Kids and adults often struggle to undo the crotch buckle on a car seat. The government mandates how much force is required to open this buckle… so that infants and toddlers won’t be able to open it themselves! Unfortunately, this means that caregivers with hand or wrist issues – like carpal tunnel or arthritis – frequently struggle, often painfully, to unbuckle the child. Those with long nails also find the crotch buckle to be a daunting task as the thumb can’t push the buckle as it was intended.
The UnBuckleMe uses leverage to reduce the force you need to apply to release the crotch buckle AND allows you to use your palm (not your thumb!) to unbuckle.
The other group that rightfully struggles to unbuckle the crotch buckle are the kids riding in the car seat! After all, we don’t want 3 year olds deciding they’re “all done” with the car ride and unbuckling while you’re doing 65mph on the highway. Many preschoolers can buckle themselves into the car seat – but almost none can get themselves out – which leaves kids feeling frustrated and often resistant to get in the seat. Giving kids more independence can make them happier about cooperating with what you need them to do… which here is to get in their car seat without a fight because you have places to go! The UnBuckleMe is also great for older kids with gross and fine motor issues who can’t unbuckle themselves but desperately want to – especially when they might have a younger sibling with better motor skills who can already unbuckle themselves!
I asked my 3 year old niece “Do you want to be able to unbuckle yourself like your big brother can?” – and the grin that came on her face said “Finally someone understands me! OF COURSE I want to do everything my big brother does – and do it myself!”. I showed her how to slip the UnBuckleMe around the crotch buckle and position the square on top of the red button and then to use her palm to push in on the UnBuckleMe – and pull downwards to get the tongues to release from the buckle. She was a quick study and mastered it on the first try.
The UnBuckleMe is kept IN THE FRONT SEAT and is handed to the child AFTER THE CAR IS PARKED. Even with a trustworthy 6 year old I would still recommend keeping it up front until the car is parked as using the UnBuckleMe is so fun that the child may be too tempted to use it before it is safe to unbuckle. To keep it out of reach of the kids in back, you can keep it on your visor – or what I do is keep it in the cupholder up front and have the child drop it back in there after they have unbuckled and are climbing out of the car. Either way it is easy to grab after the car is parked and pass back to the child.