November 23, 2016 3 min read

How to stop your child unbuckling their seat belt

One problem that some parents will face at one time or another is how to stop their child from unbuckling their own seat belt. It can be a problem for children who are sitting in a booster seat that uses the cars three point seat belt. There are products on the market that will slide over the buckle so that the child can't press the button, kind of making them kiddy proof. We don't sell those products because we worry that the average person in the community wouldn't know how to work them at first, potentially slowing things down if you were involved in an accident and someone else needed to remove your child from the car. There are a couple of hacks that we recommend that are free, we recommend that you use one of these techniques along with working on your child's behavior, you'll find some tips on how to do that below too.

Turn the buckle

Take the buckle part near its base and turn it around so that the red button part is underneath. That's going to make it a little bit more difficult for your child to press the button.



The paper cup hack

Cut a long narrow hole in the bottom of a paper cup, then turn it up side down, and slide the metal part of the seat belt through the hole. Now you can buckle the seat belt as normal, then slide the cup over the buckle. This will make it difficult for your child to unbuckle their seat belt without using both hands.

We think that paper cups are better than plastic, because they can be ripped easily in an emergency, however we spoke to an expert and they said that emergency services would probably cut the straps, or the seat belt, in a real emergency.

You can also do this trick if you have car seats that are installed using the seat belt, to prevent other passengers in the car accidentally unbuckling the seat.


Other tips

Ideally you wouldn't need to do the cup trick forever, once your child understands the importance of wearing their seatbelt. Here are a few tips that we've gleaned from the web, and other parents.

Stop the car

Tell your child that they can't travel if their belt is unbuckled. Be prepared to go through with it, and maybe even turn the car around and go home if you're on your way somewhere that you can easily cancel on.

Talk to them

Explain the importance and purpose of a seat belt, not in a scary way that could give them issues with travelling in the car at all, just a gentle way that covers the facts, and the law.

We all have to do it

Remind them that everyone has to wear a sealt belt, mum and dad, their siblings, friends, and even strangers.

Positive reinforcement

Praise them when they keep their seat belt buckled for the duration of the trip.

Give them responsibility

For an older child it might help to give them the 'job' of buckling their own seat belt, then keeping it buckled until the end of the trip, when you say that they can unbuckle it.

Yes it's tough if children keep unbuckling their seat belts, and we hope that those tips have been helpful for you, please do let us know if you have any other tips to add!