Tips & Tricks – How to Prevent Someone from “accidentally” unbuckling your child’s car seat

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You know the sound – the double “click” – the first click is the “oops”, and the second click is the person unbuckling their own seat belt.  Oops – I accidentally unbuckled Ella’s car seat…

When two seat belts buckle right next to each other, it is very easy to accidentally unbuckle the wrong one first.  Here are a few easy solutions to try and prevent the “oops”.

If your vehicle has the lower anchors (LATCH) in the seating position where your child is riding (remember, the center of MOST vehicles does NOT have the lower anchors) AND your child is not too heavy for the lower anchors (most have weight limits – which vary by vehicle & child restraint – but typically 40-48 pounds) – THEN install the car seat using LATCH and no one can accidentally unbuckle the child’s car seat.

If you are using the vehicle’s seat belt:

If your seat belt and buckle will allow for this (some won’t), rotate the buckle (the female end) half a turn before buckling the seat belt.  This way the red release button will be facing in towards the child’s car seat instead of tantalizingly sticking out near the other seat belt buckles.

Can’t flip the buckle around?  Don’t despair.  Here are a few other tricks:

If your child’s infant or toddler car seat came with shoulder strap covers that velcro on/off, you may have already noticed that the shoulder strap covers were too long to allow you to keep the chest clip in the proper place – and most annoyingly of all, the shoulder strap covers tend to make the harness straps twist.  Here is a great way to REPURPOSE a seemingly useless item (as having them on actually makes things more UNcomfortable for the child as now there is more sticking into the side of their neck).  Once you are done installing the car seat, slip one shoulder strap cover behind the vehicle’s seat buckle, and the other in front of the seat belt buckle – velcro them together and now you have “hidden” the red release button.

The RED button showing is the seat belt buckle for the person sitting NEXT TO the child’s car seat.

Perhaps the person sitting next to the child’s car seat is a 6 year old in a booster who just has really sticky fingers and the shoulder strap cover trick just isn’t enough of a deterrent.  The solution is a disposable plastic or paper cup – or even a plastic yogurt container (6-8oz size).  Make a vertical slit in the cup going all the way from the top to the bottom.  Next, cut out the bottom of the cup.  Now your cup is like a tube with a slit – place the cup around the vehicle’s seat belt buckle and secure the cup closed with a piece of tape.  Do NOT put tape on the vehicle’s seat belt or the buckle itself.  Now Mr. Sticky Fingers can’t push the wrong button (well, at least not the seat belt release button – I’m sure he’s good at pushing other buttons…)

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