How To Keep Your Toddler From Unbuckling The Car Seat

This may be something you have experienced before when you’re in the car with your toddler and probably navigating the highway during rush hour traffic, and then you hear that very distinct snap. You might just have an escape artist on the back seat, who have successfully unbuckled his or her car seat harness. You can’t help but feel a little panicked as you know the harness keeps your child safe while in the car. This may happen at any time. Kids can get bored while in the back seat and will work their way out of the car seat. Here, we’ve listed down some of the things that you can do on how to keep toddler from unbuckling car seat.

how to keep toddler from unbuckling car seat

Be Calm

The scene above is familiar for parents of children from fifteen months to two years old. Why is this so, you may wonder. It’s because toddlers, young as they are, want to assert some power and control. They think that sure, you’ve gotten me into this but I’ll show you that I can work my way out of here. Don’t worry; this is perfectly normal for the little ones.

Your initial reaction might be to be insistent or to become annoyed. After all, it’s a safety issue that needs to be addressed immediately. But you have to understand that children unbuckling their car seat is simply a phase and if you give them big reactions, that will make that phase last longer. Don’t get angry with your child. Just be calm and be more focused on your relationship with him or her. You may think that they’re doing it as a sort of rebellion, but it’s not. Be a bit more playful instead and make their wild imagination work for the best. You can pretend that your car is a rocket ship and that you have to leave the planet but you can’t go until everyone is buckled up. Use a fun voice so that your child simply thinks that you’re having fun and he or she would love to play along.

Do a Practice Drive

For many toddlers, a repeated experience is much more effective as compared with words. So what you can do is to take your child for a slow drive just within your neighborhood and whenever he or she tries to unbuckle the car seat, pull over immediately. Avoid saying “no” or “don’t,” it will only start a power struggle between the two of you. Simply say “Uh oh!” which the child will immediately understand that there’s something wrong. After that, don’t move your car until they put his or her seatbelt back on.

Make the Child Understand that there Will be Consequences

For most children, they will catch up on the lesson above. But for others, it might be necessary to make them understand that if they don’t cooperate, there will be consequences. They have to know that unbuckling their seat belts has an impact. For example, withhold any rewards until they know how to fully cooperate. Of course, you will encounter a lot of drama along the way as you do this. But still, be accepting and loving while remaining firm. This is for your child’s safety after all.

Learn How to Distract Your Child

You may find that you don’t really have the energy or time to invest in the strategies mentioned above. Of course, you’re already a very busy parent with all your responsibilities both at work and at home. So it’s completely understandable. What you can do instead is to get the attention of your child away from the car seat onto something more interesting. You can sing songs together as you drive. Allow them to bring toys in the car so they can have something to play with. You can even play a counting game where they count the number of red cars. Make things fun for both of you.

Buy a Car Seat Clip

A car seat clip is exactly for made to resolve the issue of children unbuckling their seat belts. But remember not to use the clips punitively. Just put it on because it’s necessary for their safety.


If all of the tips mentioned above still won’t work, you may have to consider other factors as to why your child is behaving that way. Maybe your child has sensory issues or gets motion sickness while in the car. The car seat may be uncomfortable. Try as best as you can to communicate with your child if there is something that’s bothering him or her with the car seat.


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