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  1. #1
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    Toddler Unbuckling Car Seat Harness/Buckles

    Hi, this is my first post, but I've been using this site as my #1 car seat resource for up-to-date information for the past 2 years.

    My DD (who just turned 2) is RF in a Britax MA and has been constantly unbuckling herself for the past 2 weeks. How do I get her to stop? I've googled for products that will cover the harness so that she can't get at the buckles, but no luck thus far.

    Thanks in advance for any product recommendations, advice or help!

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    Re: Toddler Unbuckling Car Seat Harness/Buckles

    Hi there. Just some quick questions..

    What part exactly is she unbuckling? Is she loosening the straps, or is she undoing the chest buckle, or is she actually unbuckling the harness at the crotch strap??



    For loosening the whole harness (they lean forward, pull the lever and the harness loosens) if she is RFing you can tuck the strap down and flap between the carseat and the seat of the car itself. If FFing they make a great "training kit" to put on temporarily to keep them from doing that. You can get it directly from Britax.

    For the chest clip...i've heard people put the nasty part of velcro (the scratchy part) on the buckle itself. Just stick two small pieces where she would put her hands to release it. The feel in itself may be enough to deter her.


    If its the actual buckle-not sure what to tell you there other than you may have to go look for a different seat with a harder to release buckle.

    Sorry I couldn't be much help!

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
    S 7y 52 lbs 54" Harmony NBB
    J-4y 38 lbs Graco Headwise 70 Britax Roundabout 50

  4. #3
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    Re: Toddler Unbuckling Car Seat Harness/Buckles

    Quote Originally Posted by Eviesmama View Post
    Hi there. Just some quick questions..

    What part exactly is she unbuckling? Is she loosening the straps, or is she undoing the chest buckle, or is she actually unbuckling the harness at the crotch strap??
    She doesn't loosen the straps; I have the pull tucked away. She unbuckles the chest clip, slips her arms out and reaches down and releases the crotch buckle, (I've even made the harness extra tight and raised the chest clip to try and stop the mobility of her arms slipping through but it just gives me an extra 5 minutes of drive time). I have a 4.5 yo DD who never even dreamed of unbuckling herself (she does now when we reach our destinations to help me out).

    The funny thing is (if there is a funny part to this), I have trouble undoing the crotch buckle - it's tough, but she has no problem!

    I consistently pull over immediately everytime and buckle her in again, but she will do it again on the very next trip!

    I've tried everything; rewards, taking things away, turning the car around and going home (when I can), saying the police will pull us over and she will get in trouble/a ticket, explaining that she can get hurt (she is too young to grasp the severity of her actions so she just finds this funny).

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
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    Jul 2007
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    Re: Toddler Unbuckling Car Seat Harness/Buckles

    My son was about 2 1/2 when he pulled his chest clip down and I immediatly pulled over and i looked at him and told him if we got in an accident he would get very badly hurt and would never seen his mommy again because he would be too badly hurt. He pulled his clip back up and never touched it again.

    I went for what I knew would affect him and that would be the loss of his mommy. Find what works for your child as a currency and use it. With my daughter her currency is one on one time with Mommy or Daddy. But she is older.

  6. #5
    Senior Community Member katiesmommy's Avatar
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    Re: Toddler Unbuckling Car Seat Harness/Buckles

    My DD just learned how to undo the chest clip. She's only done it once while we were out and luckily it was while we were sitting in a parking lot while a friend and I took turns getting our mail. All I had to do with her was tell her in a firm voice not to do that again unless mommy says it's okay, she hasn't touched it again.



  7. #6
    CPS Technician BW1426's Avatar
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    Re: Toddler Unbuckling Car Seat Harness/Buckles

    You could try putting the rough part of velcro over the parts of the chest clip she would have to touch and on the button of the crotch buckle. Hopefully she won't like the feel and therefore won't want to touch it.

  8. #7
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    Re: Toddler Unbuckling Car Seat Harness/Buckles

    Quote Originally Posted by mckarley View Post
    She doesn't loosen the straps; I have the pull tucked away. She unbuckles the chest clip, slips her arms out and reaches down and releases the crotch buckle, (I've even made the harness extra tight and raised the chest clip to try and stop the mobility of her arms slipping through but it just gives me an extra 5 minutes of drive time). I have a 4.5 yo DD who never even dreamed of unbuckling herself (she does now when we reach our destinations to help me out).

    The funny thing is (if there is a funny part to this), I have trouble undoing the crotch buckle - it's tough, but she has no problem!

    I consistently pull over immediately everytime and buckle her in again, but she will do it again on the very next trip!

    I've tried everything; rewards, taking things away, turning the car around and going home (when I can), saying the police will pull us over and she will get in trouble/a ticket, explaining that she can get hurt (she is too young to grasp the severity of her actions so she just finds this funny).
    I would start with the Velcro suggestion (rough part out on the two parts of the chest clip) to see if that dissuades her. Everyone agrees that that's safe, and doesn't interfere with the function of the clip and harness. Beyond that, my suggestions are my personal opinion, based on my experience with my middle child, who started unbuckling the chest clip on his Radian when he was 2 1/2. At that age (and your child is even younger) the discipline and scolding approaches made little impression on him, especially if we were going somewhere he didn't want to go in the first place. It doesn't do much good to have people tell you that their child stopped the behavior when firmly told to stop; mine (and apparently yours) did NOT stop... and I think there are big personality differences from one child to another.

    I had a couple of fabric straps floating around the house, with strong snaps on the end to close the strap into a loop (had been used to childproof kitchen cabinets in a relative's house), and they happened to be the perfect length to fit around the harness straps at chest clip level on DS's seat. When he refused to keep the chest clip shut, I wrapped the fabric strap around the clip and harness straps, fastened the snap, and put the snap side against his body so he couldn't get at it. My reasoning was that the chest clip is a pre-crash positioning device to keep the harness straps in proper position up to the moment of a crash. The chest clip itself is not designed to withstand crash forces. Adding the fabric strap fulfilled that pre-crash positioning function for DS during the (relatively short) period that we had this behavior problem. I realized it was a modification to the seat (and therefore automatically frowned upon), but I decided that it was a lesser risk than having him unbuckle and get his harness straps out of position in the moving vehicle. With a rear-facing child you don't always notice right away when this happens either; when my older DS was in the car with us, he served as a useful alarm signal, LOL, by immediately tattling on his little brother. Since your child is going even further, taking her arms out of the straps and also unbuckling the crotch buckle of her seat, there is no question that it is unsafe for her to ride like that.

    This is my personal opinion as a parent; I am not a tech. I didn't think it was an ideal solution at the time, but I considered it relatively safe, and far safer than the alternative of having my son unbuckle part of his harness at random times in a moving vehicle. He also did the unbuckling less often, once he realized I had something 'up my sleeve' to stop him. I only had to resort to this occasionally, over perhaps a six-month period; after that (a little after he turned 3, IIRC) DS started paying more attention to verbal correction of the behavior, and apparently started having some understanding that his carseat and harness are there to keep him safe in the car.

    Currently he is in a big safety phase -- even his stuffed animals have to be securely buckled in (when his baby sister isn't riding in her seat next to him) -- if I forget, I hear a strident 'Buckle Barney!! Keep him SAFE!' from the back seat as I try to drive off .

    Katrin

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