03 May 2006

Talk amongst yourselves: Seatbelt hack?

Tom poses an interesting question:

My 4-year-old daughter is great at getting into her booster seat in the car and *almost* buckling herself in. The problem is that she can't reach the female part of the seatbelt buckle and hold it while she inserts the male end -- while sitting in the booster seat it is too difficult to get two hands down there. She lines things up with one hand but when she tries to push the male part of the buckle in, the female part just moves away. She gets it 50% of the time. It's easy for me to reach back and tug to ensure that it is secure, but I would love to know of some hack to hold the female end so it doesn't move or some other method of making the process easier.

Ideas?

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I guess it depends on the type of seatbelt... but what about velcro? You could stick the female portion to the side of the booster seat and then it wouldn't move as your daughter works to buckle herself in.

How bout just tying a bit of rope around the female part. That way she could hold the thing steady and use the rope to guide the male end in.

We've got the same problem, plus frequently cramming a second booster in between the first one and a carseat, so it is almost impossible for kids to look at what they're doing. After a school year's worth of practice two ~5 year olds get it 75% of the time. You may just have a growth curve to wait out! One car is much easier than the other b/c the female part doesn't "sink" into the seat on one so the shank is straighter. Maybe attaching it to something firmer that sticks btwn the seat and back would help.... I'll be following this post to look for ideas myself!

I know that GM sells these pigtail extenders for the female end of the plug. Why not use these short (~4-6 inch) extenders to get the female part of the seatbelt up into a more reachable position?

I am sure other manufacturers have similar items.

The seatbelt extender is a great suggestion. I checked into it a bit (http://www.ifisher.com/getbelts.htm) and learned that my car manufacturer (Toyota) will make a custom-size extender for free for larger folks. I think that's a perfect solution and I'll be pursuing it. Thanks! Now if only I can convince them to do it for free for a 4-year-old . . .

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