Posted by: Purple | 2005/07/18


Toddler getting oug of straps of car seat


My son is 17 months old now. We are very strict regarding his safety and he has been in the appropriate car seat when traveling in the car since he was born. He is now in a forward facing seat on our back seat.

In the last week he has started to get his arms out of the straps of his seat. He doesn't climb out of the seat, but seems to do it just because he can and because it giveshim more freedom of movement for playing with his toys.

I have been stopping on the side of the road as soon as its safe to do so, slipping his arms back and continuing the journey without commenting.

My husband feels its because the weather has been warmer and his clothes have been providing less padding and so there is more space for him to get out (he definitely doesn't do it if he has a jersey on). The straps are on the smallest setting though. My son weighs 11 and a bit kg, so he still meets the weight requirement for the rearward facing seat, but he is far too tall for it, he was already too tall for it at 9kg, though we held on for as long as we could before moving him to the forward facing seat. So moving him back to that seat is not really an option.

My husband suggested putting a jacket onto him in the car and turning the air conditioner on as a short term solution. I'll give this a try, but I also want to know if just strapping him back in is the best way to go about stopping the behaviour. I don't want to make a fuss so that he keeps on doing it to get the attention.

A bigger concern though is what to do if he starts to undo the clip. I know it has to be fairly easy to undo in case of accident, but I think he is going to be able to undo it well before he understands the concept of staying in the seat.

I do try making his time in the seat as interesting as possible with favourite or new toys, his favourite music etc.

Any suggestions from other mothers would be most welcome too.

Expert's Reply



He must still be in a car seat. You must get one that is moe effective. Many baby shops allow you to trade your old one in for a more suitable model.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

user comments


Posted by: Nuffing | 2005/07/19

Purple as with everything else I follow throug with an explaination. I have explained to my boys exactly why we wear straps in the car, and I make sure I always have my strap on too.

I think its important for them to understand the reasoning and not just feel that they are being punished/ restrained for no good reason...

On the odd occasion where we have seen an accident, or had to stop quickly etc I re-emphasise the importance of the strap, and how it protects us etc.

Reply to Nuffing
Posted by: Louise | 2005/07/19

Good question Purple, but I too need advice on my little one, I have the same problem, he sits in front by me in the passenger seat in his snug’n’safe and he keeps trying to open the door, he is a bit too small to sit at the back (I tried it once and he went into a state) also he wants me to give his bottle while I am driving and changing gears.
Whenever he gets bored or sleepy he will scream and shout and wiggle his way out of the snug’n’safe until I put his favorite song on and then he is happy again, but just for a short while.
So if you have find a solution please share it with me too…

Reply to Louise
Posted by: Purple | 2005/07/18


Thanks Nuffing. I am very consistent about the seat. He has never been in the car without being in the seat.

Perhaps a firm "No, you stay in the seat" will help.

I'll try the cushion suggestion as well, but I think that is pretty similar to a jersey as it achieves the same result - but its probably easier than dressing and undressing him.

Well, at least the weather is cooler again, and hopefully he will have grown by summer.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Belle | 2005/07/18

Hi Purple

When you find a solution that works please let me know. My son is almost 3 and he actually hurts himself to get out of the shoulder straps. I have tightened them as much as I can and he still manages to get them off by first taking them off his shoulders and then slipping out of them. I have to stop on the side of the road to untangle him because he gets stuck and it hurts. We have two carseats, different makes, and he manages to get out of both of them

Reply to Belle
Posted by: Wendy | 2005/07/18

I wonder if one could make some sort of small padded cushion that could fit between buckle section and baby's chest/tummy area that would help take up the "slack"? Just a thought .....

Reply to Wendy
Posted by: Nuffing | 2005/07/18

I have always been very firm about this kind of thing, and speak to my kids sternly if they mess with their straps. I have had very fews issues wrt car seats, because my kids know that when we are in the car we have straps on, end of story.

They have been yelled at, and had their hands smacked long ago to get the message across as necessary.

My firend on the other hand has never been consistent and for a short trip will decide not to use the car seat etc. Also if her kids fuss enough she leaves them out of the seat, needless to say they fuss every time they get in the car now...

This is the one non-negotiable and my children never question it even though they both know how to put their straps on and off themselves now and have for some time.

Reply to Nuffing
Posted by: Purple | 2005/07/18

Thanks Bon. I will definitely give that a try. Yes, I also believe that safety is more important than comfort - unfortunately though, the straps don't go any tighter - fine if he's in a jersey, not fine if he's in a T-shirt as he's as flexible as a rubber band.


Reply to Purple
Posted by: Bon | 2005/07/18

Hi Purple
I have a solution for when he can undo the clip, change the straps the other way around I mean make the clip face him not in front of him.This helps my kids and the cannot undo the clip like this.
My daughter also takes her arms out of the straps I have now made the straps tighter and this seems to work, but she hates it , but I feel her saftey is beter than her comfort at the moment.
Good Luck

Reply to Bon

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