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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    DS1 (age 6) just moved into a PW full time. He can't buckle himself at all. When he rides in friends' cars, their parents think he is lazy because he doesn't buckle himself in. I've tried to encourage him to do it himself, but he has trouble reaching, and it just doesn't work. He has a coordination disorder, so I'm wondering if that's why it's hard for him. Or maybe it's just that his friends have had more experience because they've been in boosters full-time for at least 2 years already.

    How old was your child when he/she learned to buckle a booster, and do you have any tips for teaching DS to do it himself?

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  3. #2
    Senior Community Member
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    My dd had been bucking herself in her Husky since she was about 4, and when she moved to a booster full time at 6, she had no problem buckling herself.

    I think, as with anything, that practice helps more than anything.
    "If you don't know how to fix it, please stop breaking it." Severn Suzuki, age 12

  4. #3
    CPS Fanatic mominabigtruck's Avatar
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    Dallas is 6.5 and still can't do it. He was never able to buckle himself in the husky although he could unbuckle himself. I think part of it is our van's seatbelts, they're really funky and I have problems with them myself.
    If it seems like I'm not making sense, it's probably just my phone

  5. #4
    CPS Technician christineka's Avatar
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    Ds is almost 6 and only rides in a booster in the car. He's been buckling himself for about a year now, but I have to adjust the belt under the arm for him. It doesn't help that I've got a squishy three across in the car.

  6. #5
    CPS Technician tiggercat's Avatar
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    It took Greg at least a few months of booster riding to be able to buckle himself (he was 5.5 ish when he moved to a booster full time), and I still checked him every time for a while after he figured it out. I still check to make sure he pulled all the slack out at the hips

    What kind of buckle stalks do you have? Ours are floppy and tend to fall back into the little slots for them in the vehicle seat. I think it really was a matter of practice.
    Natalie, CRST-I, mum of Greg (15), Megan (10), Benjamin and Samuel (6).


  7. #6
    Senior Community Member
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    DD is 5 and she can buckle herself in her radian about 99% of the time. She has only riden in a booster a few times but she has been able to buckle herself. It does take her a minute though. Also she does not pay attention to how the seatbelt is routed so I position it and then she buckles. I think she could probably have it down in about a month if we really worked at it but at this point she doesn't ride in a booster enough.
    Former CPST and Mom to
    C-13 years old, B-11 years old
    A-8 years old riding in a Harmony Youth Booster or Graco TurboBooster

  8. #7
    Senior Community Member MustangMama's Avatar
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    Sami was about 4 when she could completely buckle herself in and out of her harness. I still do it though to make sure it's correct, but sometimes she does.

    She is 5 now and is buckling her seat belt on her booster on her own. DH has to help her and make sure she gets it on the right way.

  9. #8
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    Michael has been buckling himself in his 5-points since 4 1/2. He got a parkway full time a month before he turned 6. I taught him how to buckle and now he does it. IF the seatbelt gets twisted he needs my help though.

    Logan(4 the end of this month) can buckle all his seats(5-points) I always double check though.

  10. #9
    CPS Advocate Kat_Momof3's Avatar
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    my oldest was close to 7 when he was able to do it... he has bipolar disorder, in addition to aspergers and adhd, but bipolar disorder causes an increase of clumsiness and lack of coordination as one of the less obvious symptoms.

    His brother, on the other hand, was buckling the parkway when he was 6 from the day he went into it, like he had been doing it all his life... but he'd never done it himself in any booster (with or without help) before.

    Damian had been able to do it since about 4.5yrs old with help in a booster... he just took longer to do it without because mastering the idea of holding the belt and sliding the buckle up to allow more slack in the lapbelt was just not a natural instinct for him.

    Every kid is different and I would NEVER blame it on a kid being lazy.

    My nephew is 7 and can unbuckle himself with the hand sitting closest to the buckle and has for some time... but he still can't buckle himself... not because he's lazy, but because he is built very large (he's overweight... very overweight, but not due to his eating... they are still trying to figure out why he is). He has tried and tried... he just can't.

    This past summer, my son buckled his cousin's booster and was his "helping buddy" for things that, due to his weight, he simply can't do... put on his own shoes, his own clothes (though he can pull up and down his pants and underclothes, but he can't put them on if they are off... shirts and socks are worse), tie his shoes. He tries to do these things and he's gotten to the point where he's starting to be upset about it. So I talked to Jeffrey about it before and when his cousin got here and bribed him with sitting with his cousin (who is 4mo younger than Jeffrey and who is his favorite cousin) in the car and with extra money in his allowance.

    He actually preferred his cousin doing it, as I figured, to me doing it a lot of the time, because it didn't slow us down on getting everyone ready. I worried about me and Ruthie and helping Damian with tying his shoes (it takes him awhile and he has trouble, so I usually step in after he has tried both shoes at least once... or I at least make sure they are double knotted... again... this comes from the bipolar disorder affecting his coordination), and Jeffrey helped his cousin.

    Anyway... sorry to make it so long, but basically, every kid is different and those other parents should be teaching their kids acceptance and tolerance of others.


    Ruthie can buckle herself in her harness, but couldn't begin to in a booster, though I'll teach her once she's been trained in using one first. Still, she chooses not to buckle herself. When she was 3, she HAD to... it was a control issue. Now she wants me to do it for her... because she wants to stay the baby and she likes me doing things for her that make her the baby. So she's all about... "Mommy, buckle Baby Ruthie!"



    Check out my new hair blog - Ruthie-dos

  11. #10
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    I'm pretty sure it's a combination of low, floppy belt stalks with lack of practice and his coordination issues. He was sometimes, but not consistently, able to buckle himself in the RN. When he did buckle himself, it took a long time and often resulted in frustration.

    I think that the other moms are reacting to the fact that they see extended harnessing as "wanting to hold on to babyhood" or "preventing the child from growing up." They see their kids buckling themselves in their boosters as signs of independence.

    Given DS1's coordination disorder, there are (and will always be) lots of things that other kids are doing independently before him. When there are "age-appropriate" activities that DS1 is not doing, we spend lots of time (and energy) working on them with him, much as his therapists did when teaching him to jump or to print his name. He eventually learns, but the process is often extremely difficult, and it's sometimes difficult for me to decide whether it's worth the effort. And, we have to decide what to target, because we can't work on it all. If I heard that most kids were buckling themselves into boosters before 6, I would work a whole lot harder to make sure that DS learns to do it ASAP. Knowing that there are kids his age without coordination issues who don't necessarily buckle themselves in makes me think that it's not worth the effort right now. Especially since I know it would be hard given our buckle stalks.

    If only other parents knew how "not lazy" this child is! He has to work so hard at everything he does! And I hope that as he gets older, he has lots of "helpers!"

    Thanks for all the input!

  12. #11
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    My dd could reliably buckle herself in her five point harness at 3.5yo. We started booster-training at 4, but she didn't move to a booster full-time until 6. She couldn't consistently buckle her boosters on her own until late 6/early 7. So it took her a long time to figure it out. Every time we get a new booster, it's a whole new learning curve, and she's frustrated and slow for awhile, then gets the hang of it. Buckle stalk design can definitely play a role, too. Our 2003 Focus is more difficult for dd to buckle up than our 1999 Windstar, due to much shorter (almost recessed in the vehicle seat) buckle stalks; the Windstar's middle row buckle stalks were very long and rigid, easy to reach and buckle.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  13. #12
    CPS Technician emandbri's Avatar
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    My older two could do it around 5, I admit I bribed them. My third is 5 1/2 but hasn't been in a booster enough to be able to do it himself.

    Emily tech and mom to Jacob 16, Daniel 13, Benjamin 9, Elizabeth 6. Child care provider to 4 other kiddos.

  14. #13
    CPS Advocate Kat_Momof3's Avatar
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    Re: How old for a boostered child to buckle himself?

    I agree.. buckle stalks play a big role... it's so much easier for any kid to buckle in my captains chairs or dh's car, where the buckles are stiff, rather than my third row, where they are longer.

    Once they learn to use both hands, it's easier.

    You know, I wouldn't even WANT to leave buckling a booster to a child before age 7 without at least checking them... and under 6, I'm not sure I'd trust them not to twist the seatbelt.

    before age 7, I gotta check the tightness of that lapbelt if it's a lightweight locking latchplate, cause some boosters are harder to tighten the seatbelt with than others, and , before the Monterey, if it was a highback, I wanted to be sure they didn't get the belt caught up or pull it out of the guide.

    I've seen some kids under 6 buckle themselves in cars in parking lots in boosters (or worse... nothing) and it is just never as right as an adult could do it.



    Check out my new hair blog - Ruthie-dos

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