All You Need to Know about Seatbelt Extenders
For more than a century, cars have transformed modern society by providing freedom of mobility and independence. While cars provide us with a means of transportation, it is equally important not to ignore car safety. Car safety pertains to some basic car safety devices, among which seatbelts are the most crucial.
While the fine for not wearing a car seatbelt in the UAE is AED 400, there are some cases where car seatbelts can not adjust properly. This is because the standard seatbelts might be of insufficient length for some individuals. For that reason, seatbelt extenders are temporarily used to enhance the length of the standard seatbelts. In this guide, we will discuss seatbelt extenders and also find out if it is safe to use them.
What are Seatbelt Extenders?
Despite the presence of active and passive car safety systems, passengers depend on their seatbelts to keep them fastened in their seats in the event of an accident. Some people who have large build or are obese struggle to secure their car seatbelts due to their insufficient length. This is where seatbelt extenders come into play.
There are two types of seatbelt extenders; rigid and flexible. These seatbelt extender types are designed to add more length to the standard seatbelt while firmly clipping between the buckle and the clip. For that reason, adults who could not use the standard seatbelt can now benefit from the safety it provides. When used correctly, car seatbelt extenders are perfectly safe. Let’s find out in which scenarios they could be dangerous.
Are Seatbelt Extenders Safe to Use?
The answer to this question lies in the purpose for which the extender is used. Car seatbelt extenders are safe to use in the following scenarios:
- When used to fit an obese person or a person with a heavy build, a seatbelt extender is completely safe to use.
- It is safe to use with seats already equipped with a standard seatbelt.
- It is safe to use when obtained directly from the vehicle manufacturer adhering to all the standards that declare it safe to use.
When Is A Seatbelt Extender Dangerous to Use?
When seatbelt extenders malfunction, the passenger is left vulnerable to the forces of the collision for many reasons, including improper use. Let’s go through some scenarios exhibiting the dangers of using a seatbelt extender.
Using an incompatible seatbelt extender
Even though a car seatbelt extender may click when you buckle it together, what works in one vehicle might not work in another. The use of a seatbelt extender from a different manufacturer is strongly discouraged. Get one from Honda if you drive a Honda Accord or if you drive a Toyota Corolla, get one from Toyota.
To further elaborate, you must understand that in a car collision or crash, everything weighs much heavier due to the force of gravity. The G-forces (gravitational force) multiply significantly with your usual weight in a crash. For instance, in a 50 km/h crash similar to the car seat crash test, there are about 25 G-forces. An adult weighing 100kg will exert a body weight of 2500 kg on the seatbelt and extender in a crash. In such a scenario, an incompatible seatbelt extender can fail its purpose.
Placement of seatbelt extender
A seatbelt extender might alter the functioning of the standard seatbelt owing to the place where it attaches to your body. The ideal fit is across the lap, across the chest and the shoulder, with the buckle positioned low down beside you.
The body can still be ripped free of the seat when seatbelts and extenders are improperly adjusted since they won’t offer the proper protection.
Use of seatbelt extenders with booster or child car seats
Seatbelt extenders are not advised for booster seats or any form of a child car seat. Regardless of whether a seatbelt extender would make installing the car seat easier or allow your child to operate the buckle themselves. Children and teenagers should never use a seatbelt extender in addition to a standard seatbelt. In a similar manner, seatbelt extenders must not be used for adjusting dog car seats as well.
You may check out this guide for tips to enhance child car safety.
Use of seatbelt extenders without a valid need
Use of a seatbelt extender is not advised unless you require the extra length of your seatbelt. If a standard seatbelt fits properly or an extension causes the buckle to be positioned over your lap or on your thighs, the seatbelt is too big. Seatbelts should sit firmly against your chest once fastened in with the clasp at your side.
Use of car seatbelt extender for pregnant women
Pregnant women are strongly advised not to use seatbelt extenders unless they cannot fit in a regular seatbelt. This is extremely rare, therefore, they must not use an extender for their safety.
What size seatbelt extender should I get?
This depends on how much extra room you require. Since everyone has varied demands, picking the longest extension outright is also not always the best option. Keep in mind that the buckle should still be next to your hip or thigh, alongside you. Anything that moves the buckle into your lap is too large and unsafe.
Where can I buy a seatbelt extender?
You may buy a seatbelt extender from the dealership or automaker where you bought your car from. Even though a huge range of seatbelt extenders are available online, we highly forbade using anything that isn’t manufacturer or brand specific. For more information, consult your owner’s manual.
This brings us to the end of our guide on seatbelt extenders. When used correctly and in accordance with the car used, seatbelt extenders are entirely safe. They should never be used for convenience or to make it simpler for kids to buckle up. Make sure you buy a seatbelt extender, if you absolutely must, which is compatible with your vehicle. That said, if you are looking for a vehicle with high-tech features, you can check out these used cars for sale in the UAE.
Moreover, our guide on car seatbelt history will help you discover how seatbelts have evolved over the years.
For more information on car parts and accessories, stay tuned to the UAE’s leading auto blog.