Any parent’s worst nightmare is an escape artist.

But what most parents might not be aware of, is how dangerous it actually is when your child is not wearing their harness correctly, maybe not even wearing it at all – like in the picture above.

So what is the big deal you might ask? Maybe you’re confident they are safe because they are still technically strapped into the seat and isn’t crawling in the foot-well?
The answer is NO they are not safe.

And this is why… This is crash test footage of what happens when a child has escaped the harness.  The harness is no longer on the shoulders, but around the waist, the risk of serious head and abdominal injury is extremely high, even death becomes a reality.


So what can I do??

First of all, you need to make sure that your child is correctly buckled into their car seat. There are two simple rules to follow, and by following them, many times that is enough.

  1. The car seat harness is correctly placed on the shoulders and at the correct harness height according to your car seat manual. For rear facing car seats this will usually be at or slightly below the shoulders, but for forward facing use the harness must come from at or slightly above the shoulders.
  2. The harness needs to be nice and snug, close and flat against the body with no twists! You should not be able to fit more than two fingers under the harness at the collar-bone. A loose harness is very dangerous and the child risks being evicted out of the car seat in the event of a sudden stop or in a crash which may lead to serious injury – even death.

Nice and snug harness.



But it’s not working!

If neither of the above is working, then you need to invest in an anti-escape device. The two I recommend (because they are crash tested) are the ‘BeSafe Belt Collector’ and the ¨5-Point Plus’. Both are widely available online as well as in-store. 

How they work:

The ‘BeSafe belt collector’ is a simple plastic “clip” that is slid onto the harness, it is fully legal and crash tested.



Watch my video below:




The 2nd is the ‘5-Point Plus’ anti-escape device. Unlike the belt collector, it goes behind the child and wraps around the harness where it fastens with velcro. It completely “walls off” the sides of the harness that the child is using to put their arms through, making escape impossible.



Watch the videos below to see how it works:




I hope this was educational and helped you out!



LinkingUP this week to #TwinklyTuesday - #wineandboobs - #sharewithme - #MMBH - #PoCoLo - #KCACOLS
Therese has completed the ‘Advanced Child Car Seat Training Course’ at TRL (Transport Research Lab) and is a CPD accredited car seat expert. She blogs about in-car safety, car seats, tips, reviews, give-aways and advice. She’s a mum on a mission to change the law and raise awareness. She is also a breast feeding advocate and gentle parenting promoter who loves cloth nappies, baby-wearing, BLW and co-sleeping/bed-sharing.

32 thoughts on “Is Your Child Escaping the Car Seat Harness?

  1. This is such an important message, thankyou for this video. Love your blog (and have followed)
    Also a lover of cloth, baby wearing and all things eco-friendly! x

    • Hi CCE thanks for your comment! Means a lot, thanks so much I’m glad you find it useful!
      Speaking of baby wearing I’ve got a Toddler Mei Tai on holiday in the house for the week, so expect a post on that! haha

    • Hey Kellie! Thanks for commenting, I’m glad you found it useful, it is indeed a very important message!
      I am aware of the Houdini strap, but as I have not seen any crash data for the product, I can not recommend it.

    • Hi Sarah thank’s for commenting. I’m glad you found it useful, it’s such an important message to get out there. My eldest is also out of crs but I am still “mental” as he calls it on him wearing the seatbelt correct etc hehe.

  2. Kids can be such a worry when it comes to car safety, especially if you have a wriggly one. Luckily my kids were always pretty good when it came to staying put in their car seats. My challenge was getting my son to stop pulling the safety covers out of electric sockets. Even the supposedly ‘child proof’ ones posed no challenge for him! Tx
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    • Thanks for your positive comment Linda.
      Now that you know you can share with others that might have the same problem.

  3. I am SO paranoid with the car seat, Zach is strapped in as tightly as I can get him in! I see so many pictures on Facebook of kids in their car seats with loose straps and it just riles me up! For the same reason I don’t ever put him in the car with a coat on! I see so many people doing that too. I think a lot of people have no idea about car seat safety so thanks for sharing this and thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
    Lisa (mummascribbles) would like you to read…Blowing DandelionsMy Profile

    • Glad to hear it! It’s so so important. Please also check out my newest post on twisted harness and how to fix it.

  4. Great advice and information here. MM just started trying to take her arms out of it and I need to readjust her straps so she can’t do that and be much safer. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me I hope you are enjoying my blog hop and thanks for all the linky support! #sharewithme
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  5. I’m actually pretty interested to know how kids are doing this. Can they just unbuckle and slip out? Or are they able to loosen the straps? My car seat has the thing to loosen the straps under the fabric and it’s a pain to reach. So there’s no way my kid could do it, for starters his fingers aren’t long enough and he’ll be long out of the seat before they are. But simply pressing the button he can do, he just doesn’t do it. I caught him trying once and told him no, he hasn’t messed with it since. But at some point he’ll either forget, or just become defiant and he’s big enough to succeed now.

    Granted I’m not super worried about it becoming an ongoing issue. This kid doesn’t try to escape his crib and if I leave a gate open he’ll rush over and slam it shut- all while shaking his head. He’s a weird kid. But even still, all he needs is to free himself the once and have us get into an accident that trip. So I’d like to avoid him getting free in the first place.

    • A correctly fitted car seat with a correctly fitted child in the car seat will do it’s job yes. I’m glad you find my guides and tips helpful!
      Obviously some car seats will be better than others because of superior crash testing results etc – and rear facing will always be safer than forward facing.
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    • Thanks so much!
      They are really good. We’ve used the belt collect from time to time when necessary. Simple – cheap and saves a life.

    • Yes Cosatto have implemented the 5 point plus into their seats now. Which is great! I do see some mis-use of it though like it being crumpled up completely etc. So just make sure to always drag it flattened so it’s nice and flat/smooth.

  6. This post is super useful! I have this problem with both my daughters. Well now that my eldest is 6 she doesn’t do this anymore but she did it A LOT. And now my little one that is only 2, she does this every day. I am very worried because she will consistently be trying to escape. I will check those products out and will purchase one for sure. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS, x
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    • It is a really dangerous problem yes – but these products will usually help. Just make sure that her harness is coming from at or above her shoulders as I am presuming she is forward facing? And that her harness is correctly fitted on her body. And now that it’s getting cold – no heavy coats in the car seats (that goes for us adults as well!) as this compromises the harness fit and in the event of an accident the child can get ejected from the seat – which is very scary to see (there are some videos on YouTube showing this in a crash test).

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