Even Babies Can Sometimes Escape Car Seats, Says Study

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, In The News, Baby Essentials

babies car seats

Children as young as 1 have been known to unbuckle their car seats. Credit: Getty Images


Your child may be a budding Harry Houdini.

WebMD reports children as young as age 1 have been known to unbuckle their car seats. Researchers surveyed parents and found some pretty cunning kids.

"We found that children can unbuckle from their child car safety seats by their 4th birthday, and there is an alarming 43 percent who do so when the car is in motion," researcher Lilia Reyes, a clinical fellow in pediatric emergency medicine at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., tells the website. "It was reported as early as 12 months."

Reyes and her colleagues at Yale surveyed 378 parents and found 51 percent reported that at least one of their children had unbuckled their car seats. Of these, 75 percent were age 3 or younger. The youngest was 12 months old.

Boys unbuckled more than girls. Boys accounted for 59 percent of the escape artists.

Parents were not asked if they buckled the seats correctly, Reyes tells WebMD. So it might not be that the kids are clever so much as the parents are clumsy.

However, buckling a car seat is hardly brain surgery, Reyes tells the website. The clicking noise on the harness is a big clue that you did it right.

"This study raises questions about how the child restraint was used," Lorrie Walker, training manager and technical adviser for Safe Kids USA, an advocacy group, tells WebMD.

"Federal motor vehicle safety standard 213 requires the buckle to release using between 9 and 14 pounds of pressure," she adds. "It is often challenging for an adult to unbuckle the harness."

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.