Britax HUGS Chest Pads With SafeCell Technology are a Premium Feature
All of the Britax convertible and harness to booster car seats come fitted with 5-point harnesses, but those harnesses are not uniform throughout the product lines. Whilst the cheaper seats come with standard harness systems, since June 2012 the premium models have had HUGS Chest Pads with SafeCell Technology fitted instead.
In case you are wondering, HUGS stands for “Harness ultra guard system”.
If you choose a car seat fitted with the Britax HUGS Chest Pads, you will need to pay a little extra. For example, the only differences between the Britax Marathon G4 and the Britax Boulevard G4 are the fact that the Boulevard comes with HUGS Chest Pads with Safe Cell Technology (instead of the standard HUGS Harness Ultra Guard System) and True Side Impact Protection (instead of Side Impact Protection). These 2 extra features will costs you an extra $25-30.
Before reaching any conclusions about the necessity of the more expensive Chest Pads, it helps to know a little more about this type of harness strap and whether or not the extra cost is justified on safety grounds. The key difference between the 2 harness strap systems is the SafeCell Technology feature and this must be the main focus of our attention.
Britax HUGS Chest Pads With SafeCell Technology Explained
So, what exactly are Britax HUGS Chest Pads with SafeCell Technology and do they actually have any effect upon your child’s safety?
Britax claims that the SafeCells are designed to compress in a crash and thereby reduce the magnitude of impact forces that are transmitted to your child.
Britax actually claims that these SafeCell pads have 2 important safety benefits:
- they help to manage energy transfer to your child in a collision
- they reduce forward movement and thereby reduce the risk of head injuries
Britax explain the significance of their SafeCell Technology in this short video:
Note: The G4 models come with a slightly difference HUGS Chest Pad than that shown in the video – it no longer has a strap running through it that attaches to the shell and the loosening mechanism is now said to be smoother.
Britax HUGS Chest Pads With SafeCell Technology Assessed
This all sounds very important and reassuring, but is there actually any evidence that these more expensive Chest Pads work in the improved manner claimed by Britax?
Well, I have tried to find independent verification that these premium Chest Pads provide the added safety benefits that Britax allege, but I have failed. It would seem that there is not such independent confirmation available.
However, that does NOT mean that Britax’s claims are false. In order to be able to make such claims, they would first need to have carried out their own tests to prove. Whilst I haven’t had sight of those test results, I think it most unlikely that Britax would make such bold claims without some evidence to back them up. So, I am prepared to accept that the HUGS Chest Pads with SafeCell Technology provide additional safety benefits, but I am unable to say to what extent this is true.
Which Seats have HUGS Chest Pads with SafeCell Technology?
The following Britax car seats come fitted with these premium Chest Pads:
After purchasing any child car seat, you should always read the User Manual thoroughly before using it. It is also advisable to visit your local Fire Department or NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Centre to ensure that the seat is definitely suitable for your child’s specific requirements and that you have installed it correctly. These services are usually provided free of charge.
You can find your nearest NHTSA Centre here.
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