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Car seat battles

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I don't know which forum is most appropriate for this post but here goes.  I can really identify with the 2yo screaming post and have an added twist to add.  When DD (2.5) is determined not to get in her RF car seat I cannot physically get her in.   Lately this is every day.  I have tried all the tricks so often suggested (special toys, etc.) but when she's made up her mind that's that.  I am now pregnant with twins so my physical ability is somewhat limited because I'm not supposed to be carrying her due to some PG issues I'm having.  The problem is that she braces her legs against the seat and I cannot get her in it.  Sometimes I am able to wait it out (which I'm not sure teaches anything), but sometimes I really HAVE to go quickly for one reason or another.  I really want to keep her RF at least until she's closer to 3 (may have to turn her when babies arrive so I can fit 3 across--we'll see.  Anyhow, I'm tempted to try turning her FF now with the hope that she will get in easier.  I just don't know what to do and with PG hormones I usually end up crying about it! eyesroll.gif Suggestions anyone?

post #2 of 10

Have you tried playing up the "wow, what a big girl!  You can get in all by yourself!" and let her buckle the chest clip?  Maybe tickling to relax the legs?  A special song?  Ring around the rosy and bottom down on "all fall down!"?  

Or she might be old enough to understand that wasting time leads to not having enough time for fun things later.  "We'll have time to read an extra book if we can get going fast now."  Not as a bribe, just as a fact of life.

I'm not sure that turning the seat around would help.  My DS is a little bit younger, but he likes to scramble through to the front and try to sit in the driver's seat.  With RF at least if he's in the seat he eventually will slide down into it.


post #3 of 10

I don't know if turning around will make a difference. Most people I know, whether their kids are FF or RF have this issue with 2-year-olds. It's an autonomy issue. I just force mine in when she's fighting it if nothing else works, though I do try to get her to do it by having her help me or do things All By HerSelf. Have  you played up the autonomy part? "Can you get up into  your seat by yourself?" "Can you help me push the clips together?" "I really need your help holding my purse while I fasten your seatbelt. Can you get in your seat and hold my purse for me?"

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  She's been climbing in her seat for quite some time now. She will climb into the seat OK but stands up looking over the back seat or turns and looks into the front seat. She's not interested in buckling and the big girl stuf doesn't really fly with her for some reason (with anything). Yesterday she climbed right in the seat and buckled fine for me, and I did nothing different.  It seems so random (but frequent) so I think it is a bit of her knowing I can't force her to do it, and I physically can't anymore because she is very strong and braces her legs against the seat so firmly and then starts swinging her arms at me hitting me in the face. :-(  I just don't know how to most effectively respond to these protests by her.  I need tools.


post #5 of 10

Hi Mama! I feel for you! We went through this with our daughter between age 2 and 2.5. I'd say about 70% it was a huge battle getting her into the car seat. I even posted here about it. I read and tried a lot of great ideas, but NOTHING helped. We ended up having to force her hips down into the seat and very forcefully buckle her in on a few occassions. She would scream like we were physically abusing her, which in a sense, from her standpoint we were. It was so aweful!! We felt aweful, she felt aweful, it was just the worst.


My husband and I are both very much against physical punishment and force so this felt so wrong to us, but we felt like we had no alternative when we had to get somewhere or leave to go home from somewhere. I eventually just could not do that to my daughter one more time!


Finally, one day on a whim, I tried a different tactic that I hadn't before. This time, after putting her in the seat, but having her refuse to be buckled in by standing, turning around, climbing out. or what-have-you, I just closed the door and quickly got into the driver seat and closed the door. At this point she was climbing around the front seat and grabbing at things. (Luckily she doesn't know how to open the doors from the inside yet.) I just quietly sat there looking out the window. After a few minutes she noticed that I wasn't talking and said something about it and I said something like "I am patiently waiting for you to get into you car seat so we can go," or "When you are buckled in you car seat we can go." Then I just continued to wait in silence and not interact with her. I didn't completely ignore her but I made it so utterly boring for her that she eventually crawled in the carseat and said "I'm ready," or something like that. No force!! Yay! Granted I may have waited like ten minutes which felt like a really long time.


Since then we always use that tactic when we have carseat battles, which we still do occassionally, but not nearly as often (she is 3 now). It works every time, although we have had to wait in a parking lot for 15 minutes sometimes before she complies. We just very quietly wait it out until she is ready. It seems really inconvenient to just sit there when you have to be somewhere else, but for me it totally beats having to physically force her in.


So, it may not work for you or you might not want to do the waiting game, especially if you have more than one child, but it is another tactic to try if you are at your wits end.


Good luck!

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks mama! I too really really hate forcing her in and the screams are soooo bad. :-( That's why I ended up crying on a couple occasions.  Usually I can keep calm, but PG hormones mixed in there made the tears fall.  I just don't know what I'm going to do if this lasts until the babies are born when we will have 3 across and 2 newborns as she will probably be in the middle, yikes!  I have tried waiting, but sometimes it's just not possible (like when I was parked behind someone that had to leave , etc.) Oh I hope this passes soon. . .

post #7 of 10

We have also had some terrible car seat battles.  Recently

i have had some limited success with asking her if she wants me to hlep her in or she wants to do it herself, including climb in the car from the ground (she finds that to be an important part of doing it herself).  Also, I am not very proud of this but I have been letting her have xylitol lollipops in the car seat but no where else.  Now, sometimes when I remind her about the lollipops she wants me to hurry up so she can get in the car/  She does not get candy anywhere else. 

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  We transport her in a SUV so she cannot climb in--I wish she could because I am not supposed to lift her due to complications with the pregnancy.  I have tried the do it yourself (buckle) often, but she's just not interested.  It seems to be more often with me -mama- than anyone else, though its not that she only does it for me.  She is entering a daddy phase (I HOPE it is a phase) where she listens much better to him than me.  Glad the lollipop works for you--I am so hesitant to give her food in the car, esp. since she's rear facing and I can't see her.  I feel bad that I'm getting good suggestions and replying that they don't work.  I have just tried sooo many things already for this VERY determined little girl.  lol

post #9 of 10

Does your DD have a baby doll? We got a dolls car seat for ours, I'm not sure it helped as such but it did open up lots of opportunities for talking about why we need to be in the car seat in a non stressful way.


Could you bring a little step stool with you to she would be able to climb in herself, the lightweight plastic ones people use in the bathroom might be enough? I know another thing to carry is not great but maybe that would help.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi- sorry it took me so long to reply.  I had thought about looking for a light plastic step stool that she could use.  I hadn't thought about a doll carseat.  I'm not sure I have ever seen one.  I suppose I could put an infant one in for her to use with a doll, toy, etc.???  She is quite determined and has been doing a lot of testing lately. I'm guessing this may be related.  She is the sweetest little one and is very caring, but also very determined.  I'm guessing it will serve her well in life--now just how to help her as her mama! LOL.

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