two hours to get into the carseat(!)

(163 Posts)
SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 09:58:30

I got home from work at 8pm last night because it took me more than 2 hours to coax, argue, force my child into the car-seat. He is 2 and a half.
We went through persuasion, force, explanation and then finally breastfeeding him to sleep and attempting to gently put him in 3 times before he would stay.

I am no push-over but I am amazed that it took me so long to get him in as up to now he's been fine. Is this normal toddler behaviour and do I just need to resort to chocolate buttons now?

ellesabe Wed 03-Jul-13 10:02:49

You poor thing! Sounds very difficult and I hope someone more useful will come along shortly x

RobotBananas Wed 03-Jul-13 10:05:07

They can just be like this. No coaxing in future. Either full on bribary or just fold in half and shove in seat. I remember this stage well!

afussyphase Wed 03-Jul-13 12:29:42

I really, really hate forcing toddlers into carseats. DD2 has worked out how to get her arms through the straps, so even if I do manage to stuff her in there, she can easily make herself unsafe in short order! Last time, DH held her hands to prevent her from doing this, but that doesn't work unless there's an adult back there, and besides, it's a terrible solution and it produced a tantrum heard by all and sundry for miles around. If chocolate buttons worked for me, I'd do it, but I don't drive every day so it wouldn't be a lot of chocolate. In DD's case I doubt it would work; she's really not bothered about food/treats. Maybe a sticker for getting in and staying in nicely the whole ride? 5 stickers in a week and he gets a bigger, fancier sticker? Anyway I feel for you! We have helmet/bike seat conflict too, made worse by sometimes having a deadline to collect DD1...

RobotBananas Wed 03-Jul-13 12:44:03

Well..I had to really.. DS had to be at nursery by 7am so I could get to work. If I'd spent hours persuading him I wouldn't have had a job to go to - needs must and all that smile

Didn't ever have to do it much though.

PoppyWearer Wed 03-Jul-13 12:47:11

Oh wow, my DC1 used to be like this and I kept packets of smarties in the car for this reason. I well remember still being stood in the nursery car park trying to get her strapped in half an hour after leaving. Sometimes the staff took pity on me and came to help.

Just bribe or use force.

I am approaching this age/stage with DC2 who has already started on the tantrums...I'd better stock up on smarties!

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 12:51:38

thank you - I feel a bit rubbish because my mum told me I 'just have to be in charge' but I don't think she remembers what it's like to have a toddler stiff as a board and lashing out while screaming and crying 'nooooooooo' in your face.

I will try chocolate buttons tonight I think, there's no way I could force him and even though I did get him in once he wriggled his arms out and screamed so much that I had to un-clip him and start again.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 03-Jul-13 12:56:07

Seriously - you are the adult here.

If he can wriggle out then your straps are too loose and if you crash your car then he'll be injured. Honestly, all this faffing and worrying about "hurting his feelings" and the straps are too loose? Jesus wept.

Longdistance Wed 03-Jul-13 12:58:57

I'm with bribery. Always bribe with chocolate. I don't care, it always works with my two. I rule the roost, not my dd's.

Also, I can suggest the Houdini strap, can be bought on eBay. Both mine have them.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:01:17

Jesus Wept to you too. Do you feel better now, having helped me with my situation?

have I used the phrase 'hurting his feelings'?

The straps had to be loosened to get him in, as I was trying to toghten them he wriggled out.

Obviously to you I am just some kind of push-over mum who should be able to force my child kicking and screaming into a car-seat but you were not there. There was a serious chance of doing injury to him and myself which I was not prepared to do. Bully for you that perhaps you have a child who doesn't mind getting into a seat or who is easy to man-handle but that is not my experience which is why I came here to ask for some support and advice.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:02:55

Thank you Longdistance, I will look into the strap. My son has often managed to get him self free of the straps even on occasions where they are pulled really tight. IMO some kids are like this, they will squeeze out regardless.

Sirzy Wed 03-Jul-13 13:04:26

Tickling works well - stops them being so stiff and means you can quickly get them in.

Car seats are one of those things they soon realise they won't win the battle with!

Tee2072 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:05:59

Well, as the car seat is non-negotiable and you can't take 2 hours to get him into every night, use the brute force or stop driving.

I agree with Dolomites. Who is the adult here?

And yes, I've had a child like that. And I've put my knee into his chest and strapped him in. And tightened the straps as tight as I could to get him to stay put.

HystericalParoxysm Wed 03-Jul-13 13:07:40

Bribery is definitely appropriate in this situation! I tend to say 'I've got something for you which you can have when you're in your car seat' (usually food) or 'I'll tell you what we are doing next as soon as you're strapped in' etc. takes the emphasis off the car seat situation and more on what the next step is. Good luck! I remember that stage well wink

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 03-Jul-13 13:07:44

You are the adult here. You are considerably bigger than a two year old - take charge. I fail to see how there was a serious chance of 'doing injury' to him - last resort after asking, telling & bribing... smack his bottom and while he's stunned by that event, put him in his car seat and buckle him up - the world wont end.

Manchesterhistorygirl Wed 03-Jul-13 13:09:12

I've had two like this and I'm afraid it came down to brute force. Yes they may cry once they're strapped in, but I quite frankly do not care because at least they're in and safe. Now I'm working to a deadline, I.e. school run there's even less time for arguing.

You have to be the adult here and force the issue.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:09:22

wow - well I really don't want to put my knee to his chest, despite being the adult or maybe it's because I am the adult?
Is this really what people do to their children? shock

DS hasn't always been great at getting in the seat, it can be ok one day and not so OK the next but this is the first time I have ever met such sustained resistance to going in. This wasn't really just a bit of a fight it was a full blown crazy temper, wetting himself in the well of the car, kicking, hitting, screaming, crying and so on - not usual behaviour for him and I thought perhaps a developmental thing.

Maybe it will be different tonight.

Time2Nap Wed 03-Jul-13 13:09:49

I feel you pain, its hard work on the emotions when toddlers dig their heels in. My son had this stage, and forcing him in just made things worse and took longer plus we would both feel awful.

To go for dog walk, get on bike or in car smoothly I allow him to choose a toy (well now he is car obsessed he can pick 2 cars to take with us if he'd like). It wors reall well, I let him know ahead of time my plans and say you can bring to cars if you like and before I know t he is waiting for me.

Occasionally he tries to push his luck and bring more but knows now it won't work. And he still has occasions where he tries to put up a fight, usually tired or not well but he is told there are no options this is what we're doing (I've learnt not to say would you like to go out but tell him this is the plan) and if he kicks off the time out warning comes- rarely needed now but I've just been consistent.

Give it a go, find a favourite thing (children songs, books, toys) or a special thing just for these car journeys / situations and stick to it. It might be a bumpy ride at first but will be well worth it for both of you

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:10:09

and no - I don't do smacking of bottoms so that's not a solution, neither is any form of violence. Though i do get that some parents use this method.

sunnyshine Wed 03-Jul-13 13:10:16

No one is suggesting your hurt him getting him in there but you do need to be firm. It's a struggle bit I never would have let it continue for 2 hours waiting until he was asleep before putting him in. He has to learn that seat belts are mandatory and a quick job gets you home quicker to do favourite thing or dinner or treat, tv etc. I would reward when you are home not immediately in the car.

BrianTheMole Wed 03-Jul-13 13:10:25

Fold in half, quick shove so bottom goes to back of seat, one hand between legs and across chest so they can't wriggle down and straps on quickly. And then done up very very tight so its impossible to get arms out. I have a child like that, very strong and very stubborn.

Sirzy Wed 03-Jul-13 13:10:52

In my opinion it is much worse for the child to be battling with a parent for 2 hours than it is for some gentle force to be used to resolve the situation quickly.

Seb101 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:13:05

'Donky' could have probably worded it better, but I agree in principle with what she's saying. I would not bribe, persuade etc. I certainly wouldn't spend longer than 5 mins discussing the issue. I'd give warning: count to 3, then use physical force. No 2.5 year old is stronger than an adult. If child went berserk and kicked me in face, then so be it. They'd be going in there: end of story. I've found if you don't make the child comply with these issues, they just get worse. Won't get in car, won't sit a table etc. It's like giving them control. If its time to get in car seat, it's time to get in car seat! Next time I'd take a massive deep breath and get him in that seat- no messing. I know it's hard because you don't want to hurt them, but I do believe that sometimes they need to know who's boss! Good luck xx

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:13:53

thanks for all the advice. As I said I tried to do the whole explaining that we needed to get home, I tried to bribe him with snacks (Had no chocolate), and I tried to force him in and really none of it worked. I am still breastfeeding and he kept asking to be fed and I did tell him he could be fed once we were home but, really, none of this worked at all.

I can see posts where people have suggested I hurt my child, smacking him on the bum for example. This is not something we do and I am not about to start bum smacking to get my way.

thanks again.

ReallyTired Wed 03-Jul-13 13:15:21

I think that tickling combined with brute force is often necessary. I find it hard to believe that a full blown adult cannot over power a 2 year old. I don't agree with smacking either, but in someways smacking a child is less cruel than giving a child no boundaries.

A simpler and more sadistic punishment than smacking is to make your children listen to my taste in music. My son tells me that he would rather be smacked than listen to ABBA! In all seriousness if your child has a favourite CD or an audiobook you can use that to reward them for being good.

FannyFifer Wed 03-Jul-13 13:15:57

I had a friend who was utterly insipid. about dealing with this sort of nonsense.

Trying to get her son into a buggy or carseat, "please darling, sit nicely, blah blah blah". Could take up to an hour, sometimes she couldn't get him in and would have to cancel days out etc, wtf!

Me and DD would be waiting for ages as he was screaming and fighting and punching and kicking her, fuck that, I used to just grab him and shove him in.

I am actually thankfully no longer friends with her, for another reason but I'm delighted I no longer have to witness her pathetic ineffective parenting, there were a lot more issues than those I've mentioned.

Certain things are non negotiable, my two tried this on occasion, the got unceremoniously thrown in.

There is no reason to take 2 hours, seriously, to put a child in a car seat.

Tee2072 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:16:17

I never said hurt him. I said be the parent.

Or are you going to start negotiating everything? Bedtime? Bath? Teeth brushing? Going to school?

Some things you need to be firm about. So be firm.

Or waste 2 hours every single night.

I have never hurt my son physically putting him into a car seat or a pushchair. I've just used my larger body and greater strength to manipulate him where I want him.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 03-Jul-13 13:17:20

Bribing, tickling, or if those fail brute force is the only way. I suspect being quickly forced into the seat would be a lot less distressing for him and you than a two hour tantrum.

My dd went through a phase like this when I was heavily pregnant. Not fun, but she had to understand that fighting wasn't an option, so I forced her in. She stopped after a few weeks.

Seb101 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:18:32

Well said tee2070!!

TheSecondComing Wed 03-Jul-13 13:18:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:19:02

ok - thank you. I will try to be more forceful with him.

5madthings Wed 03-Jul-13 13:22:35

Tickling works here, its jsit non negotiable, they have to go inn the car seat and if they scream then they scream. There is no alternative.

If you and more than one child you couldn't spend two hours faffin got get them in.

Tee2072 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:22:42

Thank you Seb.

JFDI? Just fucking do it?

CheepyChirp Wed 03-Jul-13 13:25:28

Counting to three worked well with mine at that age. Start using it with things that you can make them do even if they are resisting.

Eg...Sit down for shoes on. 1,2,3. If they aren't cooperating, they get picked up and shoes put on. It doesn't take long until they realise that mummy counting means it's that it's time to stop messing about and you can use it for things, like getting into carseats that you really need their cooperation with..

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:26:55

OK - I do understand that to many other people I must be coming over as some kind of wishy washy inept arsehole, my mum definitely made me feel like I am.

I suppose what I was asking was is this a normal developmental thing that happens to toddlers at around this age or am I just unlucky?

GobbySadcase Wed 03-Jul-13 13:28:49

I do remember the knee in tummy and fold technique all too well... Sympathies OP.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:29:23

I do think I should explain that I am still breastfeeding and I intend on doing so for a while so DS almost always has a feed in the car before getting into his seat. I know not all mums breastfeed and not all mums like the idea of extended or natural term breastfeeding but that is what we have chosen to do and it works for me. it is not the breastfeeding that stops him getting in the car, up until last night I would feed him then put him in the seat with few problems.

last night was markedly different in that he had a very large and full on tantrum.

ihearttc Wed 03-Jul-13 13:29:28

Seriously DS2 is a nightmare to get in a car seat but it has never ever taken more than 5 minutes to do it-he is 2.5 as well.

Its non negotiable-just put him in the car seat hold your hand over him to stop him getting out and tighten the cannot negotiate and bribe him every single time.

We have to get DS1 to school every morning so he knows he has to go in there...he might not like being in there but at the end of the day he is 2 and Im the adult. Its pretty much the same thing as doing anything dangerous-you wouldn't negotiate with him if he had hold of a knife or ran into the road would you so why try and reason with him about getting in a car seat? I really don't get it sorry.

We have got a Houdini Stop but for the pushchair...he can literally get out of it in 30 seconds with the harness done up so tight he can barely breathe! Haven't tried it yet as only just they work?

kelda Wed 03-Jul-13 13:30:44

I have had this with dd1. She was an octopus at this age, and very strong as well. I also had a fight with her to brush her teeth.

You need to choose your battles, and car seats and teethbrushing are the ones that the parent does not lose.

I would use my knee to hold dd down in the seat which sounds dreadful but obviously you do it without hurting your child! - and then my hands were free to do up the car seat.

Two hours fighting with each other must be exhausting and distressing for both of you.

TheSecondComing Wed 03-Jul-13 13:31:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kelda Wed 03-Jul-13 13:32:24

I don't think the breastfeeding is particularly relevant to be honest. Many children, breastfed or not, are impossible to put into a car seat!

I tickled ds. Or gave him my phone and he would be distracted.
I don't like to force my children as might hurt them!

5madthings Wed 03-Jul-13 13:34:27

I bfed two to mine until they self weaned at three years, if he has a feed before he gets in the seat and that so part of his routine then that fine smile

Bit once he has to go in, he goes in. You can't spend two hours every time you need him in the car seat. Tickling/a bit of force and bribery if necessary.

Yes it disc traction and talking about what you will do when you get home.
Tantrums are normal, distract and ignore, you cant always reason with them a this age, sometimes they jsit have to scream.

I get the same on the school run, I let dd walk some of it, but part of it is by busy road and she HAS to go in the pushchair, yes she screams but in she goes and it can't take ages as I have three others to supervise and get home to do dinner.

TheSecondComing Wed 03-Jul-13 13:35:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HandMini Wed 03-Jul-13 13:36:05

Social - as others have said i do think you need to nip this in the bud, because behaviour like this in toddlers can really impact your life, particularly plans with others.

You would have got him in to that seat and home if, for example, you had another child to pick up from school, or had a supermarket delivery coming, wouldn't you?

Like a PP, we have a parent friend who will not get her daughter into the buggy. Me and DD have ended up just walking away after the first 10 minutes with a cheery "see you another time then, we really need to get going".

Yes, it's normal for toddlers to have a good rage about EVERYTHING, car seats being a favourite tantrum-trigger, but it's definitely NOT normal to spend 2 hours on the subject or to have to get your child to sleep in order to car seat him.

TheSecondComing Wed 03-Jul-13 13:37:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaQueef Wed 03-Jul-13 13:39:49

DS2 is a nightmare,a nd I have resorted to bribing him with a bottle ( he's not BFed anymore).

I have ALSO resorted to a knee in the chest, which is not as barbaric as it sounds. I'm three times his size and strength and carseats are not negotiable. It doesn';t hurt him.

That said, I've had mindees who refuse to sit in the seat and at those times I'v ehad to call in outside help (got my mum out to do the school run for eg) as there is no way of physically forcing a child that's not yours...

5madthings Wed 03-Jul-13 13:40:36

Oh yes teeth brushing is non negotiable as well!

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:41:10

Sorry - I mentioned the breastfeeding thing because someone else had mentioned it. I really do get that I am supposed to be tougher, I will try the tickling thing and other suggestions before putting my knee to his chest.

He has never ever put up this kind of resistance before. I think I panicked.

oscarwilde Wed 03-Jul-13 13:41:30

I'm with the just be firm camp. Sorry.

It is worth checking that the shoulder straps don't need adjusting though. Sometimes when they get a bit of a growth spurt on, it can take you by surprise. We only realised when our toddler started complaining that it hurt. She stopped being a royal PITA when she was comfier.

If all else fails - break out an ipad with some downloaded cbeebies or retro Tom&Jerry and make it a car only treat.

Viviennemary Wed 03-Jul-13 13:43:27

I think a two hour battle is a lot more stressful for both of you than a few minutes of force. All this coaxing and negotiating with a two year old. It sometimes just doesn't work or life is too short. I'm afraid that taking two hours to get a child into a car seat is just something I wouldn't do just as smacking is something you wouldn't do. Everyone must make their own choice.

Tee2072 Wed 03-Jul-13 13:46:29

Breast feeding has nothing to do with it.

If it's your routine to BF then put him in his seat, do that. But the getting into his seat thing is not negotiable. He must get in his car seat when you tell him to.

I also use counting to great effect. When my son was 2ish I would count to 10 because my theory was counting to 3 wasn't long enough at that age for him to understand and do it.

Now that he's 4, I count to 3. And he knows I will follow through so I usually don't even get to 2 before he's done whatever I need/want him to do.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:47:08

may I just ask - re the getting arms out of the straps. DS has been doing this for many months and it doesn't matter how tight I pull the straps or how I readjust them - he still does it on occasion. It takes time, and he really does have to contort his body but he has done it while we've been travelling on motorways and so on. Is there anything I can do at all - I am not sure those houdini straps are safe or advised in the UK? I have friends who tell me that their children always managed to wriggle free with some effort too so I was under the impression that despite all my efforts he will do this on occasion just because he can. Am I wrong?

bunnyfrance Wed 03-Jul-13 13:48:40

Yes, totally normal at that age. My DS was like this and I also had to force the issue, when I was 9 months pregnant too. It took a while, but he got the message eventually. It is just a phase though, really - now he rushes to get into his carseat as he wants to "win the race" against his sister!

Sheshelob Wed 03-Jul-13 13:50:33

I don't think you are an insipid arsehole FWIW. I also think you don't need to justify your choice in how long you breastfeed your child. That is between you and your DC.

But I also agree that some things are non-negotiable, and car seats are one of them.

I didn't like the idea of brute force until my DS fought getting strapped into the pushchair when I had a bad back. I had to keep him there with my knee while I did up the belt. In the middle is Starbucks. I got my fair share of judgey looks but needs must. There is no way I could have carried him.

I think as long as it isn't done out of anger, it can be effective. While they need to be listened to, they need boundaries just as much. It is a tricky balance and one that seems to constantly shift.

Oh - and as for the advocate of bum smacking: get a fucking grip. Anyone who hits a toddler to teach them a lesson is a fucking moron.


afussyphase Wed 03-Jul-13 13:50:34

I'm going to check out the Houdini strap too. Maybe our car-seat is badly designed (obviously) and/or DD is skinny (definitely) but I cannot tighten the straps so tightly that she can't get her arms out. So yes, I can stuff her in there, and I have. And I can bribe, not tolerate, be firm, choose toys, yada yada, and I have - mostly with success (esp the toy choice). But it is a problem for OP, people like me and others.
Likewise, it turns out to be very, very difficult to get a child helmet so tight that the child CANNOT get the strap up over their chin OR push the helmet back over their head, if they are determined. And DD can get her feet out of the foot strap things on my bike seat, and then she can kick me and her feet aren't as safe if the bike falls, so not ideal either. All well and fine to say just stuff them in there, but if it doesn't hold them properly or stay on, that doesn't solve the problem.
I feel for you OP. I'm sure you'll sort out a solution.

Sirzy Wed 03-Jul-13 13:51:19

Is his bottom right back in the chair before you tighten the straps? If they start of a bit slouched when they sit up the straps can become looser.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 13:56:13

interestingly I just found this so it does look like there's a large percentage of children struggling free and maybe it's not just that inept mothers are failing to tighten the straps?

RobotBananas Wed 03-Jul-13 13:56:27

SocialConstruct you don't need to be evil to force them into a seat. Tickling renders them incapable of doing the stiff as a board thing and usually diffuses the situation too. Failing that, just kneel on them (honestly, it's the only way... you cannot negotiate with a 2yo wink )

If straps are loose are they positioned directly above his shoulders? If they're slightly lower or too high then he might be able to wriggle out. Certain type of car seat are terrible for this though (Maxi Cosi Tobi being one of them)

kelda Wed 03-Jul-13 13:56:34

I find it strange that people seem to think tickling is less cruel then holding a knee to his chest.

To me, tickling is a form of torture!

gutzgutz Wed 03-Jul-13 13:58:37

Re: the wriggling out, yes DS (2.10) also used to do this. Distract with toys or cartoons on ipad/iphone for longer journeys. Download some Thomas or Fireman Sam. I used to be against TV in the car (and then I had a childgrin) but it's safer to have a child zombied out with technology than wriggling free.

It is a developmental stage the tantrums. He's probably exhausted after nursery and now feels safe with you to express that exhaustion. Remember, toddlers are not yet fully rational beings and especially will not listen when they are in a state.

I agree that chocolate is the way to go. DS1 has no interest in stickers but responds well to chocolate stars! (Again, I revised my opinion of bribery post children! grin)

RobotBananas Wed 03-Jul-13 14:00:45

When I say kneel on him I don't mean actually squash into the seat, but fold and then use your knee to stop him being able to straighten again. You don't need to hurt him or anything, it's just as a barrier - more to act as a third hand to hold him in place than to actually force him in the seat.

maja00 Wed 03-Jul-13 14:07:10

There's only a couple of things that are totally non-negotiable for me - and that's teeth brushing and car seats/seat belts.

I would count to three, and then force. You don't need to hurt them but you are about 4 times his size so you can overpower him!

I am normally totally against smacking, but I would smack for undoing/wriggling out of seat belts if explaining doesn't work. That is just so dangerous, I'd rather a smack than a dead child.

KansasCityOctopus Wed 03-Jul-13 14:08:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhatJeff Wed 03-Jul-13 14:08:17

I have four, of course I have to use force. Or should I tell nursery and after school club I should be two hours late if dd won't get in the car? They all go through this stage. Force him now before he's so big you can't.

Sorry but it sounds silly and I can't quite believe it's true.

PiratePanda Wed 03-Jul-13 14:12:11

If persuasion, bribery and counting to 5 sternly don't work, you have to do it against their will; carseats are a non-negotiable, and there are plenty of things for which one simply cannot be two hours late!

Tickle, fold in half, hold bottom into the seat while wrangling straps, ignore all whinging and wailing, and yell if you must.

I rarely have to repeat such unpleasantness.

WhatJeff Wed 03-Jul-13 14:12:18

Sorry I read your later post, I apologise for being harsh. Seriously though, if you have to overpower them early on. They give up very quickly and it's easier to do without injury when small.

Sheshelob Wed 03-Jul-13 14:20:15

This is a thread about being put in the carseat in the first place, not them wriggling out. If they are wriggling out of the carseat, there is a problem with the carseat. Children are not rational and will try stuff. Simply intimidating them into stopping isn't actually fixing the problem. Kids shouldn't be able to wriggle out.

I think the smacking poster said something about smacking them, then using the time they are stunned to put them in the seat. What a fucked up message. "I don't want you to get hurt so I am going to hurt you."

Brilliant logic confused

Two fucking hours. Jesus.

It is a normal thing. DD1 went through the same, for about two days, until she realised that she was going in no matter what.

As for the strap thing, I agree with whoever said to yell at them. Children dont know the consquences or what things are non negotiable. Car seats are non negotiable and that fact should stand out. When DD1 would do this, I would go mad. It was the only way for her to guage that this was a really important thing.

And the time she got a smack was when she tried to run out infront of a car. It scared her. She never tried it again.

Blatherskite Wed 03-Jul-13 14:35:28

Another one who thinks you need to grow a backbone.

You are the adult and you are in charge. No way would I have let either of mine fight me for 2 bloody hours to get into a car seat.

Both have gone through the anti-car seat phase and both got an unceremonius shove on the pelvis to get their bottoms back into the seat and were then strapped in tightly. They did it once or twice then learnt that Mummy was in charge and that fighting was pointless.

I think the BF thing is a massive red herring too.

ReallyTired Wed 03-Jul-13 14:35:39

What has extended breastfeeding have to do with forcing a child into a car seat? Although extended breastfeeding does alter your out look on life. I suggest that you go to a La Leche League meeting and ask what like minded/ attachment parenting people do. Once you have more than one child a lot of attachment parenting ideas go out of the window. There simply aint the time.

With my children they have "races" on who can get their seat belt on first. When dd's brother is at school she has a race with her immaginary friend.

capecath Wed 03-Jul-13 14:46:41

We also went through this issue around 2 most times getting into car seat and frequently into the pushchair too. DS1 is now closer to 3 and it is no longer a problem - we can chat and get excited about where we're going - but previously there was just no reasoning with him. Something that worked best for us was that we would save a snack or treat for when we were getting in the car, ie. "when you get in your car seat you can have xyz". Also worked with a special drink or special toy - kept a couple aside, and books, only for playing with once in car seat. We also tried the counting to 3 thing, which he amusingly thought was a game and asked us to count to 3, then he'd readily jump in! smile These efforts failing we'd resort to force at times. He also now knows that when I raise my voice I mean business. What ever methods you decide to employ, you do need to learn somehow about actions and consequences and when it is important to listen and obey in many different areas, for their own good.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 14:57:33

OK - just to answer the questions about the breastfeeding. I wasn't in any way using that as an excuse. I was attempting to address a comment made up-thread.

TheSecondComing said 'D not bribe him, do it breast feed him to sleep.
JFDI. You are supposed to be in charge.'

I think she meant.. do not breastfeed to sleep.

I do breastfeed to sleep at home. I wasn't actively breastfeeding him to sleep in the car, It just so happened that on this occasion he fought me and then I breast fed him and then as a result he fell asleep. I didn't use breastfeeding as a way to get him in to the carseat, it just happened that after fighting me and then breastfeeding he did fall asleep and so I tried to put him in the carseat. It took three attempts.

I saw theSecondComing say not to breastfeed to sleep and it annoyed me a bit as we sometimes do and I thought perhaps she was anti-breastfeeding to sleep in general.

I realise that I have over-reacted a bit but this is the first time it has happened, I do not make a habit of waiting for hours to get my son into the car as he more often than not does go in with no trouble. It was just that last night was such a dramatic change to his normal behaviour. Clearly I handled it badly and on this one occasion I was an inept parent.

I promise you all that I will not be so rubbish at this in the future. wink

TheSecondComing Wed 03-Jul-13 15:14:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TanglednotTamed Wed 03-Jul-13 15:18:13

I think it sounds an unusual situation. I have 'forced' my toddlers into the carseat occasionally, but it is pretty gentle force, just firmly putting them in, even though they're shouting 'no' and wriggling. Certainly no smacking or knees in chest or anything like that!

But it sounds like your toddler was extremely, extremely upset. Far more so than any of mine have been at going in the car, or perhaps even at anything else. Is this a one-off, or is he often this resistant to getting in? Does he get this upset about other things? Is there a problem with the car (seat wrong size/not adjusted to be comfortable, car sickness, feeling isolated in the back, glare through the window)? Has he had a frightening experience with the car before?

I am just wondering if you need to look into root causes. If your toddler is far more disturbed by getting into the car than is usual, then all of our 'just be firm' advice may not be applicable, and may even be outright damaging.

How about taking the car seat out of the car and bringing it into the house? I saw an episode of Supernanny where she did this with a child who wouldn't go in the car seat. They spent a lot of time strapping teddies in, and then getting the child to sit in it (still in the house) and gradually working up to very short journeys in the car, slowly extending them.

TanglednotTamed Wed 03-Jul-13 15:19:39

Oh, and I still breastfeed my youngest (who is 2) to sleep. No quibbles from me there. I would do it to calm her down if she was hurt or unbearably upset too, though the need hasn't arisen for a long time.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 15:22:23

"Is this a one-off, or is he often this resistant to getting in? Does he get this upset about other things?"

He is not an angry upset child but in the last couple of weeks he has been more upset about stuff. I understand this is a toddler thing - or a 'some toddlers' thing and so far we haven't had the terrible twos that everyone talks about. This last week has been one of broken routines and strangeness for him as we took him to a festival and yesterday was his first day back in nursery. I am sure this may have had an effect.

He does sometimes resist but I have always been able to jam him in one way or another, this time was different - hence me posting.

TanglednotTamed Wed 03-Jul-13 15:24:59

If you can usually 'jam him in' it's obvious you're not the weak-kneed over-liberal parent that lots of people on here think you are.

When do you next have to take him in the car? Have you got a few days respite to get back to routine and hopefully have him settle down? I would really think about trying the carseat-in-house thing. Maybe make a play car out of cardboard boxes, and make a bit thing about your DS being the driver and having to strap teddy into the seat in the back before 'setting off'?

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 15:27:25

Also - not sure if I mentioned this... up until recently he rode in the front with me in another car. My mum gave me her car (Which he is used to riding in the back of) and this was the first time I collected him from nursery in her car.

So maybe, that is why. Perhaps the whole thing is freaky for him.

He was very upset.

kelda Wed 03-Jul-13 15:29:35

So you picked him up in a different car and for the frist time expected him to sit in the back? Then that is probably why.

Don't give in though. It's far safe for a child to sit in the back then in the front.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 15:30:06

NB ... he was in the front because it was a micra (with no airbag) and dangerous to have the seat in the back. He has been in the back of DHs car a lot and in the back of my mum's old and new car with no issues. He has been in the back of my mum's car and my DH's with me driving with no issues.

I would prefer to keep him in the back as it's safer so switching off airbag probably not worth while.

I will see what happens tonight when I pick him up from my mum's house.

MrsBungle Wed 03-Jul-13 15:31:36

Just re straps. My kids are in the kiddy infinity pro car seats. No straps to wriggle out of. Much easier to get toddlers into in my opinion.

HandMini Wed 03-Jul-13 15:31:38

Social - as a general rule, I think we're all going to have one off parenting experiences like this, when a tantrum takes you by surprise and with hindsight we wish we'd handled things differently. I know I have. I'm just amazed at your patience still!

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 15:32:00

"So you picked him up in a different car and for the first time expected him to sit in the back?" well, He has sat in the back of that car before - once a week since he was ten months old.

to be honest, being in the back is non-negotiable as I am not allowed to have him in the front if the airbag is not disabled am I?

Clearly there has been a change - so does this mean 2 hours of fighting and persuasion is ok then?

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 15:34:34

HandMini - I have surprised myself with my patience since I had DS as I am not a patient person in general. Last night I really had nowhere to go but home so it was not an issue time wise but it's not something I wish to repeat.

I think I have been a bit silly coming on here (Thank fuck I name changed!) and expecting someone to tell me it will all be ok and not to panic. Clearly I am an idiot and I need to wise up and toughen up a bit.

Lottapianos Wed 03-Jul-13 15:38:23

SocialConstruct, I am also in the 'just do it' camp but I have to say, hats off to you for taking all this criticism on the chin! It's not easy to hear people telling you you're doing something wrong and that you need to be tougher but good for you for actually listening and not flouncing.

No, 2 hours fighting with your young child is not ok and is not healthy for either of you. As other posters said, you are the adult and sometimes you have to exploit that fact! Good luck

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 03-Jul-13 15:44:21

All children can get their arms out of a 5 point harness, no matter how tight they are, it's a design flaw. They can just suck their tummies in and wriggle arms out through the gap. The ones who don't just haven't figured that out yet! There's something called a 5 point plus which you can buy which just stops the gap so they can't do it. Looks great to me.

DS went through a car seat refusing stage and we told him that the car couldn't start until he was in his seat. That was enough persuasion for him - other things you can try are bribery, showing him a sweet/toy and telling him he can have it as soon as he's strapped in! Never say "If you let me do your straps up then..." because that gives them the option. Always use the language "When you get into your car seat" "As soon as I get these straps done up" etc - ie don't make it into an option. You can also give him a different choice, e.g. do you want your window open or closed?

Also I know this is a bit late but in future if you are going in a different car then tell him beforehand - it's amazing how a simple thing like this can throw toddlers and they like to know what to expect, especially if they're tired and hungry which it sounds like he was definitely tired.

If it's a forward facing car seat then you can have him in the front with an airbag but he's safer in the back.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 03-Jul-13 15:45:23

Oh or talking about what you're going to do when you get to where you're going, ie emphasising that the quicker they get in, the quicker you'll get wherever you're going.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 15:47:08

Does this mean he is super advanced wink

the struggling out thing was not really the issue, though he did do it once last night after I managed to clip him in, and then spent ages flailing about which is when I (probably stupidly) got him out and fed him.

He has once got his arms out and opened the door when we were moving - I shouted really loudly and he burst into tears from the shock.

Davsmum Wed 03-Jul-13 15:48:59

I agree with those who say its non negotiable and just do it!

If a child knows there is no option and it has to be done they WILL eventually accept it.
As for bribing a child, I would never ever do that! Its not ok - It may get you out of a situation in the short term but then you find you are having to bribe them to do what they SHOULD be doing forever!

Children continue to be difficult or behave badly because they are rewarded for it! Its also bloody confusing for them to be rewarded for being a brat!
Its amazing how many mums are prepared to put up with this sort of stuff forever rather than suffer some distruption and cure it properly!

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 15:49:23

oh - I didn't know that about the forward facing seat/airbag thing - it is forward facing.

Thing is, I really want him in the back to be honest as I never really liked having him in the front.

I think I just didn't realise the impact of all the changes even though he knew granny's car was going to be our car for quite a while before we got it. Lesson learned.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 03-Jul-13 15:56:11

There are child locks inside the back doors of all cars - make sure you put yours on! Google the model if you don't know how to do it.

Airbag still isn't great with a FF seat because the airbag will still go off right in his face rather than chest and can cause blindness from the very fine powder, but legal thinking is that a chance of blindness is better than almost certain death which would occur with a rear facing seat, so FF seats are legal to be used with an airbag but advice is to put the tallest child in the front (if for example you're carrying more children than you can fit in the back) and to push the seat as far back as possible.

Honestly I think he was just tired that day and you got the brunt of it. At 2.5, tired + unexpected change can = meltdown, and then it unwittingly turned into a long drawn out battle.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 15:58:00

Will do - the only reason he was able to open the car door on my micra was because he was in the front and the model I had didn't have a child lock and I had stupidly left it unlocked. Scariest parenting moment of my life!

RobotBananas Wed 03-Jul-13 16:01:17

You're probablyright, it will have just been a one off tantrum because things were different and he was tired after a long day smile unexpected changes were the only thing that triggered tantrums with DS and he hardly ever had them really, so it was always a bit of a shock!

Floggingmolly Wed 03-Jul-13 16:08:47

I love RobotBanana's no nonsense approach - "just fold in half and shove in seat". grin. Bizarrely enough, I was never physically strong enough to do that (and I'm no lightweight, sadly); a toddler who doesn't want to do something has the strength of 10 men and the wriggliness of an octopus.

rockybalboa Wed 03-Jul-13 16:10:18

Force and ignore wriggling (provided he can't actually escape) and screaming. 2 hours?!? Jesus you poor thing, I'd have been forcing mine in after less than 2 mins non-compliance. Life is too short.

BalloonSlayer Wed 03-Jul-13 16:15:48

Can I ask - do you put him into the car seat yourself, ie lift him in?

When my DCs were that age I put a little step stool in a footwell in the car so they could climb in by themselves. Saved me a lot of bother.

If you are not already doing that, it could be an idea: "I've got you a special big boy step so you can get in by yourself."

agree that you MUST sort out door locks.

RobotBananas Wed 03-Jul-13 16:25:23

FloggingMolly grin

I'm more stubborn than the average toddler - DS had no chance wink

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 16:27:50

yes, I pick him up and plonk him in. If I don't he would probably nip through the gap between the front seats and start trying to drive the car. Is it just that I have a particularly independent child or does everyone else have placid compliant kids?

I just feel like if I got him a step he'd laugh at me and say 'really, mum? I have an option of getting in by myself or just wandering off?'

neversaydie Wed 03-Jul-13 16:31:54

When my son was about the same age, we had a similar problem. He went rigid as I lifted him into the seat. I realised that I probably could force him, but that it would make life absolutely hellish if I had to do it every time for the foreseeable future. So I had a little think, and instead of forcing him, I let him loose in the car, put a trail of jelly tots from him to the car seat and made encouraging noises. It took about half an hour that day, but from then on he quite happily climbed in himself, I did up the straps and off we went. The whole thing became a non-issue when I stopped putting him into the car seat, and let him get in for himself.

It seemed to me fairly normal that as he got more competent and independent then it was fair enough to let him take control of the things he could do. I had no problem with forcing the issue when there was no other choice (hair washing, tooth brushing and medication come to mind) but in this case a bit of flexibility worked wonders. He is a hulking 13 year old now, a good six inches taller than I am. I still occasionally have to issue reminders about personal hygiene, but he gets into the car quite happily!

BalloonSlayer Wed 03-Jul-13 17:03:34

Well I did learn on a parenting course that the trick is to give choices, rather than yes/no questions, so the child finds themselves agreeing to do something without realising it.


Parent: Shall we put your coat on?
DC: Noooooo! Don't wanna wear a coat!

compare with

Parent: Do you want to put your coat on yourself or do you want me to do it?
DC: Me do it

By entering into the dialogue and answering the question, the child has agreed to put their coat on. And it gives them the feeling of control, which is what a lot of tantrums are about at that age.

so . . .

Parent: Time to go. Do you want to climb in your car seat by yourself or shall Mummy lift you in?

might work.

Luckily for me my DCs were a bit thick as toddlers and I remember saying to DS1 "Do you want to come here and put your shoes on or . . . um . . . do you want to come here and put your shoes on?" - and as luck would have it he chose to come to me and have his shoes put on as he hadn't worked out that both options were identical.

I do have to say though that the things you write about him: he'd probably nip through the gap between the front seats and start trying to drive the car and I got him a step he'd laugh at me and say 'really, mum? I have an option of getting in by myself or just wandering off?'. makes you sound really wishy-washy, like one of those parents that shrugs and says "well what can you do?" while their child trashes someone's house.

And the Is it just that I have a particularly independent child or does everyone else have placid compliant kids? made me wince. There is a third option - you have a NORMAL child whom you are letting walk all over you.

BrianTheMole Wed 03-Jul-13 17:06:59

Is it just that I have a particularly independent child or does everyone else have placid compliant kids?

Ermm no. My ds is extremely hard work. If I give him an inch he will take a mile. So he doesn't get that option.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 17:17:14

"like one of those parents that shrugs and says "well what can you do?" while their child trashes someone's house. "

no - I don't do this.

I might let him trash his own stuff a bit but not someone else's house or stuff.

OK, I've skimmed so might have missed this smile

Why do you always breastfeed him before putting him in his seat? To clarify, I have no issue with the bf, feed him till he's married for all it is to do with me wink but it's more the always doing x, y or z before he gets into his seat. It's like me saying I always give my daughter a biscuit or play This Little Piggy before I put her in her seat. Just means that sometimes I'm not in a position to do that and she'd kick up a fuss.

And you have my sympathies, they can be little sods at that age.

notcitrus Wed 03-Jul-13 18:22:10

Out of interest, as I suspect dd will be trying this shortly in a way ds never did, how do you get your knee into the child into the carseat? Do you bend over so your top half is in the car, standing in the footwell, or are most people capable of standing on one leg outside and getting the other knee into the seat?

I'm an expert at making a child get into a buggy with a knee if really necessary, but not cars.

TheSecondComing Wed 03-Jul-13 18:23:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Davsmum Wed 03-Jul-13 19:02:25

"I might let him trash his own stuff a bit but not someone else's house or stuff."

WHY do you let him trash his own stuff?!!

Do you mean mess it up or actually break it?

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 03-Jul-13 19:08:16

Sheshelob - Oh - and as for the advocate of bum smacking: get a fucking grip. Anyone who hits a toddler to teach them a lesson is a fucking moron My grip is well got thanks. I would have no problem giving with a smack on the bottom of a tantruming 2 year old who will not get in a car seat if I couldn't cajole/bribe or manhandle them into it, it stops them in their tracks and you can get them in the car seat. A smack on the bottom is not hitting them. It is a hell of a lot better than two hours of screaming. I suggest you Get A Grip. As for your 'Brilliant logic hmm' - yes, because of course a tap on the bottom to get their attention is just the same as being thrown out of a car. Of course it is. hmm

LesAnimaux Wed 03-Jul-13 19:10:23

Erm...I found a fist in the stomach quite effective. Probably too violent for you, though.

But I once couldn't collect DS1 from school because DS2 kept undoing his car seat buckle, and DH and I have both failed trying to get our cat into his cat basket. How can two grown adults not cat one small cat into a cat basket?

A smack on the bottom is not hitting them

Er yes it is. Let's not pretend now.

LesAnimaux Wed 03-Jul-13 19:30:13

Would a smack on the bottom actually get a child into a car seat? Wouldn't it just make a child more angry/stiff?

Knee/fist/head in the stomach is the way to go.

OP, if you were on your way to work, what would you have done? Would you have been two hours late for work?

combinearvester Wed 03-Jul-13 19:30:48

Oh I feel sorry for OP, she's never had this experience before and she admits she handled it badly.

OP he kicked off for 2 hours because he couldn't control his feelings and he was scared of his own craziness. He needed you to take control for him. e.g. 'You are getting in the carseat now. I will count to 3. If you are not in when I get to 3, I will make you get in'. Then if you get to 3 and he is not in, pick him up, hold him down with your leg/hand/whatever and click the little bugger in.

Tip for escaping straps - pull over asap. Say you are not going anywhere til he puts his arms back in. Then put your music up loud to drown out the screams. Eventually he will crack. The next time he does it do the same - he will give in much quicker. This works for my family for any kind of car misbehaviour. There is nothing more boring for a child than sitting in a car that's not going anywhere. Just make sure you have something to distract you e.g. music/book. And stop somewhere safe grin.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 03-Jul-13 19:32:04

Fist in the stomach sounds really violent grin as do knees in chests, but I know what posters mean. If you kind of pin them into place with your knee then they can't wriggle out and it gives you two hands to manhandle straps on. It doesn't mean boot them violently in the mid-area in order to wind them, it just sort of forces them into a sitting position rather than a back-arching one.

My mum once knelt on my shoulders (on a bed, so it didn't hurt) to pin me down and pulled a wobbly tooth out that I wouldn't shut up about. I screamed the street down and as soon as she touched the tooth, it fell out, didn't hurt at all. I immediately stopped screaming and said "Oh. Was that it?"

I promise you I am not scarred for life by being restrained by a parent.

LesAnimaux Wed 03-Jul-13 19:39:03

My mum once knelt on my shoulders (on a bed, so it didn't hurt) to pin me down and pulled a wobbly tooth out that I wouldn't shut up about.


You're mum is hard. Very hard. I would be scarred if I did that to my child.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 20:11:10

No no, sorry. I always breastfeed him in the car when I pick him up from a full day at nursery. I don't breastfeed him every time we use the car seat, that would clearly be madness.

It's usual for him to want to feed when he has been in nursery all day.

Yes I mean mess his stuff up, of course. No I don't let him rampage around our house breaking things.

I don't let him go to other people's houses and randomly mess about with their stuff.

I too am interested in exactly how you get a knee into a carseat.

grin I was thinking every time you got into the car after sainsburys you'd feed him. I seeeee, that makes more sense.

As you were!

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 20:16:43

And listen, I have stood at a self service queue in the supermarket with my toddler under my arm kicking and screaming as I packed and paid for my shopping, I have held my son firmly in my arms as he screamed and shouted that he wants to be let go. I am not adverse to a bit of child restraint at all. We are firm with him. I just got myself into a pickle in a new car with an extremely upset toddler while it pissed with rain outside and he screamed his head off worse than any time before.

Anyway, tonight I gave him the option of getting in Himself and promised him a chocolate finger and he was fine. Then we had a chat about what a big boy he is and how nice it is to be in the back where he can see much more stuff and he said 'look at me, i am here' and then fell asleep. Mission accomplished, thank you.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 03-Jul-13 20:24:49

grin LesAnimaux, she was a single parent and about to go on an extremely rare night out. I used to be practically phobic about my teeth and would keep them preciously still until they were hanging on by a thread. This one had been in the "thread stage" for about three days and I was dribbling, refusing to eat and unable to sleep or talk properly. She didn't want the babysitter to have to deal with it and she wasn't missing out on the night and I expect she was extremely fed up of my tooth! I only worked out the babysitter/single parent/etc issue later, she didn't explicitly tell me this at the time.

The adult tooth that replaced it is really wonky too so maybe I was wrong in letting it hang on so long. It was a particularly troublesome tooth.

As for how to get a knee in, the same way you do with a buggy on occasion when you have to. Not hard and not to hurt them, just sort of using your leg as an extra hand.

Just give him a big cuddle then hand him something to eat, preferably fiddly so he's concentrating on that then bam, into carseat before he knows it.

Sheshelob Wed 03-Jul-13 20:44:41

What else does this magical non-hitting hitting help you achieve, wired? Sleep? Meals? Bathtime? Quiet time while you practice hitting?

Were you hit, wired? And by hit I mean smacked. By which I mean hit.

LingDiLong Wed 03-Jul-13 21:16:01

Oh dear Social. You've taken some stick on here - and taken it very well. It is perfectly normal to resist the car seat at that age and to pull their arms out. My 3 year old used to do it and my just turned 2 year old mindee has just started. The method I use is to put them in bum first and then put my fist in between their legs where the buckle would be to keep them there. Your arm will keep them in place. Use your free hand to grab the straps and bring them together. Wait for a brief pause in the tantruming and stiffening and quickly remove the other hand and buckle them in. Tighten the straps quickly. It might take a few attempts but it's not violent at all and usually works. Once we've got to that stage (I usually try a bit of distraction and bribery first!) I don't engage with them at all, just battle on with grim determination!

My DD used to get her arms out too and that was a nightmare. She knew she had us by the short and curlies. We just had to keep pulling over and putting her arms back in. Eventually she just stopped doing it.

TanglednotTamed Wed 03-Jul-13 21:18:51

Well done OP!

And I am really shocked at the poster who is advocating smacking a 2 year old. V unpleasant.

lougle Wed 03-Jul-13 21:41:08

There's an easy technique with no knees:

Loosen straps fully.

Put child in seat.

Put arms through and clip up, but don't attempt to tighten straps.

>>>>child flailing, screaming, bucking etc.

Wait until child draws breath. They have to eventually. Wait it out.

As soon as they draw breath, a quick but gentle push in the tummy with one hand, while pulling strap quickly and fully with the other.

Job done.

Takes about a minute.

My DD with SN was an absolute legend for this behaviour, but even she had to draw breath eventually.

SocialConstruct Wed 03-Jul-13 21:49:58

How do you hold them in the seat though? My ds slis down off the seat and Ito the well and with the straps totall loose he would have the space to do so.

Maybe I am just a bit rubbish at the car seat technique!

lougle Wed 03-Jul-13 21:53:03

I used to block her waist with my forearm while I waited, so I was holding her in the seat. If that failed, I would put one foot in the car and block her with my knee between her legs (not making contact unless she slid down, then the contact was only enough to stop her sliding further - no pushing my knee into her).

I didn't have the luxury of patience, to be honest. Busy car park, 2 under 3 and pregnant. Safety was the priority. Her ego came second.

KateShmate Wed 03-Jul-13 22:16:03

It is just a phase OP, honestly! Once they get to 3 or so, they realise that they are going to have to get in the car either way, so they may as well do it. At 2 they still think you are going to give in and they'll get their own way.
Once something like this has happened, I think it's quite hard for you to think that he's not going to do it again, and therefore every time you go to put him in the car, you are subconsciously super anxious and half walking on egg-shells trying not to do anything that might provoke Ironing Board Toddler to make an entrance smile The key is to stay calm and firm - no 'shall we go and get in the car seat...' - but 'Off we go! Into your carseat!' and then just some gentle persuasion on the way, e.g. 'Ooh once we get home we'll be able to watch a DVD/get a snack' etc. At no point should you doubt yourself, otherwise he'll pick up on it and play up! "There's a little surprise in your carseat...!" also works pretty well sometimes!

Definitely no need for hitting children or any other kind of violence in the car - I had 5 children under 3yrs, and trust me I had many, many ironing-board toddlers, and have never felt the need to smack them. If your DS is in such a rage that is has gone on for 2 hours, but hitting him, he is not suddenly going to turn around and think 'Hmm.. mummy's right. My tantrum has gone too far now, I think I'll get in the car!' - it's going to add a huge amount of fuel to the fire and put you in a worse situation!
Knee acting as a barrier doesn't hurt them - 'kneeling' on them isn't really the right way to explain it - your knee doesn't even need to touch them unless they move, but a PP explained it well by saying that it's simply a barrier.
Good luck OP smile

3boys3dogshelp Wed 03-Jul-13 22:16:43

I completely agree with pp who talked about giving 2 options, either of which gets you what you want. That method has worked wonders for my son who used to have big tantrums. So 'do you want to wear blue or black coat?' Gets everyone out much faster than 'put your coat on' in my house.
With the car seat problem I used to put a little toy in my bag, lift into car seat then give toy to hold while I fastened straps.
I don't disagree with people who restrain using a knee - I did that with my pushchair but I have a bad back and big boys and I just can't force them in the car, it hurts me!

3boys3dogshelp Wed 03-Jul-13 22:19:05

Btw completely normal and just a phase!

Didactylos Wed 03-Jul-13 22:38:58

lougle - your wait til they breath technique reminds me of putting the saddle on our particularly recalcitrant pony as a child!

lougle Wed 03-Jul-13 22:46:49

There's a definite knack, Didactylos, isn't there? If you miss the window, you have to start again!

BrianTheMole Wed 03-Jul-13 23:24:47

How do you hold them in the seat though? My ds slis down off the seat and Ito the well and with the straps totall loose he would have the space to do so.

hand pushing down on the car seat between legs. Stops then heading into the footwell.

BrianTheMole Wed 03-Jul-13 23:25:10


defineme Wed 03-Jul-13 23:37:04

A knee on the chest isn't cruel-it's just an extra restraining limb like an arm. I have twins and a 2 yrolder ds:i often held onto one between my legs whilst putting a wriggler into a car seat.
You weren't crap, but you did misjudge how much talking to/explaining a 2 yrold needs and how, in the long run, they'll be happier if you (non violently) shove them in and get on with the the day.
|This is normal.
You were a bit of twonk, but we've all done something stupid when it's taken us by surprise.

trixymalixy Wed 03-Jul-13 23:39:06

Tickling always worked for me when they tried the stiff as a board trick. You do need to be firm and the resistance was just a phase that hey got over eventually.

RandallPinkFloyd Wed 03-Jul-13 23:54:31

Nothing to add but reading this thread just reminded me of this

Thought it may lighten the mood!

wannabeawallaby Thu 04-Jul-13 00:22:45

Over two hours! shockshockshock

amyboo Thu 04-Jul-13 07:10:23

I'm amazed how you can possibly take 2 hours to put a 2.5 year old in a car seat. I'm all in favour of a bit of bribery for some things, but certainly not bribery using sweets/chocolate, nor for something as mundane as getting in a car seat. DS1 is 3.5 and would happily behave like an idiot on that kind of thing if I let him. Instead, as others have suggested, on the odd occassion that it's been needed, I have wrestled him into the seat/buggy. With the buggy, I only ever had to do it once ad he got the message. It's not violence or hurting your child, it's parenting and showing them who's boss. Wilful 2.5 year olds turn into wilful 3 year olds, so if you don't deal with this kind of behaviour now it will just get worse...

mummytime Thu 04-Jul-13 08:01:28

Sorry but there is too much cajoling and bribing, here.

I used to use knee in chest if I had to, but a major technique (which you had plenty of time for if it took you two hours) is ignoring. So make all passers by go away, and sit down with a book or my phone while waiting for them to sit nicely. No interaction. Then when they get bored, sit them in seat, tighten the straps and go.

If anyone came out of their straps we pulled over ASAP until everyone was safe again. (DH wasn't as good at that and would/will drive off before everyone is strapped in safely, it annoys me.)

Just don't fight.

If it is that easy to wriggle out, you might like to get it double checked, Halfords?

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 04-Jul-13 08:20:08

grin Randall

Also this!

RandallPinkFloyd Thu 04-Jul-13 08:56:12


SocialConstruct Thu 04-Jul-13 09:52:35

RE the wriggling out - it's not easy. He contorts and squirms and eventually gets his arms out occasionally. The other night the straps were loosened.

Yes, thank you, I know two hours is too long. Thankfully he's been fine getting in ever since. It was just the one time, not a regular thing. He went ape-shit, once. It's fine now smile.

SocialConstruct Thu 04-Jul-13 09:53:59

and... honestly, I KNOW I am not the only person with a kid who can get out of very tightly tightened straps.

SocialConstruct Thu 04-Jul-13 09:59:01

Those cartoons made me laugh, and feel less alone. Thank you smile

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 04-Jul-13 10:04:03

This is how they do it

All children can get out because all children can suck their stomachs in and create a gap.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 04-Jul-13 10:05:23

I realise it's a marketing website advertising their own product, but they seem to have nailed the problem IMO.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 04-Jul-13 10:07:29

^ There you go, that's better than the video. I was looking for that page but it doesn't seem to be linked from their home page confused

RandallPinkFloyd Thu 04-Jul-13 10:14:20

(Mine's a noodler, becomes completely limp like some sort of maggot. Kids are weird. Fact.)

sesamechoc Sun 07-Jul-13 03:04:20


Can't sleep cos so hot so looking through mn and this is my 2nd almost identical posting to a different post - I cannot recommend Alfie Kohn's unconditional parenting enough. We've been doing i with our 2 boys 6 1/2 and nearly 3 since ds2 was born and the boys are thriving and we're enjoying parenting.It only takes 2 -3 days to read...

ZenGardener Sun 07-Jul-13 03:19:51

I haven't read the whole thread but I wondered about trying one of those DVD players on the back of the seat? I'd do that and a small snack but then again I'm one if those useless, insipid mothers too ;)

For what it's worth they do grow out of this phase.

MummyPig24 Sun 07-Jul-13 07:43:07

The thing is, when toddlers are angry, they are so unbelievably strong! I agree bribery or just force them in, knee in the stomach and in they go. As the carseat is really non negotiable it has to be like that.

CheungFun Sun 07-Jul-13 08:23:37

Honestly I don't know how you had the patience to try and persuade your son into a car seat for two hours!

If DS is mid tantrum and arching backwards and I need to get him strapped into the car seat or the buggy, I try to put him in once, if he arches backwards, I get him back out so he stops arching and thrust him into the seat as quickly as possible before he has a chance to arch backwards again, then I use one arm across his front to block him into the seat whilst I use my other arm to get his arms into the straps and buckled in. I find speed is of the essence - do it before they can wriggle more!

If DS also messes around with teeth brushing, nappy changing, nail clipping, eye drops etc., if I need to I will 'sit' on him pinning his arms between my legs, so that I have two free hands to do what is needed. Obviously I'm not putting my whole body weight on a toddler, but using my legs to keep him still instead of my arms.

I always try to make things fun and give DS lots of praise first, then I would try distraction, but if I need to use force then I will if it's necessary and a 'non-negotiable' thing as above.

Hillsnearby Mon 08-Jul-13 11:47:47

I agree with the tickling suggesting and catching him by surprise with some unexpected tickling/silly noises from mummy/singing&tickling game etc.

My 2 year old doesn't want to get in his car seat about 50% of the time, usually when he is tired or he doesn't want to leave where we are.

Tickling to distraction works every time, also when I need to put him in the pushchair and want to avoid the inevitable tantrum that comes with this, I tickle him and play some sort of singing/tickle game and this settles him in the pushchair so we can go.

pinkpanther79 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:03:21

Hi Social,
Sorry I don't have time to read it all but I have the same problem with my 18 month old kicking off in car seat after nursery. I have used force, but she gets one arm out when I try to get the other in, arches her back and so I know what you mean about how they can wriggle so much that you can be scared of hurting them to match their strength.

I haven't tried bribery (might tomorrow) but I have found a short (5mins) walk/mummy time helps them to reconnect to you. I have tears when I put her in the car seat now, but not the full on fight. They seem to know when you want to get home and get on and choose that moment to really play up don't they?

Good luck. Sounds like you are doing a fab job.

matana Mon 08-Jul-13 21:07:59

I had something like this about a month ago. Tried letting him get in himself but he began wandering around the back seats instead. Tried bribery, persuasion, threats before finally resorting to force.... and I hated myself for it. But all else had failed and this was the only realistic way. Anyway, it happened a week or so later, full on tantrum etc. After I had managed, somehow, to get him into his carseat I slammed the door in a strop and somehow managed to lock my keys, my purse, my phone and my ds in the car. It took 40 mins to rescue him, courtesy of the AA. Next time he began being awkward I simply said "Ds, do you remember what happened the last time you did this and I struggled with you?" He instantly sat his bum down! It also now works to do "one, two...right, three!" On 'three' he quickly sits down, or does whatever it is I'm trying to get him to do.

Shelby2010 Mon 08-Jul-13 22:24:17

We went through this stage, especially when tired. It's the 'I do MYSELF' thing. I now let her climb onto the back seat on the other side and shut the door. The game is that she has to climb across & into her seat before I can run round to strap her in. If it's not safe to do this then we 'agree' that I'll put her in the seat but she can climb out by herself when we get home.

sesamechoc Tue 09-Jul-13 00:25:15

Got the thing below from a website. Although it's american so a bit cheesy, it's not rubbish and "wouldn't work in the real world" as we always do this with our nearly 3yo ds2. When he doesn't want to go into his car seat, we ask why not and he invariably says because I want to play with the buttons. So we say ok, tell me when you're ready but we do have to go soon as need to cook dinner etc. He plays with buttons and then after a while he says ok, will go into carseat now. Unbelievably the longest we've ever had to wait is 7 minutes. The 1st time we did it when my DP was struggling to strap him in we couldn't believe it...

We walk to most things where time is an issue like school etc but if we're just going out somewhere, and there is no time urgency, we do this. Whenever I feel extremely frustrated with my dc, I try to think how I would treat a friend I was out with who didn't want to leave at the same time as me....

An “Unconditional Surrender”

I remember a particularly stress-filled evening when my first child, Olivia, was two years old and she refused to get in her carseat. We were on our way home after an all-day excursion and had just stopped at a gas station. My wife and I were exhausted and we just didn’t have the energy for a struggle.

But old habits die hard, and I struggled anyway, eventually trying to force her into the carseat. And she — bless her fiery heart — would have none of it! She fought with every fiber of her being to uphold her dignity, until I finally gave up. I surrendered. But I was not defeated; I simply realized that I could have a much better time doing anything other than fighting my beloved child.

So I relaxed and told her she didn’t have to get in the carseat. I decided that I was willing to wait patiently in that parking lot until she was ready to buckle up and go, voluntarily. I told myself, “I don’t need conditions to change in order to feel peace now,” and I looked for something — anything — more pleasant to focus on.

My solution was to rest my chin on the steering wheel and indulge in the simple pleasure of people-watching — there were plenty of interesting people coming and going about the gas station. (This isn’t rocket science! Just reach for any thought that brings relief or feels better when you think it.)

Meanwhile, my daughter, feeling the shift from resistance to freedom and lightness, dawdled and tinkered with the various knobs and buttons in the car for about three minutes. Then she climbed into her carseat and let me buckle her in without protest.

I believe this rapid return to peace was, in part, due to the fact that I was willing to wait “forever” — meaning, I was totally focused in the present. In other words, my unconditionality gave her the space and time she needed to find her own way. And with that sense of freedom, we both found a way that was in accord with our shared desire for peace, freedom, and respect.

My story illustrates the paradox in which unconditionality leads to positive changes in conditions, but it doesn’t work if your intent is merely to change the conditions! You’ve got to make a commitment to unconditionality for its own sake — because you want the power to enjoy life under any conditions.

Our children give us ample opportunities to practice this, and sometimes they persist with undesired behaviors until we get it. It’s as if they’re saying, “Mom, Dad... I’d really like to go along with you, but I’m going to wait until you’ve let go of the idea that I have to change for you to feel okay... I don’t want to deprive you of the wonderful feeling of knowing where your well-being really comes from.”

Unconditionality empowers you to create what you want from the inside out, while conditionality requires change from the outside in. When you truly shift inside, you can taste the deliciousness of well-being instantly, and any subsequent outer change is just icing on the cake.

MiaowTheCat Tue 09-Jul-13 08:54:37

OK - how the fuck do you all get your knees up to carseat level? Seriously - my car isn't THAT high off the ground but I struggle getting my legs up to even sit in the front seat - let alone even contemplate getting a knee up to the level the kids are in carseats at! Are you like gymnasts or something?!

I find having my car keys hanging out of my mouth (like normal from the lack of hands) is sufficient distraction for DD1 to be desperately trying to grab and steal them for me to be able to get her locked in and loaded up.

LingDiLong Tue 09-Jul-13 14:18:45

Sesame, it's a very good tactic to use, but I think that whole American article wittering on about 'conditionality' could be summoned up with 'toddlers are contrary'. If they think you want them to do something they won't, the minute you feign nonchalance they'll go ahead and do what you wanted them to do!

SocialConstruct Tue 09-Jul-13 15:08:51

Thanks for the continuing suggestions. Happy to report that we've not had a repeat and no need for knees, slaps or tickling.

Reading through Sesame's post and I realise that I have always done this kind of thing with DS, mostly because I have always breastfed him on pick up so we have had some time every evening sitting in the car doing a bit of twiddling and catching up. He gets his fill of noodling about in the car most nights and I am pretty relaxed about that. Something just went wrong on that particular day I think.

LapinDeBois Thu 11-Jul-13 21:46:48

Haven't read whole thread so may be repeating. I've recently read 'Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting' and, while I don't accept everything the book says, it did help me solve a similar car seat issue. The theory for this type of issue is 'descriptive praise' - which in practice means that you praise your child for every tiny thing they do in the right direction (or even the things they don't quite get wrong). So, with DS2 (who took an age to get in his seat, and the whole thing would end with the knee in the chest and the tantrums and tears) I started with things like 'Oh, your foot's near the door already, well done!', and then 'Oh, you've stopped crying about getting in the car because you've paused to draw breath', or 'Well done, one of your legs is already inside the car'. When he EVENTUALLY got into the seat I'd say 'Well done, you're already in!', or 'Wow, you got in without me asking you too many times'. It sounds really sappy, and for a while I thought I was just completely pandering to him (and I'm seriously not a pandering type of mum). But hey presto, after a couple of weeks of this, I now open the car door and he climbs straight in (ok, he occasionally needs a small prompt, but not normally). And he'll often say something like, 'Look mummy, I got in all by myself without you asking'. It was seriously magic.

cory Sat 13-Jul-13 18:40:55

I found if you choose exactly the same moment it doesn't take that much force to push their bottom back- you shouldn't need a knee. Basically, when they are screaming they run out of breath, and for a split second while they are catching their breath they have to relax their stomach muscles. Catch that moment and just push them in.

I wonder how that Unconditional Surrender quoted by sesamechoc would have coped if she had an older sibling sobbing desperately by her side in that car part because she knew her nativity play was about to start. Or an elderly grandparent who would be late for her doctor's appointment. Or was in the house of her child's playdate with the other family desperate to get rid of her because they had to leave for somewhere important. I had a friend like this: it took her nearly an hour to get out of our house after a playdate and she seemed totally unphased by this. I otoh waited a long time before I invited them again... Because I didn't feel the only thing that mattered was that the other parent should be allowed to savour the deliciousness of wellbeing: I thought my wellbeing and my dd's wellbeing mattered just as much.

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