What Is A Lap Belt? The Importance & Purpose Of The Lap Belt

TaxiHack is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

It is important for children when they get old enough to start wearing lap belts as these will keep them safe in a crash. These will provide extra safety for as long as you drive the car.

If you don’t know what lap belts are or if you are confused about what is a lap belt?

Then these belts are worn across the lap and are different from shoulder belts. These keep the passenger or driver restrained to the seat.

Therefore, making everything much safer in the event of a car crash.

Such safety equipment is essential for anyone traveling in a car, as, in car crashes, this will help reduce the speed at the same rate as your car.

Some of the common things you should know about lap belts:

  1. Positioning And Wearing A Lap Belt
  2. Importance Of Where Lap Belt Is Placed
  3. Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Lap Belt Alone
  4. How To Wear The Lap Belt Properly
  5. Lap Belts And Pregnant Women
  6. The Downside: Debates About The Danger Of Lap Belts

Today, I will explain what a lap belt car seat is used for and the proper way to wear a lap belt to help you understand everything better.

6 Common Things You Should Know About Lap Seat Belts In Your Car

Learn when your child uses a la belt in a car

Since the lap belts are worn across the lap, these will help spread the crash forces through the seat belt and across the body.

Because it is not only the top part of the body that is protected but also the bottom part, in the event of a car crash, you will stay secured to the car’s seat, therefore protecting not only the top part but also the bottom part one.

This makes sure that the body’s vital organs are protected from harm. According to stats, lap belts give riders protection in rollover accidents.

The reduction in fatal injuries was 74%, which is great. The protection given by lap belts was significantly greater than seat belts, 60% in trucks and 45% in passenger vehicles.

This makes lap belts much better in protecting passengers from harm and also be required by law. These are much more helpful than just shoulder belts in protecting you from harm.

1. Positioning And Wearing A Lap Belt

To keep yourself safe from injuries, it is essential to wear a lap belt properly along with your seat belt.

It is recommended that your lap belt is placed low over the pelvic bones, the hips and below the stomach to protect it from severe injuries.

There are some things to consider when placing the lap belt properly because lack of doing so might result in injuring yourself even though you are wearing one.

Where The Lap Belt Should Lie?

You should always make sure that you are not wearing just a lap belt but a lap and shoulder belt combination for maximum protection.

The most important thing to consider when placing it is remembering to keep the belt as low as possible.

Every time you go to the doctor to get checked up, you should also ask them if it is okay for you to drive and where they would suggest you place the lap belt in case there are any problems.

The belt should actually be above the upper thighs, the lap, to be precise. Always remember to never place the lap belt on your stomach.

2. Importance Of Where Lap Belt Is Placed

The reason you should always place the lap belt on your lap and not the stomach is the hip bones.

When you wear it as low as possible, the lap belt will cross your hip bones. Because the bones are really strong, these will be what will actually save you from the accident.

Usually, most people overlook where the lap belt is placed. Because of this, many injuries are caused by accidents as the belts are unable to perform their function properly.

It is also very important to make sure that your child is big enough to use the lap belt.

This is because if he/she is not, they will be wearing the lap belt on the stomach instead of the hip bones, and this will lead to severe injury, later on.

If the car gets into an accident because the lap belt will dig into the stomach and cause injury itself. As the hip bones are strong, they are able to deal with the impact of these belts.

Tightening the lap belt

If you are wearing an automatic shoulder belt, it is important to buckle your lap belt in as well.

If you fail to do this, then when a collision happens, you will end up sliding out of the belt. And the entire purpose of wearing a belt in the first place will not be fulfilled.

Therefore, remember to wear the seat belt properly tightened to help the lap belt perform its function properly.

3. Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Lap Belt Alone

It is also essential to make sure that you are using the lap belt along with the seat belt, and not just by itself.

This is because the lower torso will be protected by the lap belt while the upper torso will remain exposed.

The results are not very good. This is not only because only the lower part will be protected, but something else will happen.

The person wearing the lap belt will instead ‘jack knife’, and for example, have the upper part of their body hit somewhere else with a lot of force.

The head or the chest might be hitting the passenger with a huge force. Therefore this will cause severe injury.

The purpose of the lap belt will be of no use by just wearing it by itself, so always remember to fasten it along with your seat belt.

4. How To Wear The Lap Belt Properly

First, you should position the lap belt as low as possible, which will be across the pelvic bones and hips. Then, pull the belt’s loose end to adjust.

This will ensure that the fit is comfortable and snug. When you want to get out of the car and unlatch this belt, you should push the red PRESS button, which is present on the buckle.

5. Lap Belts And Pregnant Women

Pregnant women should and are required to wear a lap belt, as it is the best way to protect themselves as well as the unborn child.

They should also wear the belt the same way, as low as possible.

Such positioning may not be found most comfortable by every mother, but this is important to keep themselves and the baby as safe as possible.

It is important to be aware that not only are these lap belts helpful, but they are also required by law to ensure the safety of the mother and, therefore, the child, so there is no choice.

Moreover, pregnant women should remember to consult their doctor regularly about if it is safe to travel and about the proper positioning of the lap belt because this will help to keep them safe should any unusual circumstances be present.

6. The Downside: Debates About The Danger Of Lap Belts

Though lap belts will help to protect you from harm by helping your pelvic bones take the pressure during a car crash, there are certain debates about lap belts not only being not useful but even harmful for passengers, especially children.

But this is usually because of lap belts being worn by themselves, as I already told you because the upper part of the body can jack up and hit any spot as the entire body is not protected.

The worst and the most important injuries caused due to this are spinal cord injuries.

This is something to be taken into account, which is sadder as children might also be vulnerable to getting severely injured in this way.

A child having a spinal injury due to not wearing the belt properly is rather sad.

A crash test using a dummy also proved the ineffectiveness of the dummy being severed in half when wearing a lap belt. This was a 1970 test conducted by a Ford Motor company.

Some auto companies do not put three-point seat belts instead of just lap belts because of how expensive they find them to be, which is absurd.

There have been many demands about lap belts being banned.

However, at the end of the day, these are still very helpful in protecting against injuries for as long as they are worn properly, and there is also significant evidence to prove this.

What is to be kept in mind, however, is how you decide to use it and if you keep the proper positioning in mind or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can I Use A Child Seat With A Lap Belt?

Lap belts will be fine with car seats where the child is also secured with a 5-point harness from the car seat.

If the center seat only has a lap belt, you cannot add a shoulder belt along with it.

Therefore, if you want your child to ride in the seat in the center that has only the lap belt, it is suggested that you get a car seat that has a 5 point harness to accommodate your child.

It is recommended to get one with the highest harness capacity, and there are many products in the market that you could purchase.

Overall, yes, lap belts can be used with child seats; however, there are some considerations to take into account.

Q2. Does A Child Need A Booster Seat With A Lap Belt?

No. booster seats are not okay to be used along with lap belts. This is because booster seats specifically require shoulder belts to keep your child protected.

Actually, not just kids in booster seats, but all adults as well should consider wearing seat belts along with lap belts.

If you try to use the booster seat in, for example, the middle seat in the back with only a lap belt, this is a bad idea because you will not be protecting the child as the booster seat requires and therefore, this might lead to severe injury because you are not careful.

Q3. What Age Can A Child Wear A Lap Belt?

The age that children should start wearing lap belts should be the same as them wearing seat belts.

As children are smaller, it is important to use car seats for them for as long as they aren’t big enough to be eligible for a seat belt.

It is also required by law for infants to be placed in rear-facing seats and older kids to be in front-facing ones.

However, when the child gets out of the child seat, which can be anywhere between eight to twelve years of age, they can start wearing seat belts.

The size is what actually matters, which is basically around 4 feet 9 inches, about 150 cm for kids.

If you try to switch to a seat belt and a lap belt before this, this might result in severe injury because these are not built to protect smaller individuals as they will not fit properly, so the function will not be performed.

For as long as children can easily rest their back against the car’s seat as well as bend their legs across the edge, you can know they are eligible to wear a lap belt and seat belt.

Q4. Is A Lap Seat Belt Legal?

According to law, all individuals above 12 years of age or 135 centimeters are required to wear seat belts.

These became mandatory in 1968, after which it is a requirement for lap and shoulder belts to be present in every vehicle manufactured after that.

Where the middle only had a lap belt, there is a law that makes it mandatory for both belts, including the shoulder belts, to be present in the middle seat in the back of the car as well.

This law came into practice in 2007. You are not allowed to drive until all the passengers in your car of age are wearing seat belts.

Unless the seating position includes a lap belt, both the lap belt, as well as the seat belt is required to be worn. Lap belts are not allowed with booster seats.


Lap seat belts will not only protect you during a dangerous event, but these are also required by law, so you don’t have a choice as most vehicles will have them.

Just remember to position your lap belt properly for proper protection. I hope your questions about a lap belt car seat were answered in this article today.

Some cars do have lap belts only in the middle seat in the back, and there is enough evidence to prove that this is dangerous, so it is important to avoid using these and get the belt changed to a seat belt.

When coming to children, seats, and when they should start wearing lap belts individually, you should comply with the law.

Place the belt properly, avoid using lap belts on their own, and these will significantly help reduce any injury in car crashes.

Also, remember to avoid these with booster seats. Failure is not doing so is not only dangerous but will also lead you to be paying heavy fines.