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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    Learning to buckle in booster

    When you put your little one in a booster where they able to buckle themselves in? We have started booster training DD and she just cant seem to pull the belt through and get it buckled. It almost seems easier in her 5pt. because she can get it buckled in. I always double check after she does it but I just don't know why the booster is so hard for her. We are using a Recaro Vivo and today tried her Nautilus in booster mode.

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: Learning to buckle in booster

    Mine couldn't reliably buckle their boosters every time without till about 7 (particularly in three across, and some were easier than others, like the dreamy-easy old Parkway....)....that was one of the reasons I reharnessed my kids at 4 and 5, it was just so much easier for everyone to get them buckled (namely, me, because it's no picnic leaning over a kid in a minivan, or down in a sedan for that matter, to buckle them up, lol).

    Funnily enough, most booster manuals that I recall tell you NOT to let your child buckle themselves (might be a good teaching tool for parents who haven't the faintest clue what proper belt fit actually is, but it's a bit much for those of us who can visually determine if things are right, IMO).
    Julie
    CPST since 2003, pu"R"ple since 2008, three kids growing too fast since 1997, 1999 and 2006

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

  4. #3
    CPS Advocate Kat_Momof3's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    Re: Learning to buckle in booster

    mine couldn't do it on their own till after age 6... we just kept showing them, telling them how we were doing it, until they got it.

    It was this reason that I'm so glad I didn't have to switch Jeffrey until he could already work a booster... Damian learned it early, at age 5... but not without me holding the shoulderbelt out to keep slack in it... which was fine, when I only had one other child to get in and buckle up (Ruthie... Jeffrey would do himself), but I'd been spoiled by only having to buckle one child and then simply check and/or tighten the other two, so once he'd gotten the hang of it, I was very determined to not have Jeffrey in a booster until he either outgrew his seat, or could buckle himself.

    Ruthie, being the baby, still has some issues with buckling her booster in her father's car (the female part getting too far down in the seat, forgetting to let the belt retract all the way so it is unlocked), but her brothers will help her and I just check her.


    For the vivo, there are some tricks that have to be learned... teach her to worry only about the lapbelt first... get it under both armrests... then buckle... pull the shoulderbelt to tighten the lapbelt... then thread the shoulderbelt... tighten it.... if you try to put the shoulderbelt under the armrest before you snug the lapbelt, it's just a pain...

    The way I taught my kids was to hold out the shoulderbelt and give them the buckle and let them get buckled... then talk them through putting the belt under the armrest... tightening, then threading the shoulderbelt, and moving all remaining slack of the shoulderbelt to the retractor.



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  6. #4
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    214

    Re: Learning to buckle in booster

    thanks for the suggestions, sounds like some more instruction may be needed. Shes 6.5 so I thought the transition would be easy but at this point I'm a little frustrated since the 5pt is easier for her to work. We are in the market for new boosters as the Recaro is usally for G'mas car so if there are any that are easier than others let me know.
    How about the turbobooster? That is what I am leaning towards since she is petite.

  7. #5
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    Idaho
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    Re: Learning to buckle in booster

    It just takes practice. My 10yo just switched to a booster full-time, so the only practice she's had has been once a month or so when she rode in her dad's car.

    I'd have thought with her her being older and having practiced it wouldn't be so hard, but it takes her a few minutes to buckle herself. She's getting better, though.
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  8. #6
    CPS Technician bobandjess99's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    3,955

    Re: Learning to buckle in booster

    It took dd a few months practice, at age 4.5. Now at age 6, she can easily buckle quickly, but i trained her to be quick. i am a "go, go, go" type person, and it would kill me to wait around while peole fidgeted with seat belts and such.

    Alex, 8 Katie, 12 and Annabelle Jan 2017

  9. #7
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
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    L.A. area
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    20,423

    Re: Learning to buckle in booster

    My daughter tried but couldn't do it unti 6 1/2 and in a vehicle with a fairly rigid buckle stalk. I still do it for her in 3 across or cars with a floppy stalk.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  10. #8
    CPS Technician cookie123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Mpls MN
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    4,624

    Re: Learning to buckle in booster

    Hannah can do it sort of. Brett needs help. They are 8 and 6. I have to help them get situated because they have on coats that we leave open so there's no compression issues, but I have to help them get it out of the way and get the lap part snug.

    When the 3 of them are in there, I have to do it for them. It sucks. Especially out in the cold!
    PEG - Gramma to:
    Hannah - 16 - Seatbelt! Reya - 1.5 4Ever/BLVD/Peg
    Brett - 15 - Seatbelt Nolan - 2.5 - 4Ever/Fllo
    Matt- 11 - Seatbelt Baby Boy due 1/17/19 Pipa
    Griffin - 6 - Parkway SG

  11. #9
    CPS Technician
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    Aug 2006
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    NEB
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    Re: Learning to buckle in booster

    3 across can be really tricky because you have to work "blind."

    IME, 4 year olds can buckle a booster (with a bit of practice) if in a captain's seat or no one is sitting next to them. They may not be fast, but they can do it:

    • pull the seat belt out a ways so they have room to turn toward the buckle (if the child sticks their hip out, they have room to turn and reach w/o pulling the belt ALL the way out and having it lock.
    • hold the latch plate in outer hand - nearest the retractor
    • grasp the buckle in the near hand
    • buckle (bring hands together)
    • THEN tuck the lap belt under the arm rests, the shoulder belt under the buckle side, smooth out the lap/shoulder belt
    • pull up on shoulder portion to tighten
    • option, if allowed: pull shoulder belt all the way out to lock

    Obviously, I watch to make sure the belts are positioned correctly and help as needed (usually, I hold the buckle for the first couple of times). If there is another child, they can help hold the buckle or latch plate.

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