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br825
br825 asks:
Q:

How do I keep my 2 1/2 year old in his car seat?!

My 2 1/2 year old can unbuckle his car seat. I was driving on the highway the other day looked back and my son has his straps across his chest unbuckled. His legs are buckled but he can get the other one undone. This has happend 2 times I always check it and make sure it is tight. But he knows how to work it. I am scared to go anywhere now with him what am I suppose to do never take him anywhere? Any advice
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 17, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Although it is not unusual for young kids to unbuckle themselves from their car seat, it is definitely a scarey thing for a parent to deal with!  There are several things that you may want to try.  

First of all, in terms that your child can understand, talk to them about keeping their seat belt on and how they could get hurt if they don't.  Make a big production yourself out of wearing your own seat belt--role modeling is very important.  If necessary let your child know that if they take their seat belt off there will be a consequence.  They can lose a toy or TV time or special snack.  The opposite holds true if they keep it on, let them know that there will be a reward or just praise them and hug them when they keep it on.  

You can also keep prompting them during the ride in the car--make a game out of both of you keeping it on.  Remember, sometimes kids do "naughty" things to get attention.  Interacting frequently with them during the ride, and having activities or music for them can help alleviate boredom that could lead to trying to escape from the car seat.

Best of luck!
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Additional Answers (4)

kat_eden
kat_eden , Parent writes:
Hi br825,

Wow, what a tough situation!  Do you know if he's doing it "intentionally" (as in to get out of his seat belt) or if he's doing it "by accident" (as in he's just pushing a button that looks like it's just waiting to be pushed)?

If it's the by accident, I wonder if you could just cover the buckle so that it's less enticing for him to push.  I've seen sheepskin strap covers at Babies R Us that might work.  You can also talk to him and let him know how important his seat belt is.  Without being too scary, let him know that if your car ever bumped into another car, his seatbelt would keep him nice and safe but if it's unclicked it can't do it's job.  If he worships police / firemen the way my boys do you could also tell him that they police will be upset if he undoes his seat belt because it's a rule that it needs to be clicked.

If he's undoing it on purpose, you've got a bigger problem!  You could try the same talk I suggested above.  But he really needs to know that the car will not move if his seatbelt is undone.  Depending on his temperament, this could backfire on you and become a way he tries to control you.  It may become kind of a game for him to see you pull over and re-do it every time he undoes it.  You may have to do something extreme like turn around and go back home if he undoes the buckle when you're on your way somewhere fun for him (like a play date or a class).

I can't wait to hear what ideas other parents have.  This is a tricky one!

Good luck and let us know what ends up working.
Kat
Education.com Community Team
> 60 days ago

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tanyadaniels
tanyadaniels writes:
we have the same problem with my 19 month grandson. ( and he means too) I have no advice except try to keep him entertained with music or movies, other than that pull over fix his straps and back on the road. Anyone have advice we would love it.
> 60 days ago

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marianymk
marianymk writes:
Hi,

I had the same problem for a while. My son is 3 and he used to do the same thing. I followed all the suggestions that were given to you, it finally worked.
I did pull over a few times and explained to him how important is was to keep the belt buckled. I also got very, very ungry a few times as well. I think he got the message the message in the end.

Hope this helps.

Regards
> 60 days ago

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mommn
mommn writes:
Both of my sons tried this exactly once. One was on a busy city street and the other on the freeway (I was in the left lane!). I immediately pulled over onto the shoulder, turned around and let him know that the car would not be moving again until the seat belt was fully buckled and stayed that way. Neither tried it again. Trust me, they are both strong willed boys with ADHD. As a matter of fact, the freeway unstraper had to be rushed to the Urgent Care with a cut upper lip a year later; the bleeding could only be kept under control with him laying in my lap. He was upset that the car was moving and he WASN'T in his car seat. They are now 20 and 24 and are very carefull and won't let any one in their cars without a seat belt (even as teens just starting to drive).
> 60 days ago

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