Experts: 'Reward system' for toddlers can keep them safer in car seats

Experts: 'Reward system' for toddlers can keep them safer in car seats

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Toddlers with busy hands may learn how to unbuckle their booster seats, putting themselves in danger while traveling in a moving vehicle.

Sgt. James Anderson with the Louisiana State Police says there are things parents can do to prevent this situation.

"One thing you may try is stopping the vehicle. Don't proceed until the child is willing to be harnessed back into the seat," Anderson said.

A simple tip he recommends is to keep the child distracted throughout the whole car ride.

"Take advantage of electronic distractions that are out there. Kids seem to be fascinated with cell phones, tablets, leapfrogs, those types of electronic distractions. Use those to help keep the child in the seat," Anderson said.

Another tip Anderson suggests is providing incentives for obedient behavior.

"Another thing you can do is create a reward system. Provide candy, a toy, maybe coins in a cup that the child can spend once they've accumulated enough as a reward for staying harnessed in the car seat," Anderson said.

If all else fails, Anderson recommends getting a buckle guard that will physically prevent the child from removing the harness.

And no matter how fussy or uncooperative a child may get, he says it's crucial to leave the child restrained.

"Unbuckling the child temporarily is never a good idea. The child is just that, the child and you're the adult. And you have to be the adult in that situation and you have to assert your control. I know sometimes that's easier said than done when you're child is screaming and not being cooperative but try some of the strategies we discussed earlier," Anderson said.

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