Lots of parents have had the moment when you are driving along, glance at your little one and they’re having the time of their life on the back seat – with their arms in the air and out of the straps! So what can you do when your little one develops this habit?
Be sure to remove any coats or puffy jackets and snowsuits – These thick items of clothing create a gap between your child and the harness, making it super easy for them to wriggle out!
Check the strap height – The straps should be level with your little one’s shoulders, at the point where the straps come out of the seat. If you can’t get the straps quite level, they may dip slightly below when rear facing, and sit just above the shoulders when forward facing.
Make sure the straps are tight enough – Pull the harness tight, and do the ‘dual test’. This is: ensuring you can fit no more than 2 fingers between your child and the harness at collar bone level, then check that you cannot pinch the harness strap together.
If you have done the above, and your child still escapes, you may want to try an aftermarket product designed to block the gap they get their arms out of.
The 5 point plus is a fully crash tested and approved anti escape device, which is also recommended by child seat manufacturers. It is a long piece of breathable fabric which sits behind your child, and comes under their arms to wrap around the straps. This then blocks the gap that they are getting their arms through to wriggle free.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding chest clips in the UK. It is currently illegal to sell a child car seat in the UK, with a chest clip as part of the child seat. This is because our approval requirements state that a child must be released from the child seat in one movement. However, this does not apply to aftermarket products, and you can legally fit an aftermarket chest clip to your child’s car seat.
If you do choose to use a chest clip it is very important to check the following points:
That the clip safely and securely fits to the harness straps – it must not interfere with the placement of the chest pads on your child’s car seat.
The chest clip MUST sit at your child’s armpit level. It is very dangerous to get this wrong.
Once your child has broken the habit of wriggling their arms out, remove the chest clip.
If nothing else works, you may need to buy your child a different child car seat. For children very determined to escape the harness, or for those that really dislike it, an impact shield car seat is an alternative.
These can be better for children who often escape, as there is no 5 point harness in the seat to restrain them. Instead they are restrained with an ‘impact shield’, which is placed over them, and the adult belt is placed over the shield to secure the child.
These seats often cover group stage 1,2,3, and will convert to be a high back booster, so it will be the last seat you need to buy your child.