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When I was six years old I remember struggling with putting on backseat car belts.

We have a Mazda 6 - and the 'autolock' feature of the belts means you have to apply constant pressure to keep pulling it out all the way, and if you stop, it locks, and you have to put it all the way back in.

My son struggles with this, because he will pause pulling it down, and doesn't have the patience to push it all the way back up and start again.

I had a similar issue as a child. Surely other people have seen this with their children. Right now I stand at the open door, pull down the belt and hold it having pulled it out fully whilst he clicks it in.

(My eight-year-old daughter has never really had an issue in the eight years we've had the car, either due to greater patience or dexterity or something.)

My question is: My 6-year-old son struggles with his 'safety lock' car seat belt - is there anything I can help him with this?

EDIT:

  • It turns out changing from the left hand side of the car to the right hand side makes a massive difference - presumably a left-hand right-hand coordination thing. (He is right handed).
  • In watching, the reason he pauses is to move his hand up the belt after having extended his reach, but during the 'pause' he releases pressure and the auto-lock kicks in. He hasn't quite got the mental model that you have to keep applying the pressure to keep it coming down.
  • Is he trying to do it one-handed? Does he have the same problem if he's sitting on the other side of the car? (I"m wondering about handedness) – mkennedy Jan 14 '18 at 2:17
  • My son is 7 and simply had to learn patience to work through the problem. It helped when we moved him to the other side of the car for a while (handedness) – pojo-guy Jan 14 '18 at 20:54
  • Have you watched closely to note why he pauses? – user26011 Jan 16 '18 at 21:37
  • That autolock "feature" was a thing in my VW Golf too, but only for the outermost part of the belt -- and let me tell you, a 40-year-old can also struggle with this! (My end solution: buy a Volvo...) – KlaymenDK Feb 16 '18 at 8:16
  • I'm 65 and struggle with the d#@! seat belt locks on my new car. – anongoodnurse Mar 31 '18 at 17:09
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My son struggled with this in the back seat of both of our cars. It's an annoying feature, but it definitely adds some peace of mind for seat belt security.

What we ended up showing him was to pull a bunch of slack out at first, like he's rolling out a hose from a spindle. Once he felt he had enough slack to buckle his belt, he held the slack and then buckled the belt. Once the belt was secure, he would let go of the slack and it would slide back into a tight position.

It takes some training and you'll have to show him how a couple of times but this method prevented a lot of frustrations before going on car rides.

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