The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

What does buckle crunch mean? (Update)

 

When child seats are fitted with the adult seat belt, it must be the webbing of the seat belt holding the seat in place, not the seat belt buckle.  If any part of the plastic seat belt buckle casing is on or over the plastic frame of the seat, it is an unsafe fit, which is called buckle crunch.

Buckle crunch typically happens in vehicle's that have the female buckle on a long stalk, causing it to protrude out of the vehicle seat.

However, buckle crunch can happen on buckles with a shorter stalk, if the wrong car seat is used.



low buckle buckle crunch

 

Why is it dangerous?


Buckle crunch is dangerous, because the plastic casing of the seat belt buckle is bent on or over the plastic of the child seat.  This puts pressure on the casing, and in a collision, the casing could shatter - causing the car seat to not be safely restrained.

  

FF RF buckle crunch avoid

 

The seat on the left is the Maxi Cosi Tobi, which is a forward facing group 1 seat that often avoids buckle crunch. The seat on the right is the Axkid Minikid, which is a rear facing group 1,2 car seat that also often avoids buckle crunch.
 
If your vehicle has ISOFIX, it is useful to use it, as this removes the need for the adult seat belt.  It is important to visit a retailer to buy an ISOFIX seat, as not all ISOFIX seats fit all cars.  ISOFIX child restraints are normally classed as 'Semi Universal', and have a vehicle compatibility list. 


GOODEGG-29.05.14_0076

 

What if your current child car seat has buckle crunch?

 

Buckle Crunch Example 4

 

If you have checked your child’s car seat and found it has buckle crunch (example above), try fitting it in a different seating position in the car. Occasionally the seat belt buckle length differs, and moving the seat to a different position solves the problem.

You can also check your model of child seat, on some seats there may be several ways to secure it, with one of those methods avoiding buckle crunch.

As an example, the Britax First Class has an alternative buckle routing:



Buckle crunch collage
If your child car seat and car are incompatible due to buckle crunch, you will have to replace the child seat with one that fits safely.

 

Do all types car seats suffer with buckle crunch?


No, only seats which use harness to restrain the child, and occasionally an impact shield, can have buckle crunch.  It is dangerous because the seat belt is holding the child seat in place, and the child seat is restraining the child with a harness.  In a collision, this puts a lot of pressure and force on the child seat, seat belt and buckle.

High back boosters and booster cushions do not get buckle crunch, because the booster is simply a 'belt positioning' device, which lifts the child up so the adult belt can fit them safely.

It is not dangerous for the buckle to sit over the frame of a high back booster - although you do need to make sure the buckle doesn't sit under and behind the frame of the seat, as this gives an unnatural belt route.

 

Examples of 'buckle crunch'


buckle crunch example 2

Buckle Crunch example 3
Maxi Cosi Buckle Crunch

Buckle Crunch Quick tip

Check with your vehicle manufacturer dealership, they may be able to fit shorter buckles into your car.


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Government car seat update

Related Posts

 

Comments 76

Guest - Gabriella on Tuesday, 11 August 2015 23:03

I'm so glad I found this website and have more of an understanding on buckle crunch! I had always read articles online about car seats not being fitted properly and couldn't understand how. It was only until I had a different brand of car seat in my car that I have realised mine too was fitted incorrectly and suffering from buckle crunch!
I have the Recaro Young Expert Plus seat and when fitting it in the car it has always been super secure, but the other day I noticed I couldn't see the seatbelt and after fitting another car seat in the car I realised it was wrong. I have ordered the recaro isofix base and I'm hoping it is compatible with my Mazda 3 (which has isofix inserts on the rear seats).
I feel terrible knowing the seat hadn't been fitted correctly. This website is brilliant in explaining everything.

I'm so glad I found this website and have more of an understanding on buckle crunch! I had always read articles online about car seats not being fitted properly and couldn't understand how. It was only until I had a different brand of car seat in my car that I have realised mine too was fitted incorrectly and suffering from buckle crunch! I have the Recaro Young Expert Plus seat and when fitting it in the car it has always been super secure, but the other day I noticed I couldn't see the seatbelt and after fitting another car seat in the car I realised it was wrong. I have ordered the recaro isofix base and I'm hoping it is compatible with my Mazda 3 (which has isofix inserts on the rear seats). I feel terrible knowing the seat hadn't been fitted correctly. This website is brilliant in explaining everything.
Guest - Good Egg Safety on Wednesday, 12 August 2015 08:52

Thanks for this amazing feedback Gabriella! We are very happy that our website was able to help you! If you ever have any other questions please feel free to contact us anytime

Thanks for this amazing feedback Gabriella! We are very happy that our website was able to help you! If you ever have any other questions please feel free to contact us anytime :)
Guest - Sian on Saturday, 29 August 2015 23:40

Hi,
we have a baby due very soon and cannot find a car seat suitable for our car.
We drive a Nissan Almera Tino 2001 model and although it has isofix in the two outer back seats it also has underfloor storage. We have been to Babies r us and a local baby store. Despite trying car seats including the britax first class, babies r us told us the only car seat that would fit would be a baby carrier - the maxi cosy cabriofix.
The baby store we went to to look at travel systems gave us a different opinion, however.
The baby store employee said that the plug part of the seatbelt (not the part that plugs in but the bit it plugs in to) was too long and would cause the seat to be unstable. She demonstrated this using the Jane Strata but said it would be the same for the cabriofix or another car seat.
She also said that the rounded part of the buckle (the plugs in bit) was touching the car seat and this was unsafe.
In my researching online I have found many people struggling to find seats for the Almera Tino but they are usually looking for group 1 seats so I am wondering what all these people did for group 0! In your experience does the maxi cosy pebble or the cabriofix have problems fitting in our car even without using a base as the baby shop suggested, or is it suitable, as babies r us suggested?
Also can you recommend any other group 0 car seat I should try?
Sorry for the lengthy comment, I am desperate!

Hi, we have a baby due very soon and cannot find a car seat suitable for our car. We drive a Nissan Almera Tino 2001 model and although it has isofix in the two outer back seats it also has underfloor storage. We have been to Babies r us and a local baby store. Despite trying car seats including the britax first class, babies r us told us the only car seat that would fit would be a baby carrier - the maxi cosy cabriofix. The baby store we went to to look at travel systems gave us a different opinion, however. The baby store employee said that the plug part of the seatbelt (not the part that plugs in but the bit it plugs in to) was too long and would cause the seat to be unstable. She demonstrated this using the Jane Strata but said it would be the same for the cabriofix or another car seat. She also said that the rounded part of the buckle (the plugs in bit) was touching the car seat and this was unsafe. In my researching online I have found many people struggling to find seats for the Almera Tino but they are usually looking for group 1 seats so I am wondering what all these people did for group 0! In your experience does the maxi cosy pebble or the cabriofix have problems fitting in our car even without using a base as the baby shop suggested, or is it suitable, as babies r us suggested? Also can you recommend any other group 0 car seat I should try? Sorry for the lengthy comment, I am desperate!
Guest - Good Egg Safety on Tuesday, 01 September 2015 15:24

Hello Sian,

Thank you for your comment!

I can confirm that the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix and Pebble child seats will fit with the adult belt in the Nissan Almera Tino. Most infant seats will fit, which route the seat belt over the seat, over little one's lap, and around the back of the restraint.

The Jane Strata has a slightly different belt routing, and the lap belt routes underneath the seat, not over the top, which is what causes the buckle crunch and unstable fitment. The Jane Strata is fairly unique in this seat belt routing however.

The belt buckles are very high in the Nissan Almera Tino, and the Britax First Class buckle crunches on every seating position. You may find that the Joie Stages car seat fits in rear facing mode - this seat allows you to rear face from birth - 18kg (birth- 4 years). Please note that although you can use the Joie Stages forward facing in group 1 mode, it would not be compatible forward facing in your car.

I hope this is helpful,

The Good Egg Team

Hello Sian, Thank you for your comment! I can confirm that the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix and Pebble child seats will fit with the adult belt in the Nissan Almera Tino. Most infant seats will fit, which route the seat belt over the seat, over little one's lap, and around the back of the restraint. The Jane Strata has a slightly different belt routing, and the lap belt routes underneath the seat, not over the top, which is what causes the buckle crunch and unstable fitment. The Jane Strata is fairly unique in this seat belt routing however. The belt buckles are very high in the Nissan Almera Tino, and the Britax First Class buckle crunches on every seating position. You may find that the Joie Stages car seat fits in rear facing mode - this seat allows you to rear face from birth - 18kg (birth- 4 years). Please note that although you can use the Joie Stages forward facing in group 1 mode, it would not be compatible forward facing in your car. I hope this is helpful, The Good Egg Team :)
Guest - Sam on Saturday, 05 September 2015 14:15

Thanks so much for this. I've just taken my Joie Stages back to a well known large retailer with an orange logo and received a refund after 1 year, because they installed it rear facing but when I turned it round to use forward facing I was concerned that it had buckle crunch, and this was confirmed by the images on here thank you for potentially saving my child's life!

Thanks so much for this. I've just taken my Joie Stages back to a well known large retailer with an orange logo and received a refund after 1 year, because they installed it rear facing but when I turned it round to use forward facing I was concerned that it had buckle crunch, and this was confirmed by the images on here :) thank you for potentially saving my child's life!
Guest - Good Egg Safety on Thursday, 10 September 2015 15:27

Hi Sam,

Thank you for your comment!

We are sorry to hear you had buckle crunch on your seat, but we are glad that our blog has helped you!

Kind Regards,
The Good Egg Team

Hi Sam, Thank you for your comment! We are sorry to hear you had buckle crunch on your seat, but we are glad that our blog has helped you! Kind Regards, The Good Egg Team :)
Guest - Rachael on Friday, 11 September 2015 12:01

Having trouble finding the next stage car seat for my baby girl. Currently only 7.5 months but getting organised! She is still in her baby car seat but growing rapidly. We own a vw golf gti 2001. Went into mothercare and have been told only option is Britax first class plus BUT it only fits forward facing as in the rear position it has buckle crunch. Do you know if this specific seat has an alternative fastening route? As I would really like my daughter rear facing a little longer until she is more stable. I know she is too small for this at the moment but I like being organised! I couldn't imagine waiting until she was too big for her car seat then struggling to find an alternative!!!! Any advise would be great fully received.

Having trouble finding the next stage car seat for my baby girl. Currently only 7.5 months but getting organised! She is still in her baby car seat but growing rapidly. We own a vw golf gti 2001. Went into mothercare and have been told only option is Britax first class plus BUT it only fits forward facing as in the rear position it has buckle crunch. Do you know if this specific seat has an alternative fastening route? As I would really like my daughter rear facing a little longer until she is more stable. I know she is too small for this at the moment but I like being organised! I couldn't imagine waiting until she was too big for her car seat then struggling to find an alternative!!!! Any advise would be great fully received.
Guest - Good Egg Safety on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 15:39

Hi Rachael,

Thank you for your comment!

There are some seats which are suitable, although their suitability will depend on your daughters weight. If you e-mail her weight to enquiries@goodeggsafety.com our expert will be able to recommend some seats.

Kind Regards,
The Good Egg Team

Hi Rachael, Thank you for your comment! There are some seats which are suitable, although their suitability will depend on your daughters weight. If you e-mail her weight to enquiries@goodeggsafety.com our expert will be able to recommend some seats. Kind Regards, The Good Egg Team :)
Guest - Carolina on Monday, 21 September 2015 12:26

Sorry - I still don't understand! If the plastic part of the holder that the buckle clicks into is touching the car seat or base then it's unsafe? Even if it's lying flat against it?

Sorry - I still don't understand! If the plastic part of the holder that the buckle clicks into is touching the car seat or base then it's unsafe? Even if it's lying flat against it?
Guest - Good Egg Safety on Wednesday, 25 November 2015 17:22

Hi Carolina,

It is dangerous when the buckle is bent on or over the frame of the seat, when the plastic buckle casing is taking tension from the child seat fitment. If your buckle was completely flat against the child seat, not bent over the plastic, and not pressured, with the seat belt webbing holding the seat in place, then it is not dangerous.

Hope this helps!

The Good Egg Team

Hi Carolina, It is dangerous when the buckle is bent on or over the frame of the seat, when the plastic buckle casing is taking tension from the child seat fitment. If your buckle was completely flat against the child seat, not bent over the plastic, and not pressured, with the seat belt webbing holding the seat in place, then it is not dangerous. Hope this helps! The Good Egg Team :)
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