By Kristin Varela on October 28, 2013
If you're a parent, chances are you've cursed your car, or someone else's, for those dang-nabbit floppy seatbelt buckle receptors. They're a pain in the butt for young children trying to buckle up on their own, which of course makes life harder on mom and dad.
Have you ever had to drape yourself over one child buckled up in the outboard position in order to reach the buckle for the child in the center position, which has now flopped and wiggled itself underneath a booster seat, becoming completely inaccessible? The only solution is to undo a Tetris-like backseat of kids, child seats and seatbelts. Do I sound frustrated? I am! Meghan Khaitan, another frustrated carpooling mom of three, has also had enough and is developing a solution.The MyBuckleMate is a simple two-part plastic tool that snaps together around a floppy buckle, turning it into a rigid buckle that is easy for kids use independently — the way it should have been built into the car in the first place.
While I have a successfully working prototype in my kids' grubby little backseat hands, Khaitan needs to raise some funds to get through the first production run before you can buy one yourself. She just launched a campaign on the popular crowd-funding site, Indiegogo, to try to reach her $10,000 goal in 40 days. Once that happens, you can purchase a pair of your own MyBuckleMates from Khaitan's website for $13.99 to help end your family's car drama (at least related to floppy buckles — she doesn't claim to be able to help with the rest of it).
According to Khaitan, "Buckling up is something you can never take for granted. Children buckle up because their parents do. We're all busy, but just because we're running late doesn't mean we should cut corners. If we can give kids independence to buckle on their own to develop safe consistent habits, the better off we all are." Well said.
Let's all pitch in to help the MyBuckleMate make it to market, and fast. I don't think I can take another morning of carpooling car Tetris.
Senior Family Editor Kristin Varela blends work and family life by driving her three tween-teen girls every which way in test cars. Email Kristin