Keeping Almost 3 Year Old Buckled in Her Carseat

Updated on October 01, 2008
J.P. asks from Fort Montgomery, NY
13 answers

My almost 3 year old daughter has figured out how to get out of her carseat seatbelt. At first, she only knew how to get the top part off (that goes across her chest). I'd have to keep stopping the car to get out and fasten it again. I would tell her no, how dangerous it was, etc... Now, she has figured out the bottom part. The other day, we were driving home and when I looked in my rear view mirror, I didn't see her in the car seat. I thought maybe she fell asleep, so I leaned over a little more, but still didn't see her. I turned my head the other way, and she was standing there holding on to my seat! I couldn't believe it. I don't know what to do now. She takes it off whenever, and it doesn't matter what I say or do! God forbid something should happen while driving and she gets out of the carseat. Has anyone had this problem or know of something I could do??

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answers from New York on

This may sound terrible, but a friend of mine just went
thru this. We live in a small town . One day she saw one
of the local police officer (actually a friend). She had
him have a stern talk about safety and car seats. End of
problem. Sometimes you have to bring out the big guns,
when their safety is involved. Good luck.

More Answers



answers from Syracuse on

I would drive her to your local poice department and have an officer give her a safety talk...I know she's only 3, but it may sink in - you know kids listen to everyone else but us parents!!




answers from New York on

I agree with the responses about punishment. The police is a good idea also if you really need to drive the point home. But, she is absolutely old enough to understand that she needs to stay in her carseat and is old enough to follow the rules. I would not tell her that she could die or be taken away from you though. Too much explanation leads to nightmare fuel. Simple - this is a rule - if you break this rule - this is the consequence. Done. But follow through or you will have a roaming 3 year old and a nice ticket on your hands!

A different type of example - my nephew is older - he was 10 when this occurred. He was allowed (by his parents) to sit in the front seat. When he would ride with me - I noticed that he put his arm over the shoulder harness portion of the seatbelt. I explained to him what could happen if we were in an accident and that he needed to keep his shoulder under that. He told me he rode like that all the time and his mother didn't say anything. We discussed it a bit more and ended with - this is the rule - if you don't do it - you'll sit in the back. We were driving another day - he took his arm out - I pulled over to the side of the road and stared at his seatbelt - he caught on - fixed it - I reiterated - you will sit in the back if you don't follow this rule - this is not a joke. He has kept it right ever since - he told me both with me and without. Be strong and decisive - she'll follow your rule.



answers from Albany on

I have not had this problem personally. Luckily my almost 3 year old has not attempted to do this yet. On the other hand, she is always making sure everyone else buckles up!! However, I have worked with many pre-school aged children in school programs for children with special needs. Many of the children go to school on buses and require carseats. Many tried to escape from carseats, which is a major risk when there are sevral children on a bus. Some of the kids had seat belt safety buckles that you can buy to put on over the buckles of the carseat themselves. I think you can buy them from One Step Ahead (, though I am not sure. Try to Google it... there are definately contraptions out there that should work to keep her safely buckled in her seat!

Good Luck



answers from New York on

I saw this on Nanny 911. she brought the car seats in the house and they wanted to be in thier seats! try that.?



answers from New York on

If she is old enough to get out of her car seat she is old enough to know why she needs it and to have severe consequences for unbuckling. Warn her when you get in the car of the consequence. Make sure it is something she will absolutely hate. no tv, no dolls, no sweets, no park..whatever your child likes best. Then make sure you deliver the consequence swiftly and without backing down.
There really is no other safe choice. You can't safely tie or otherwise resecure the buckles.



answers from New York on

I had the same problem with my 1st child and will have it soon with my second. I turned the buckle around and then did the seatbelt up and on the top a piece of ducktape across the chest buckle gave her something else to mess with and she didn't take the buckle apart. I don't know if that works for all seat belts but it worked for me. I also used rewards that if she didn't take the straps off today she got a special treat. A lollypop goes a long way with my daughters!!! Just an idea. A.



answers from Jamestown on

I believe that your daughter is old enough to understand that for her own safety and the safety of everyone else in the car, she needs to stay buckled in her car seat. It's also the law-- not just your rule.

I love the idea of having a police officer explain things to your child, which many respondents have mentioned. My children didn't give me a lot of grief over the issue of car seats because when one of them unbuckled, the car wouldn't run! I simply pulled over to the side of the road and couldn't/wouldn't keep driving until everyone was safely buckled up.



answers from New York on

I would like to add that I would try the police station bit. Have a police officer talk to her about it. I would hesitate to use a buckle guard and definitely not duct tape as one person said, because while it will keep her in the seat, incase of an accident it would make it more difficult for someone, a fireman, stranger, getting her out of the car seat in a hurry an an emergency.



answers from New York on

Here's a great idea that REALLY does work. Take her to the local police station and have a police officer talk to her. EVen though she is young, she will understand:)



answers from Rochester on

There might be additional buckles out there you can add to your seat. I know if I asked my husband, duct tape would be the top of his list. :) Still, a single strap with buckles on either end might be available - and could be buckled to the side of chair where she can't reach. Duct tape over the buckles might work now that I think about it. But the real problem is the safety issue, that you need to tackle too.

I explained this to a 4 year old who was in my care at the day care I worked at: the principle is the same, though the actions were different.

"Part of my job is to make sure you know how to keep yourself and your friends safe. I need to know you are going to be safe, I need to know you are going to do the safe thing, and I need to know you are going to keep your friends safe. You cannot do that while you are doing (x,y and z). This is what you are doing that is unsafe - how can you make it safe?"

I also am starting my son early on trying to make/help him understand restrictive belts. We use the slogan "click it or get a ticket!" When he is older we will explain more, but for now it is an expected thing, and he sometimes leaves off his car-seat dance to let me get him in there without exhausting myself in the process. (Even before he could sit up, he was noticing how we put this thing on and copying our movements for unbuckling!)

Another idea, but it would require a little ingenuity to make it work, is to go through the motions of getting a ticket. What do we give up? Money. What would a child have to give up? It would take some thought, I think, because she is too young to understand money, and toys are best friends right now - you wouldn't pay a ticket with your best friend. So how to make this idea work would require thought on your part for what would work best for your daughter.

Good Luck!



answers from New York on

I know somebody who's newphew did this. They took him to the police station. Tell her that if she doesn't stay in her seat that you will take her there. And if so, follow through. He never took his seat off again.

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