How Do I Stop My Child From Unbuckling His Chest Clip?

A reader asked

As a mom, your child at some point in time, is going to discover the joy of being able to unbuckle his own chest clip.  And so begins the battle.  Don’t think your sweet, innocent lovely little cherub won’t do this.  I thought the same thing of my lovely daughter, and she fell to the temptation.  A new mom friend of mine recently asked me the same question, ‘My 3 year old son keeps unbuckling his chest clip and I don’t know what to do to make her stop!’  So how do you handle it?

Related: What Do You Do When You See Parents Who Don’t Put Their Tots in a Car Seat?

How Do I Stop My Child From Unbuckling His Chest Clip?

Stop Driving: When my daughter used to unclip herself in the backseat I used to stop the car.  It didn’t move again until she was buckled.  This worked especially well if we were going somewhere for her!  You might have to get smart with your schedule and leave early enough to allow time to stop if need be, so you aren’t late.  I knew a mom who once had to stop for 45 minutes because her son refused to buckle again!  I hope that isn’t you.

Reward good behavior: Everyone loves rewards!  And you know your kids are no exception.  It might be stickers or candy or maybe a special car toy he gets to use if he stays buckled, whatever it may be, it needs to be a reward for staying in his seat.  My daughter (like any other child) is always asking to go to McDonald’s.  She would ask if we could go, and I would say ‘As long as you stay buckled’.  Of course I didn’t take her every time, but it was another reward.  All kids understand how money works (in that it gets them things they want).  For every trip your child stays buckled, put a quarter in a cup, when you get enough, take him to the dollar store for his reward!

Related: Are We Misusing Car Seats? You May be Surprised at the Answer!

Fear: It may sound cruel but I used to scare my daughter into staying buckled.  She would unbuckle, I would pull the car over and tell her that I would get in trouble if she wasn’t buckled.  She asked if the policeman would take me away and I said yes, he would.  She didn’t unbuckle much after that.  I have also told her that if Mommy gets into an accident and she is not buckled she will get hurt and have to go to the hospital.

As with all things when dealing with our children, it is trial and error and learning from other moms.  Some of you have some great tricks up your Mary Poppins sleeves!

 How have you dealt with your darling child unbuckling herself in the back seat?  Share your success stories with the rest of us!

23 thoughts on “How Do I Stop My Child From Unbuckling His Chest Clip?”

  1. These are great tips! My son likes to buckle himself in now but I do worry about him unbuckling while the car is moving. Thanks for sharing these.

  2. Those are some great tips! Stopping the car and re-buckling worked for us. It was a battle of the wills for only a couple days, then my point was made!

  3. Tough one. They see something impossible and they figure out how to do it and are put out when you aren’t excited as well. I think you have to show them that it’s not good and then reward good behavior. This is a tough one and only you know what works best with your child after trying a few different combos.

  4. Rocio Chavez (@yoursassyself)

    You pretty much covered all the tricks I’ve seen – outside of buying some coverup that go over the buckle so the kids can’t unbuckle – worth a shot maybe :D

  5. One of my sons (Grown Now) used to unbuckle and stand up while I was driving. Used to make me a nervous wreck trying to keep him in there.

  6. I thankfullyhave never had to deal with this. My little guy is still too small to try to pull this off but if he veer does I will keep these tip in mind. I know that I would be so worried if he’s tarted doing that!

  7. My car wouldn’t start until all of the seatbelts were on. And of course we went nowhere unless the little one was in the carseat, all locked in. But I will admit, 30 years ago the carseats weren’t this sophisticated but Lauren never got out of hers.

  8. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    This is a problem that most parents have to deal with at some time or other. I had to with my oldest – when his head poked between the front seats I nearly had a heart attack. I slammed on the brakes, then realised that wasn’t good so stopped slowly. Told him off for frightening me and I believe he got a scare too, at least he never did it again.

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