Uh-oh. Its finally happened: your little one has decided they no longer need to sit in a car seat or booster. We have all heard the complaints and appeals; “BUT MOM car seats are for babies, they aren’t cool, my friends are allowed to wear just a seatbelt!” Here are some tips to help you convince that not-so-grown-up kiddo that a car seat is where they are safest:

Tips and Tricks to Explain Why They Need to Stay in their Car Seat

  • Explain to your child exactly what happens in the event of a crash. While it may be an abstract concept still, it may help for them to know they are at risk of getting “some pretty big boo-boos” if they are not in their seat.
  • Make it fun! Let your child be in charge of making sure everyone in the vehicle is safely buckled up.
  • Set an example and always, always, always wear your seatbelt!
  • Never let your child ride without their seat, even for a few blocks. Knowing that the rule can be negotiable will make them more likely to try and negotiate on future, longer trips.
  • If you are moving up a seat, let your child pick their own pattern or fabric. Having a seat they actually like makes it easier to follow the rules!
  • Make sure your child knows they can’t go anywhere without being buckled up in their seat. Their seat may be more appealing if they know that they can’t go to the park without getting into it!
  • Make sure your child still fits into their seat and they are not being pinched or squeezed!
  • Make it “cool to be safe!”

At the end of the day, you are the parent and you make the rules. Your kids might not understand it now, but someday they’ll appreciate the concern and love you had for them by keeping in their car seat longer. My son lost his “car seats aren’t cool” battle the other day, but as a compromise, he got to choose a new spot in the vehicle to install his seat. Everybody wins when you’re being safe.

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