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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?

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

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