Question 3 year old unclipping chest clip


New member
So our three year old is now unclipping her chest clip on her graco car seat, she is unable to on her britex. We have tried everything to get her to stop doing it but she won’t. I don’t know what to do anymore, except maybe this would this not work or would it be ok? Her car seat is attached via the latch system, we can clip the regular car seat overtop the clip and it fits right into the booster holders. If we continue to use the 5 point under the regular seat belt but clip the seatbelt over the 5 point would that pose a problem? I took a picture but I’m not sure how to post it since I’m new here.


Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
You cannot use the seatbelt and the harness together. It can cause many problems, yes. The seat will either fail, or it wasn't tested that way in the first place. Either way, you don't want her in that position.

How heavy is she? And she's on the side of your car, not the middle? You have the top tether done up (if she's forward facing)?

I'd double check you have the harness above her shoulders (for forward facing) or below her shoulders (if rear facing), and that the harness just passes the pinch test. You don't want the straps below her shoulders, and you don't want to be over tightening. The straps below her shoulders is wrong, but the combination of the two means she's very uncomfortable, and she's more likely to try to get out.

You can use discipline for her. Either positive or negative. For every trip she DOESN'T do it, she gets a sticker. For every 10 stickers, you go for ice cream. Or, every time she does do it, you take away a half hour of screen time. Or something, those are just an example. Maybe you promise a trip to somewhere fun, and if she does it on the way, you don't go to that fun place. That's both in one. If she doesn't, yay, she gets to go. If she does, boo, she doesn't.

Is another Britax an option? Let us know her height and weight, and we can recommend a seat for her. Britaxes start at under $200, so if that's doable, that may be the easiest thing. Either rear or forward facing.

This is a super common issue with three year olds, so don't fret too much. Know that it's developmentally fairly normal. Three year olds have taken being two and turned it into an art form. And that involves really NOT wanting to be restrained. In theory, we're the adults and we can outsmart them, but being three years into sleeplessness and 18 months into being pelted with WHY WHY WHY doesn't help our cause.

We've got your back. :)



My 3 year old does this occasionally and seems to enjoy it more when someone makes a big deal out of it! Wendy gave some ideas above. If you tell us what you’ve tried specifically, we might be able to think of some more things to try. We’re on a big road trip now and several of my kids, including the 3 year old, have enjoyed playing with wikki stix. Sometimes having something to keep little hands busy can help distract them from unbuckling.

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