How To Keep Toddler From Unbuckling Car Seat

how to keep toddler from unbuckling car seat

It’s an important day today. It’s the holiday, and your family is going on a road trip. And the rule of thumb in the house is to bring everyone along.


It’s a big day for everyone, especially for your toddler. You got them a brand new car seat, and it’s already waiting in the backseat. You sit your toddler down, and you continue to pack everything in your trunk.


But your toddler is the crafty type. When you went back to see them, they have already unbuckled themselves off the car seat! And no matter how many times you try, they just seem to unbuckle themselves again.


So you sit down and ponder. “How do I keep my toddler from unbuckling their seat?”


Is buying a car seat for them even necessary? The car does already come with a seatbelt. So what’s the point of a specialized car seat for toddlers?


There are reasons why it’s a US law to keep children in a car seat. We’ll discuss what car seats are and why they are necessary. And we’ll look into how to keep your toddler buckled up while on the road.


Car Seats and Toddlers

The main goal of a car seat is to protect children while they’re in a vehicle. Thousands of car crashes occur every year, and a lot of children are affected by these accidents. While car seats can’t help avoid crashes, they can help lessen their impact on the children inside the vehicle.

A toddler in a car seat


Car seats come in different sizes, designs, and form factors. Picking out a car seat heavily depends on your toddler’s weight, height, and age. The type of vehicle that you have can also play a big role.


What Is The Best Car Seat For My Toddler

Parents need to do plenty of research about car seats before buying them. The type of car seat a person chooses heavily depends on the kid’s age.


For infants and toddlers below 2 years old, they are required to ride in a rear-facing car seat. As the name implies, these seats are facing away from the road. You can either get a rear-facing only seat or a convertible seat.


As toddlers grow older and bigger, a rear-facing seat will become too small for them. Parents can then introduce their toddlers to a forward-facing car seat. This kind of seat can support children until they are 4 years old.


Both the rear-facing and front-facing car seats come with a harness. Unlike a normal seat belt, a harness covers infants and toddlers more securely. A study shows that child restraints (like a car seat) reduce the risk of death by 28% as compared to using a seat belt.


Choosing the right car seat for your toddler comes down to your toddler’s age and size. There are different seats available in the market so it can be tough to choose. For a more in-depth analysis of what seat you can buy for your little one, you can check this article right here.


Why Are Seat Belts So Important?

While we’re on this subject, let’s talk about seat belts. Inevitably, toddlers will grow up and start using seat belts. And for a lot of older children and teenagers, they might stop wearing seat belts because it’s ‘uncool.’


A 2003 article by Deseret News says that many teenagers believe that seat belts are unnecessary and can be considered unflattering. While the article was a product of its time, there are still instances of people not wearing seat belts while in a car.


Accidents (or unintentional injuries) are still ranked highly as the 3rd leading cause of death in the US. Almost yearly, we hear stories of car crashes in the news all over the world. And the scariest part is that these things are sometimes unavoidable.


But seat belts can help lessen the impact of car accidents. Seat belts can protect victims while they’re inside the vehicle. They are also effective when used in tandem with airbags.


Every parent must teach their children to use seat belts all the time. Likewise, parents should also use seat belts on themselves. This will help lessen casualties in future accidents.


Why Does My Toddler Keep Unblucking Their Seat?

We have talked about why car seats and seat belts are crucial. They are designed to protect riders inside cars and to keep injuries at a minimum. For young children, car seats can tremendously help keep them secure while on the road.

A boy in a car seat


But toddlers may not grasp this concept right away. When toddlers get into their seats, they might feel intimidated or scared. Others might be too playful and attempt to escape like little Houdinis.


There are plenty of reasons why a toddler might want to unbuckle their seat. One of the most likely reasons is that they feel uncomfortable in their car seat.


Car seats can be rough on toddlers and children, causing irritation and chaffing. Putting a soft cover on the harness can minimize the discomfort.


Toddlers can also complain about their belts being too tight. However, toddlers need to have their straps tightly secured. Loose or poorly positioned straps can be a recipe for disaster.


Another thing to look out for is what car seat you are using for your toddler. Certain seats have a certain height and weight limits. Using a chair that is either too small or too big for your toddler can cause some discomfort.


It’s also not a good idea to use preloved car seats. Secondhand seats may be damaged, expired, or have some missing parts. Not only are they potentially dangerous, but your toddler may not like sitting in something broken.


Finally, toddlers can be smart and too curious. They might get bored sitting down on a long road trip and decide they want to break free.


How To Keep Toddler From Unbuckling Car Seat?

Whatever the reason may be, parents can do their part to avoid any accidents. Here are some general tips for parents to keep their kids from unbuckling their seats.


1. Use The Appropriate Car Seat For Your Toddler

Keep an eye on what seat you are using for your child. If you think your child is too old for a rear-facing seat, switch to a front-facing one. Likewise, switching early might cause some comfort and safety issues.


It’s also a good idea to avoid secondhand car seats. Car seats from trusted family and friends are fine. But buying preloved seats for cheap can lead to uncomfortable and possibly dangerous car rides.


2. Double-check Your Toddler’s Harness

Your toddler will have an easier escape if the harness is not securely fastened. Make sure to double-check your toddler’s straps so that it is tight and properly positioned. You can also do a pinch test to see if they’re properly fastened.


3. Reward Good Behavior

Toddlers will behave if they have a clear reason to do so. Rewarding them encourages them to continue behaving and not unbuckling their seat. You can use treats or toys as a form of incentive.


4. Use Gadgets as a Distraction

Gadgets like phones and tablets are more common these days. Some parents love them, while some parents loathe them. But there is no denying that electronics are great distractions for toddlers.


Give your toddler educational games or a movie to watch. This can keep them distracted from trying to escape their seat.


5. Have A Professional Do The Talking

Role models like police and law enforcers can teach toddlers how to buckle up. Have a professional guide your toddler on car seat safety. Sometimes, information is best received when coming from a third-party source.


6. Use Mittens

Mittens aren’t only good for warming up. Parents can also use mittens to keep their toddlers from unlocking their seats. Parents can use this temporary method to deter their toddlers from unbuckling their straps.


7. Talk Calmly But Firmly

Finally, you can educate your toddler about what they need car seats. Use simple but effective language to convince your toddler about road safety. You can tell them, “You can get a big boo-boo if you don’t wear seatbelts.” or “Mommy/daddy wants you to be safe in the car all the time.”


A simple talk can be really effective for a lot of toddlers. Young children can be smart and understand their parents’ emotions and concerns. You’ll be surprised by how effective communication is.



Car seats are made to keep children safe while inside a vehicle. They are designed to protect kids from car crashes and accidents. Statistics show that car seats can help lower car accident casualties.


However, toddlers might get a little too handsy. They can unbuckle themselves out of their car seats if they are old enough. Parents must look out for their toddlers since they can escape from their seats.


Parents can talk, play, or distract their toddlers. They can also buy the appropriate car seat for them and adjust it to fit tightly and comfortably. 


Parents need to make sure their toddlers are secure during their journey. A holiday vacation is always more fun if everyone is safe and sound.

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