On any car trip that we take as a family, for any duration, it may be the case that children try to unfasten the harness of their seat, or even take off their seatbelt, or fasten it themselves.
The reasons are multiple, from feeling uncomfortable to they feel like experimenting, or wanting to challenge their parents' authority. The consequences of any of these acts are unpredictable, and they are putting themselves at an unacceptable risk.
For this reason, many parents resort to devices which are designed so that the child does not remove the seatbelt. Although these devices are for sale in specialized stores, either physical or online, we must very carefully investigate whether or not they are suitable for our car seat and for the child and, especially, if these devices are duly approved and recommended as suitable by the seat manufacturer.
Only approved devices and accessories should be used
The devices and accessories that we find online and in physical stores may, or may not, be approved for our car seat. Even when approved, we must take precautions when buying these items. The DGT warns that many car seat accessories are on the edge of being illegal.
This means that they do not break the law, but they do not exactly conform to current regulations. In addition, it may be the case that the manufacturers of these devices perform their own, non-standard tests on their products.
Seat accessories cannot modify their anchoring or the fastenings. Any accessory that does so contravenes current regulations. The aforementioned magazine lists four devices for sale that are not suitable for use, explaining the reasons.
One example is the 5Point Plus Anti Escape model, which fits with zippers on the safety harness of the child seat. The DGT warns that “it makes it difficult for the child to pull their arms out, but does not avoid it completely” and that it is "approved only for Cosatto Hug Isofix". This means that it does not work for the rest of the chairs analyzed, and also does not work very well.
Another example is the Storchenbeck Auto BeltLock Stop. This is a plastic cover that is placed above the belt closure which contravenes ECE R44.
Therefore, it is difficult to rely entirely on these types of devices unless we find them specifically designed for our chair and properly approved. The best thing we can do is to educate our children about how to sit safely in the car seat, and not to forget about the correct placement of this, as well as to adjust the harnesses and seat belt.