Need a seat child can't unbuckle


New member
It's happening. Our 4yo is unbuckling her seat while we're driving. First she mastered loosening the harness (Britax Boulevard Clicktight), and now she's also unbuckling the bottom buckle if she wants something she can't reach.

We're getting ready to purchase a second seat for a second vehicle, and I'm hoping there is something out there that won't be so easy for her to escape from.

Never thought I'd be writing THIS post. But this little gal has been through a lot of trauma, and is working through so much more than a 4yo should have to be dealing with. Compliance is at an all time low, and it is going to take some time and healing. Obviously, we're doing the teaching and training about, um, NOT okay to be unbuckling. But I'd much rather continue to work on obedience issues in other contexts, and know that she is secure in her seat while I'm driving.

She's BIG. Has been ever since she was placed in our home. Wears size 6. She isn't overweight, just always has been over the 95th percentile for height, head, weight.

What seat ideas do ya'll have?? I had intended to get the Chicco MyFit for her next seat, since she is so tall, and I like the narrow footprint. But that harness adjuster is just right there. Maybe not such a good idea.


New member
Now, ideally it's better to work on the parenting angle, but considering you said there's a heavy stuff being worked through right now and you might want to avoid the battle in the car for a bit - you could consider the Merritt buckle guard as a temporary solution. Others should hopefully chime in with suggestions, but this is the one thing I can think of that will guarantee she can't unbuckle, especially if you want to wait to really work on the car issues.

(I wouldn't normally jump to this as a first suggestion, but this isn't a completely typical situation based on the information so I feel bringing it up now is reasonable.)


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
Adding a non-approved item (the Merritt guard is only approved with the Roosevelt) should definitely be a last resort after all other options have been tried.

Some seats are harder to undo than others- the Britax Frontier is almost impossible to loosen- but ultimately it is not impossible for a determined child to undo most seats. Making it more difficult to loosen combined with rewarding her for not messing with the buckle might be enough to get through this phase though.

If she has a neurological or developmental diagnosis that means this may be a long-term issue, there are options you can look at such as the Merritt Roosevelt with buckle guard and the EZ-On vests with back zip and floor mount system, but I'd advise an appointment with a local special needs trained tech if you think it's going to come to that.


New member
Based on the situation described, I don't think any long term special needs considerations will be needed. I may have jumped the gun a little on the buckle guard, but given this specific described situation, where the behavioral issue has its root in trauma I do see it a little differently than a typical 'kid unbuckles' issue.

That said, I would only resort to it after trying to address the behavior for a time - if after making a sincere attempt things are not significantly improving and the OP feels pressing the issue is not in this kid's best interest for the immediate future, then I would not fault the temporary use of the buckle guard. I do agree - the decision to use an aftermarket accessory like this should not be taken lightly (and if the buckle guard is used, it should be for as short a period as possible).


Well-known member
What about the rough side of a self stick piece of Velcro on the buckle release button?

I remember seeing that suggested here many times in the past. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be worth a try, unless something has been determined that it could be a bad idea. To me, it seems safer than using a part that is only approved for use on one seat and this is not that seat.

if this is no longer a good idea, please let me know and let me know why. Thanks! :)


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
As long as it's a small sticker and doesn't gum up the workings of the buckle that's probably not a horrible thing, but many kids aren't deterred.

Along the same lines, mittens on and safetypinned to sleeves could deter some kids but not others, but that's very restrictive on the child so should be used with caution, might not be practical in summer, and likely works best on children too young to troubleshoot getting them off.


New member
The velcro didn't work for me. My daughter was getting out of her Britax as well. Through this forum (thank you) I tried getting a button down shirt which we put on and then buttoned up over the harness. It is definitely a deterrent. Took less than a week in the shirt to break the habit. Good luck.


From a behavioral standpoint, maybe you could try something rewarding that was specific to the car so that it doesn’t interfere with the other issues you are trying to work through. For example, if she keeps her seatbelt on then she gets to control the music in the car or if she keeps it on all week she gets to pick a destination to go on the next car trip. Or maybe she would enjoy being in charge of everyone putting their seatbelts on in the car and being in charge of announcing when the car is stopped and everyone can take off their seatbelts? Sometimes kids that age respond well to feeling they have some power or control.

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