It may not say so in the manual, but unbuckling some car seats can be a royal pain ⏤ not to mention painful, at least to your thumbs. While car seat buckles are obviously designed to prevent enterprising toddlers from freeing themselves, they’re often equally as effective at foiling parents. When they get stuck, good Lord, do they get stuck. But rather than hit the gym and do wrist curls, one occupational-therapist-turned-grandmother in Texas had another solution ⏤ use leverage to her advantage. She invented UnbuckleMe, a $15 plastic tool that pops open baby seat buckles with a simple squeeze.
READ MORE: The Fatherly Guide to Car Seats
Billed as “type II lever that reduces the force required to unbuckle a seat by more than 50%,” UnbuckleMe is a horseshoe-shaped piece of BPA-free plastic that slides around the buckle. When the center peg is lined up with the button, you simply pinch it together using your thumb (or palm) and fingers and pull it down. That’s it. The stubborn buckle pops open and the kid is free. In fact, it’s so easy that 4- and 5-year-olds have effectively used it to spring themselves, at least in supervised testing. It’s why they recommend keeping it in the car’s side-door pocket and out of reach of little hands, although they also integrated a small loop on the neck so you can clip it to a diaper bag or keychain.
RELATED: The Best Baby and Toddler Car Seats
UnbuckleMe works on all push-button car seat buckles and comes in red. It’s sold mostly on the company’s website and on Amazon, where it currently maintains a 5-star rating.