It’s not unusual for children to try to escape their child seat. Toddlers in Group 1 seats may try to remove their arms from the harness straps, so make sure the harness is tight enough to prevent them from doing this. They are less likely to release the harness clasp as the EC standard test requires undoing the clasp to a greater force than a child can apply. Never try to adapt the harness in any way to stop them from getting out of it, as this could prevent anyone else from releasing your child quickly in an accident.
Older children can pose more of a problem, particularly as they only have to release the car’s seat belt buckle to free themselves. There are a number of ways you can try to stop them doing this:
• Explain to your child that the seat belt is there to keep them safe and stop them from getting ‘hurt’ (use this keyword) in an accident
• Show them that you wear a seatbelt, and they can be just like you
• Make a game or song about doing up your seatbelt that they will want to participate in
• Keep them entertained and distracted in the car so that they don’t fiddle with their seat out of boredom – but make sure you’re not distracted too
• Refuse to set off until everyone has their seat belt fastened (many kids hate sitting in static cars)
• Use the same techniques you use for preventing other unwanted behaviour, but avoid bribery in a situation that involves your child’s safety
If your child undoes his or her seatbelt or harness during a journey, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so and do it up before continuing on your way.