Help! 2 year old unbuckles his seat belt and tries to climb out while I'm driving!

Elise - posted on 06/07/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

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My 2 year old has figured out how to unbuckle the chest clip on his car seat and wiggle his arms out while I'm driving. I have the straps so tight that you can't fit 1 finger underneath the straps, and it doesn't help that he can't completely get out of the seat for that reason. But he still gets his arms out while driving. I need help. Thank you!!!

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[deleted account]

I had the same with my 4 year old. I managed to get a special cover for the clip on the carseat and it works wonders! it fits right over top of the clip so baby can't their hands underneath! you can get them anywhere you can buy car seats (I think). It does get a little annoying when trying to do it up but it might help you. :)

Jillian - posted on 06/09/2011

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If they that are tight I dont see how he can get out of them? He must be very smart. If he watches Dora and Deigo he knows the importantance of seat belts, lol "Seat Belts so we can be SAFE" Dora always shouts that. I tell my son when he begs to sit in the front that the police man will see us and if he see's him out of his seat/straps we will be in ALOT of trouble. I have even told him how he can fly thru the window. Kids have no fear but its healty for them to know the consequnces to their actions esp in a moving vehicle where accidents can happen. So I remind him of Dora, the Police and how important it is that if somone bumps mommies car he doesnt fly out the carseat and remains safe ! Gotta give to them raw, esp if u know he is old enough to understand and my boy was at that age (he just turned 3)

Louise - posted on 06/08/2011

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I would change the seat for a new one. I have a maxi toby cosy chair for 9 months to 4 years and it has a parachute clip in the middle which really does need a lot of pressure to undo and once pulled tight there is no moving the shoulder straps. Shop around and take your son with you and test the chair out with him before you buy it. The seat you have is not safe.

Jill - posted on 06/13/2011

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I have 3-year-old triplets and a 7-year-old girl and they all have done this at one time or another. All my children enjoy going in the car, so this was an easy fix. Once a child did this, I would immediately pull over (as soon as it was safe) and fix the buckle. I would verbally reprimand the child. If possible, I would turn around and go directly home - ending the car ride and/or the outing. Now, I realize you can't always go home, but you can PLAN outings that are close to home, that will allow you to turn around immediately and take the child home.

What I usually do is once one of my children exhibited this behavior, I would plan a succession of outings (i.e., going to the store, getting ice cream, etc..). I would try to plan several things for 3 or 4 days in a row. Then drive until the child would unbuckle himself. Once he did, I would immediately reprimand him,and take him home - outing ended. The child would be very upset, but I would not give in. Once the child lost out on desirable activities several days in a row, he connected the dots and the behavior was extinguished. It took some of my children longer than others to associate the behavior with the negative consequence, but eventually, they all got it!

Meagan - posted on 06/11/2011

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My daughter for a short while did that. Use duct tape. Btw, I'm 100% kidding there. lol She was rear facing, so I decided to flip her around, because it was a problem, and I needed to be able to see when she was no longer strapped in. Since doing that, she LOVES car rides, so we dont have to watch a movie every single time, and she doesnt try getting out of her car seat. It was a simple solution. I believe rear facing is best, but with her front facing (she's 2, which is when she was switched) and on the passengers side (in the back), I can see her if she DOES try to get out and tell her no, and if I have to, reach back and move her hand away.

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Brandi - posted on 02/22/2012

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I also have the Graco MyRide 65 and my daughter started unbuckling right at two. She has continued and she will be four in two months I have tried everything also she is my third of four and she is the only child that has done this so far

Brandi - posted on 11/05/2011

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I have the Graco MyRide 65 and my 2 year old unbuckles the chest clip, it's so easy to do she barely has to press. Not happy about this, but I love the seat. I used evenflow seats with all my other kids and they were never able to unbuckle.

Gayleen - posted on 10/26/2011

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*Video that was playing in our booth at ABC talks about statics and product.
There is a new product called Monkey Tyz. You can see the video clip below. I used this on my son when he was getting out of the car seat and it stopped him. Hope this helps. www.monkeytyz.com is their site. We have a safety first seat and it fits great. My neighbor has one on her maxi cozy seat and it works for her too. Good luck
http://vimeo.com/28962092

Amanda - posted on 06/22/2011

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I think the suggestion about the harness being too tight might be right on. Take a moment to think about how you feel when your seatbelt is tightened to the point where you can't even wiggle your back off the seat a little. He might feel trapped and need just a big of room. If the harness is set correctly and the top of the belt is meeting the seat just below or at his shoulders then there is probably a ton of pressure on his shoulders as well. If you can't put a finger space in there the chest clip is pushing on his chest so turning the clip around will not help at all as most clips are thicker on the front side and would push further in.

If loosening the straps just a bit doesn't help then I would try the chest clip cover and stopping the vehicle if he unbuckles as the next step.

Katie - posted on 06/22/2011

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turn the buckels and straps around so they are upside down so that it makes it much harder to undo for your child it should only take about a half sec longer for you so it will not be a hazard if you need to get him out quickly.

[deleted account]

I agree with other posts, when my daughter went through this I explained that everyone has to wear seat belts and that if the police stop us she will get in big trouble. Her Dad and I also both explain that we love her and want to keep her safe, she needs to know why we wear seatbelts and the consequences (age appropriate). For some kids this is just the beginning of trying to buck the seatbelt rule.
I have heard the stopping and not going until the belts on properly works well too :)

Brooke - posted on 06/20/2011

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I am a fanatic about seat belts. My kids know that if the seatbelt is not on, the car does not move. If it gets taken off during the ride, we pull up on the side of the road and reprimand the child, then same thing. The car does not move until the seatbelt is on. My kids know now, and tell their friends (and even their Uncle once!) that Mum is serious about this, so just stop arguing so we can go.

Keri - posted on 06/20/2011

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He is probably protesting the tightness. Yes, the seatbelt should be worn as tightly/snugly as possible, but when the child is uncomfortable, they'll find a way to get out. You could offer a small reward when you get to your destination if he keeps his straps on the whole way and say you'll be checking the rearview mirror to see if he has them on he may straighten up. First I would try loosening them a little so he can shift position a little if he is uncomfortable.

Bri - posted on 06/19/2011

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I disagree about getting a new seat and switching buckles- it fixes the "symptoms" and not the problem. This is about boundaries and expectations.

Jill and several others mentioned immediately stopping/returning home.... this sets the tone that the expectation is seat belts on. Fortunately, we've not had to do this with our DD but very early on we talked about the importance of being safe. DD has even "told on" my sister for not "tight me enough"- we'd taught DD how tight the straps should be and where the chest clip should line up.

I like how Jill right away deliberately planned trips that she could enforce the stop/go home.... if you're on your way to drop the kids at day care so you can go to work, you may not be in a position to spend 45 minutes waiting for the seat belt to be refastened.

p.s. also make sure EVERYONE (grandparents, babysitter, etc) transporting child supports and enforces the same expectations!

Jennifer - posted on 06/15/2011

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I agree with Louise. My son did the same thing and learned real fast that he can get out of his car seat. As much as it hurt our finances we had to get a new car seat that he could not squirm his way out of. The best thing to do is take him with you and put him in each one till you find the magical one! Best of Luck

Jennifer - posted on 06/12/2011

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My son did that in his Britax car seat and scared me so bad...I bought him a Graco My ride 65 and he hasn't done it since. I guess it is harder to get open but honestly he hasn't even tried. But, good luck and be careful..

Sara - posted on 06/11/2011

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could maybe face him backwards too so if he does that and you stop short, he will jolt back into his seat rather than flying into the front.

April - posted on 06/11/2011

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my 2 year old used to do that but now i let him help me get buckled. he likes putting his arms in and buckling the chest part. he helps me find the other buckle parts and lets me do the rest. I also showed him my seat belt and explained that everyone has to be buckled.

Cassie - posted on 06/10/2011

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About 6 months ago my daughter figured out how to unbuckle the chest clip also. So i got out her infant car seat and looked at the chest clip and it was different then the one she has and i noticed that it was harder to undo. So i switched them i put the infant chest clip on the car seat she is using now and she cant get it undone because it is harder to do lol. I asked a local cop if it would matter if i switched them and he said no. When my daughter figured out that there was a new chest clip she got mad because she couldnt get it undone but now she dont even bother it..So if you still have your childs infant seat check and see if the chest clip is different and if it is switch them. Hope this helps.. Good luck !

Shanna - posted on 06/10/2011

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My son did that one time and it was storming really bad and the roads were crappy. Before I even knew he was unhooked, we hydroplaned a bit, he ended up falling out of the seat and hitting his head on the front seat. I about had a heart attack, but he was fine. Now, no problems; he even helps hook himself in!
There are covers you can buy that bit over the seatbelt hooks to keep kids from unhooking them, but I agree that the best thing is to make sure your child understands why he or she needs it... Can help to make it "fun" to be strapped in. Maybe get a seatbelt cloth cover?

Jane - posted on 06/09/2011

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My son used to do that, too. Whenever he did I would find the first safe place to pull over and do that. I would turn the car off and take out a book and read, reminding him periodically that the car doesn't go if he isn't in his seat with the belts fastened. We sat up to 45 minutes a few times, and missed several birthday parties, including one at his favorite, Chucky Cheese. Eventually he got the idea and we only rarely had problems after that.

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