What if husband just isn't good at carseats?

bnsnyde

New member
What is the best thing to do here? Not wanting to be an annoying nag...but wanting my kids alive.

Husband just isn't very good at putting the kids in their seats (and he really only drives them on weekends, or oldest 3 to church, etc.) The FF 5-year-old is fine and does everything by himself (I taught him and he's great at even adjusting the chest clip; husband checks it's secure). But the others (4, 2 and baby) are rear-facing and I feel it's more of an art to get the straps snugly over their shoulders, not slipping off. The 4-year-old does not have to be RF, of course, but that's our set up right now.

Husband is an computer/engineer type A person, doesn't want a carseat nag every time he drives his kids, which I understand. And I'm always paranoid about a potential crash and kids flying out of seats.

Today he loosened the 2-year-old's straps on his RF Radian, then tightened them but not enough, and had the chest clip too low. He said he had to loosen because child was in a coat. (I use a poncho with him and there is no way husband is going to go through that, and it seems the coat provides better visibility for husband so he can see all the straps at all times, which can't hurt). Now, the coat is a fleece North Face I bought for the carseat, but I'm unhappy with its bulk nonetheless and don't feel it's a great choice without a lot of extra work that hurried husbands just won't do).

I have taught him a lot about all these issues, showed crash tests online, etc. His response is a mildly annoyed, he's fine, he's fine. And I'm thinking, until you get hit and someone goes flying!

Grandma is another person who drives them and she's GREAT! She listened obsessively to everything I taught her and tries her absolute best to take the time to do everything as perfectly as possible, in case the unthinkable happens.

But, obviously husband is going to be driving his kids around all his life. So, hmmm...
 
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soccer_widow

New member
I could have written your post. Down to the ages of the kids and the fact that grandma does great. So, I have no advice for you, but am interested to see what others have to say.
 

Carrie_R

Ambassador - CPS Technician
I think the first thing I would do is make things as user-friendly as possible. I can't see your sig, so don't know what the kids are riding in, but as an example: use a bucket for baby, so you can buckle him in in the house and DH just has to snap in. Turn the 4yo FFing in the easiest-to-use seat you can find (say, a GN, whose harness I found so smooth it was easy to over tighten!) Use thin fleece hoodies and have lots of blankets easily accessible in the car.

Also, I might have a frank conversation with him, "I know this carseat stuff is annoying to you, but it's really important to me. What can I do to make things easier for you, so that I don't feel like such a nag all the time?"
 

Brigala

Well-known member
Also, I might have a frank conversation with him, "I know this carseat stuff is annoying to you, but it's really important to me. What can I do to make things easier for you, so that I don't feel like such a nag all the time?"

^^ That.

Or, something like "I'm sure you think I'm paranoid about it, and maybe I am, but I worry a lot and even if you don't think it's important I am asking you to respect that it's important to me. It would help me to worry less if I knew they were secured just right in their car seats. So if you don't think it's important for their safety, at least recognize that it's important for my sanity."
 

cmcki737

New member
My husband also stinks with car seats and my mother as well so I just have to remind constantly and check as often as I can :-/

sent from my SPH-M580 using Car-Seat.Org
 

hrice

New member
Can't he just leave the straps as is? You can put the kids in and adjust them and then he just leaves the straps alone when taking them in and out. There is no need to loosen and tighten every time.
 

Kecia

Admin - CPST Instructor
My DH was never perfect with carseat usage either but I learned to bite my lip over the years and only only said something if it was really bad. I also made sure he had the easiest possible seats to use in his vehicle. To clarify - he always made a good effort and he cared about doing it right but his "right" and my "right" weren't the same. Still, he did a better job than most average parents so I didn't nitpick about things like the chest clip being 2" lower than where I would position it and straps being not as snug as I would pull them. I always did the installs in all of our vehicles so at least I never had to worry about that.

If it makes you feel any better, I would say don't worry too much about minor misuse in a RF seat. RF CRs tend to be much more forgiving of minor misuse than FF seats because the back surface is the primary form of restraint. The harness is secondary - only for containment. Personally, I am more nit-picky about FF seats but honestly, if the seat is installed tightly and tethered and the harness is at least relatively snug - the child is going to be fine in a crash.
 

Lemonade

New member
Like the others, I would turn the 4 yr old since your DH seems to do better with FF seats.

My DH is decent with seats but I also do try to make things as easy as possible and get him seats he thinks are easier to use:)
 

tracee877

Active member
I feel your pain! The other day DH went to get our 3yo from daycare. He didn't realize I had taken his seat out of his truck to wash the cover. So when he got there and realized he had no seat for DS, what does he do? Sticks him on the seat with just a seatbelt.:mad: I was livid! How hard is it to come back home and get the dang seat!?
 

thepote

New member
Yup- here, too :( I posted in another thread today about how I can't have him use continuous harnesses because he will just leave them completely skewed and loose. If the harness adjuster isn't smooth as butter he won't pull it tight enough. Its awful because its just in his nature to be impatient about anything mechanical or that requires physical effort.

He likes to talk :rolleyes:
 

Stelvis

New member
This is why I don't ever put the Truefit in DH's car. Continuous harness plus unreachable harness adjuster (I can get my fingers down there but his are too big). He does really well with Britax but the Truefit is just asking too much.
 

rxmommy

New member
Stelvis said:
This is why I don't ever put the Truefit in DH's car. Continuous harness plus unreachable harness adjuster (I can get my fingers down there but his are too big). He does really well with Britax but the Truefit is just asking too much.

Dh HATES our TF. He loves Britax.
 

melniemi

New member
Can you leave the harness the correct length and ask him not to loosen? Can your 4yo buckle herself? My dd started buckling herself at just over 3, I left the harness when it should be, she would climb in and buckle. She rfed until 4y9m and buckled herself for 1.5 years of it.
 

tarynsmum

Senior Community Member
DH can ONLY do Radians :ROTFLMAO: which is funny because they're notorious for being not user-friendly. He does badly with anything else that it thrown his way, and can only really install the Radian RFing, but that's OK.
 

lorismurph

Senior Community Member
My dh is HORRIBLE! He one time put the seat in his car and didn't even attempt to install, just stuck it there, buckled her, and drove off. Thankfully, I pulled in just as he was going to turn off our street and the older kids ratted him out. I made him come back so I could install.
He hates having seats in his car but I leave them there bc he would just let the kids go without.
My worst with him right now is if he's coming just from the church (across the street but a busy street), he will only buckle the chest clip "it's just across the street"
I tell my 7yo to make sure he buckles everyone in. Maybe that would work for you, have the oldest make sure everyone is strapped in properly. Have them practice in the house to be sure they can and then let your kid take charge. Sad we have to do that sometimes but they don't seem to understand that it is a matter of life & death every single ride.
 

noahsmom24

New member
S/o is great with car seats and is willing to do anything and everything I teach him to keep ds safe, my xh is a different story as is his entire family.:(
I agree with having a "frank" conversation with him.
I also hardly ever readjust, If ds has a coat on then his straps stay just the way they were just like if he didn't have one on. We do own one coat which is not worn a lot with all this warm weather which is sort of more bulky then his other normal "jackets" and I still don't readjust, neither has S/O ever. It's going to seem a little tight with the bulkier coat on, but there is no reason to readjust to give slack as this is exactly what you are doing since the belts will just act like the coat wasn't even there .

Good Luck with for dh! I hope you guys can figure something out so everyone can be happy and the kiddos safe!
 

mkmama

Active member
I SO feel your pain...we've had the talks, I feel like a nag, etc and he's still doing some of it (dangerously) wrong. Unfortunately DH has the dreaded mentality of "it wont happen to us" -- and I'm always telling him, I'm not worried about HIS driving abilities, I'm worried about the other 99% of drivers on the road. It doesn't help my cause that the furthest he ever drives the kids is 3 miles to/from daycare, so we deal with the "its just a short drive" mentality on top of the "it wont happen to us" mentality :banghead:

As soon as they are able, I teach my kids to buckle themselves...they can typically do it reliably by about 3.5 years old. As soon as they're able to learn, I teach them what correct useage looks like -- this is where your "top buckle" (chest clip) goes, and this is how tight your straps need to be, etc.

I also teach them to throw a FIT if the vehicle moves before they are totally buckled in...if they feel a vehicle put into drive before they're buckled they'll yell out "Don't go yet, I'm not buckled". They also throw a fit if they are buckled in incorrectly.

He is absolutely positively not allowed to adjust straps or uninstall seats on his own.

Other than that, there's not much I can do. Giving the kids the knowledge about proper use (and the permission to throw a fit if they're not buckled right) has actually gone a LONG ways towards preventing mis/non-use from the grandparents -- apparently grandkids worried about their own safety is more compelling than coming from said grandkid's parent. I think it's also helped some with DH, because he knows the kids are going to throw a fit if he doesnt do it right.
 

misstj9

New member
I also teach them to throw a FIT if the vehicle moves before they are totally buckled in...if they feel a vehicle put into drive before they're buckled they'll yell out "Don't go yet, I'm not buckled". They also throw a fit if they are buckled in incorrectly.

He is absolutely positively not allowed to adjust straps or uninstall seats on his own.

I'm gonna have to resort to this a lot more. I think that will deter him....he hates when they pitch a fit, but he's tired of me nagging. He thinks the laws of physics don't matter....UGH!!!

DH locked the seatbelt on the booster for DS1, so then got it out of the belt guide, and just had him use the seatbelt not thru the guide....ugh!! And after telling him not to adjust DDs straps he still does. I'm working on teaching DS1 how to fix the seatbelt (if it gets locked accidentally) and how to buckle DD in. DS2 can handle his own seat (harnessed) and won't let anyone help him, so one more reason to keep him harnessed longer!

THe kids don't argue with me about the seats they are in, they understand it.....DH is the problem and a BIG one....GRRRR!
 

Mom2three

New member
My XH finally got it right before we split. But all he really 'got' was making sure the straps were tight enough and chest clip at armpit level. That was good enough for me. He comes to my house when he gets to town so that I can install carseats for him. He usually gets a FR85 and a MA70 since he finds them easy to use. He doesn't take them out until the morning he leaves town and then I go collect them once he is gone.

His mother is a blithering idiot who refuses to accept that carseats are necessary...and that it's illegal not to use them. She can't drive my kids anywhere anymore.
 

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