness all the time?”

Not quite. Adjusting and rethreading your harness depends on how quickly your child grows. You can estimate around twice for the first year and then annually. Children generally stop growing as fast when they turn 4, so you might have to rethread the harness less often. No two kiddos are the same, so it’s important to understand the weight and height limits for each mode of your car seat and feel confidently prepared to adjust the harness throughout its lifespan.

TOP TIP! Remember that the position of the harness straps in relation to your child’s shoulders will change depending on the direction your car seat is positioned.

When your child is travelling in a rear-facing position, the harness straps will be at or BELOW their shoulders. We recommend that all children travel rear-facing for as long as possible.

All Diono Radian models as of 2020 are designed to travel rear-facing for longer and can support your child up to 50 lbs.

When your child transitions to forward-facing, the harness straps will be at or ABOVE their shoulders.

“But won’t I need to uninstall my rear-facing car seat to adjust the harness?” Nope! That’s the beauty of a rethread harness! Simply detach the harness straps from the adjuster strap, thread them through the appropriate harness slots and reattach them to the adjuster strap. Make sure and consult your manual for directions specific to your car seat. You may struggle with space when trying to position yourself between your car seat and vehicle seat, so we recommend adjusting your driver / passenger seat as far forward as you can.

Did you know?

Using a rethread harness actually provides a much more seamless experience for you throughout your car seat journey and gives you a visible reminder of when it’s time to adjust the harness straps!

“And what’s the difference?”

No-rethread harness adjusters allow you to adjust the straps without having to unhook and reroute the harness. A common method is either squeezing a lever or pulling on a hook, which then raises both the headrest and harness straps. One major downfall of no-rethread harnesses is that it can be difficult to see where the harness straps are in relation to your child’s shoulders, sometimes eliminating the visual cue that it’s time to adjust them. Once adjusted properly you’ll also need to ensure the headrest/harness is “locked” in place and not between adjustment positions. You need to tighten the harness every time you travel, and a no-rethread harness can make this more difficult because of the longer route the straps take through the harness system. A no-rethread harness system often adds weight to the car seat because of the added adjustment mechanisms.