Have you got a wiggly Octopus on your hands? Most children will go through a phase of undoing / escaping their car seat harness, and we know how frustrating (and dangerous) it can be! There are a few things you can do to try to stop this behaviour.
Lucy, aged 3, escaping her harness straps! Oh no! Thanks to Yana for the photo!
1. Correct Harness Height
The first thing you should check is that the harness is through the right shoulder slots. For rearward facing, the harness should be at or above the shoulders. For forward facing, the harness should be as close to the shoulder as possible. Depending on the type of seat you have, you either rethread the straps through manually or lift the headrest which the harness is threaded through. See our blog post here or check your manual if you are unsure.
2. A Healthy Harness
Once you know the shoulder height is correct, make sure you check that the harness is fitted correctly. A snug harness should ensure that little arms stay at bay and makes it hard to slip through. Check that the harness is free of twists (use our trick here for twisted harnesses) and use the Pinch Test to check that the harness is nice and snug.
3. Rectifying behaviour
If you've eliminated the physical aspects of the car seat and you've still got an escape artist on your hands, it's time to look at rectifying the child's behaviour. We know, easier said then done sometimes, however consistency is key and with persistence the issue shouldn't stay around for too long. Some suggestions to try;
- Try to keep the child entertained or distracted. Think singing along to our friends at the Wiggles, clapping games, I Spy etc
- Teach children (dependent on age and understanding) what is expected of them when travelling in a vehicle.
- Stopping the car and refusing to start again until the child stays in the restraint.
4. Third Party Accessories are a no go!
Some parents may resort to the use of third party accessories to try stop children from escaping the harness. While we’re aware there are third party accessories on the market designed to hinder this behaviour, we’re unable to comment on their performance in conjunction with our car seats, as no testing has been done in this regard. Car safety advocates recommend trying the above techniques before reverting to these potentially dangerous accessories.
Do you have some tips for other parents struggling with an escape artist? Leave them in the comments below!