Wondering how to fix a stuck car seat? You have come to the right place. Whether the seat won’t come off of the base, the buckle is jammed, or you can’t seem to adjust the recline, this article has got you covered.
We will cover all types of car seat issues and how to fix a car seat, so you and your little one can get back on the road!
There are many ways in which a car seat can get stuck. Sometimes the car seat adjustment mechanism gets stuck, other times the buckle won’t unlatch, and occasionally it won’t detach from its base.
The first step in fixing your stuck car seat is checking your seat owner’s manual. Many times the manual may contain troubleshooting options that can help you free your seat.
At the very least, the manual should contain diagrams that can help you pinpoint the problem on your particular seat.
Once you have familiarized yourself with your car seat, navigate to the sections below to find help for your specific problem!
Wondering how to remove a car seat from the base? First, check that your base is actually removable. Infant car seats have removable bases. Convertible car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats do not have a removable base.
If you have an infant car seat, first make sure the infant seat carrying handle is in the carry position. This involves raising the handle all the way up, usually by pressing the release buttons on either side of the seat.
Once the handle is in the upright position, locate the seat/base release. This is usually a button or a lever that you must compress. It is found on the car seat and not the base. Its location is commonly behind the child’s head on the back of the seat or near their feet.
Make sure you compress the release completely in order to remove car seat from base. As you do this, lift the seat up off of the base. You may need to gently wiggle it a bit. It can be helpful to have your base either secured to the car or held by another person. The car seat should come away from the base.
If it does not, set it back into position on the base and let go of the release button. Make sure the car seat is properly positioned in the base, pressing down to make sure it is attached. Then, press the release very firmly and try again.
It is best to do this with your child outside of the seat. Never forcefully rip or jerk the seat off of the base as you risk damaging both parts.
If your buckle is jammed and your child is in the seat, don’t panic. You should be able to loosen the straps at the top of the harness and get your child out of the seat. You want your little one to be removed from the seat before you work on the buckle.
It is best to take the car seat out of the car when your buckle is stuck, you will see why in a minute. Step one is to try and firmly press down on your buckles release button, it is usually red. When you press on the release pull the buckle away from the straps. If it doesn’t unlatch, there may be debris stuck inside the buckle.
Read your car seat manual to make sure you can submerge your buckle in water. If the manufacturer permits this, soak your car seat buckle in warm water with a little soap. Try to avoid getting the straps wet at all costs as this could impair their integrity.
Soaking the buckle may loosen the debris and allow you to free the buckle. After soaking it for ten minutes try again to remove it.
Unfortunately, if your buckle is really stuck, this can be one situation when professional car seat repair is necessary. You may need to contact the company to ask for a replacement buckle and strap.
Some parents have had success using a screwdriver or agents like WD-40 to remove the stuck buckle when soaking didn’t work. Olive oil is a safer lubricant that other parents have tried as well, or if you have expired baby oil, that works too. However, this can damage your buckle and make it unsafe for use. It is better to contact the car seat manufacturer than to use these methods.
First, check the instruction manual. All car seats do not have the same recline buttons and mechanisms. Your manual should provide instructions on how to adjust your specific seats recline.
The button on most infant car seats that recline is located on the car seat itself while other seat types have a button located on the base. Some recline buttons must be compressed while others need to be pulled. If you think your car seat recline is broken, it could actually just be a case of locked gears.
Remove the seat from the car. Having another adult help you, have one person hold onto the base. The other person will be responsible for pressing or pulling the recline mechanism and putting pressure on the seat. While the base is being held, place one hand on the recline and the other on the top of the seat.
Once you press or pull the recline mechanism, press the seat backward firmly with the hand on the top of the seat. You should hear a click once the recline adjustment engages. It may take a few gentle shoves.
Again, using lubricants may help free things, but they can make your seat unsafe and are difficult to clean. If you cannot recline your seat it is best to contact your manufacturer.
If your car seat is stuck in recline and you need to position it into an upright position, check your owner’s manual. Figure out where the recline button is and how to use it. It may be located on the seat itself or on the base.
It is easiest to work on your seat outside of the car. It can help to have another set of hands holding the base while you compress or pull the recline adjustment button. Then put one hand on the top or back of the seat and forcefully try to push it into position. Some parents even try to use their feet or legs to push the seat forward.
If your seat remains stuck and you think it is malfunctioning, contact the manufacturer. Lubricants, no matter how natural, can be difficult to remove and may make the seat unsafe for use unless advised by your owner’s manual.
Wondering how to remove car seat from car if the LATCH is stuck? To begin, sit in the car on one side of the car seat. Push the car seat downwards and backward towards the vehicle seat. This should provide some slack in the LATCH straps. Then, press firmly down on the LATCH release button. Once one side is undone, the other side should be much easier.
Sitting inside the car seat or using your knee to press down on the car seat can also help provide slack. Some parents have found wiggling the seat while applying pressure useful. Finally, reclining your vehicle seat can provide you with better access to the LATCH mechanism.
If your car seat LATCH won’t come undone, in rare cases cutting the straps and contacting the manufacturer is the only solution.
Always make sure you follow the steps in your car seat owner’s manual when installing the seat. Improperly installing the seat or forcing it can cause it to get stuck.
Familiarizing yourself with the parts of your specific seat and how to take it in and out of your car can minimize the chances of it getting stuck.
Kids are messy. Liquid spills, food debris, and things like playdough can gunk up the working parts of your car seat.
Keep your seat clean by following your manufacturer’s instructions. Some parts of your seat may be machine washable, some pieces can be soaked in a bowl of water, and other pieces cannot get wet at all.
A car seat within its expiration date shouldn’t rust. However, if it is exposed to the elements or harsh conditions, rust is a possibility. Rust can lock up mechanisms on your car seat, causing them to become stuck. Everyone so often thoroughly inspect your seat to make sure all parts are clean and in working order.
How to fix a stuck manual car seat is something no parent wants to have to Google. Stuck car seats can be very frustrating.
Usually, freeing your seat just takes a bit of knowledge and some firm pressure. Keeping your seat clean and knowing how to properly install and uninstall it can prevent it from having issues.
If all else fails, contact your car seat manufacturer for assistance rather than using lubricants or excessive force.