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Mommy Dearest: Can't Get My Child in Her Carseat

Mommy Dearest: Can't Get My Child in Her Carseat

Mommy Dearest,

My two-year-old daughter refuses to sit in her carseat. We live in a small town where I have to drive to get groceries and run errands. How can I get her to buckle up without constantly going to battle? I wake up each morning dreading the day.

—Child Can't Stand Carseat

To see Mommy Dearest's response,


Child Can't Stand Carseat,

This situation is all too familiar. My son arches his back and turns into the Incredible Hulk four or five times a week when I try and strap him in his carseat. It's particularly fun when he screams like he's being murdered outside a busy shopping center. I feel your pain. Unfortunately, the only solution I've come up with is to distract him with a toy or gadget in the process. I let my son open our electric garage door once he's secured in his seat or hand him a lil car or sticker. Or, I try and get him interested in things going on outside of the vehicle like a motorcycle whizzing by or an airplane overhead. Let's turn this one over to the readers and see what they have to say.

— Mommy Dearest

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.


Join The Conversation
Janelloyd20 Janelloyd20 8 years
I have dealt with this situation before, mostly the two boys want to wander the car and do anything BUT get in the seat. I allow it for a minute or two and then I give them to the count of five to get in willingly or be put in. If they cry they cry but they have to realize that what you say matters and that they have to listen. If they get in willingly I tell them what big boys they are and how great that was.
ginns ginns 8 years
I lavish absurd amounts of praise upon him when he doesn't freak out about getting into the carseat. I try to make a big deal of those instances rather than giving a lot of attention to the refusals. I tell him what a good boy he is and I hand him a toy and give him extra kisses. Getting in the carseat is Fun! So far, the freak outs have decreased.
anniebananie anniebananie 8 years
I'm not a mom yet so my suggestion may not work, how about getting your kid familiarized with it maybe show him/her that mom and dad have to also buckle themselves in the car, show them how much higher they are sitting when they are in the car seat and how they can look out the window and look at the cars and people walking by. I guess this would only work for a older child.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
I don't use force as a first resort, but if all else fails, I have no problem having to use it. It's far more traumatizing to not be in a carseat in a crash or even a fast stop. But I do agree that your attitude will reflect in how she handles it as well. I wouldn't use a balloon. If it pops near their face, it's a HUGE choking hazard, not to mention it blocks vision in the rearview mirror floating around.
anniems anniems 8 years
A friend of mine keeps balloon in the back seat. Apparently it works great. I personally never would have thought of it.
Berlin Berlin 8 years
you also don't want to make it traumatic for them! so i strongly would avoid using force. you need to do it like a game or like a treat, kids build associations and will learn to link carseat with anxiety or punishment. let them realize that carseat means something fun! reward your child and praise them for getting in. constantly talk to her while she's in the car with you and even play music that she likes or you can even make it like she's going on a special trip when you go to do your errands and let her pack a little bag and get excited about going. but if YOU are dreading it, she'll pick up on that too.
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 8 years
Fight the battle and win it every time. You're the mom doing what's best for your child, so you can't let your child (emotionally) overpower you.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
I've absolutely used force and simply made them sit in their carseat, sometimes using two people to do it. Their safety is more important than them not crying.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
this is probably going to sound mean but hey you asked for opinions, i dont take no for an answer especially a two year old who is the parent if she screams her head off do be it i rather get my child to and from places safely and crying if need be
Mommy-of-Three Mommy-of-Three 8 years
I agree with Greggie, a special toy, maybe even one the child picks out to hold in the carseat. Another thought, my daughter usually likes to 'help' buckle herself in. I think she feels more in control and it usually helps distract her while I buckle her in.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
Try special toys that are for the carseat only, or even treats. I'm not above bribery in situations like this. The payoff is their safety, and I think that's more than worth a bribe.
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