My Toddler Learned How to Unbuckle His Car Seat Belt!

We have a new challenge in our home – our 22-month-old toddler has learned how to unbuckle the top harness of his car seat! This is super frustrating because at any given moment as we’re driving, he’ll decide to unbuckle it simply because he wants to. It’s unsafe, illegal, and unacceptable; he simply has to remain buckled up while we’re driving. So, what can we do?

Toddler Unbuckling Car Seat Belt HarnessPhoto © Melanie Edwards/


Though I have some tricks up my sleeve for getting my toddler into his car seat without a tantrum, some days it seems like none of my usual tips work, which can cause problems from the moment we pull out of the driveway. Sometimes, though, the problem isn’t so much getting him into the car seat, but helping him remain calm while we drive around. I’ve noticed he mostly unbuckles his harness if he gets tired, frustrated, or anxious. It’s his way of telling us he wants out of the car seat, but something he cannot yet understand is that we can’t take him out while the car is moving.

A funny thing about all this is that he seems to unbuckle himself more when riding with me than when riding with dad. Lucky me, right? On top of that, he listens to his dad more than he does me, though we both turn around and say the same thing: “No – stop that. You have to stay buckled for now.” Can you imagine how irritating it is that he’ll listen to my husband and immediately buckle it back up, but refuses to do the same for me? I have to laugh it off sometimes because otherwise I’ll just go insane thinking about it.

To try to avoid dealing with this challenge and keep my baby boy from unbuckling his harness, I’ve been trying a few new things whenever we get in the car. The idea is to keep him calm and entertained, so we don’t run into any tantrums. The biggest help so far? I give him an iPad and let him watch one of the shows I’ve downloaded. I feel terrible about having him stare at a screen while we drive, but my sanity is worth it.

Have you run into this problem with your toddler? How did you handle it?

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