How to keep our toddler from disassembling the wagon he is riding in
February 28, 2017 5:31 PM   Subscribe

We recently got a wagon for our 2-year-old. It has removable sides, which I gather are a common feature on these wagons. The thing is, being a curious toddler, this means he is very interested in removing them, which he can do pretty easily. We don't want him disassembling the wagon while we are carting him around. Has anyone had this problem? Any easy solutions? The wagon we have is a Millside Express.
posted by ManInSuit to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
Response by poster: (bigger picture of wagon, in case it it helpful, here and here)
posted by ManInSuit at 5:33 PM on February 28, 2017

Can you ziptie them down ? Or together??
posted by Ftsqg at 5:35 PM on February 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Child starts to take apart wagon, you stop and say: "Milo, I can't let you take your wagon apart while it's moving. You can [play with this toy/look at this book/other safe activity] instead."

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Child cries in protest at not being allowed to disassemble moving wagon: "I hear you. You want to take apart your wagon. I can't let you take it apart while it is moving."

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
posted by pecanpies at 5:51 PM on February 28, 2017 [19 favorites]

If you are intent on find a way to secure the rails I would recommend, for each rail that is independently removable:
  1. With the rail in place, drill a hole all the way trough a clasp, rail leg, and wagon side.
  2. Secure the rail in place by inserting clevis pin. The hole in step 1 should have a diameter slightly larger than the diameter of the clevis pin.
  3. Prevent removal of clevis pin with a cotter pin (or small safety pin).
After you drill the holes you could instead use a zip tie in place of each pair of clevis and cotter pins if you only need to remove the rails very infrequently.
posted by RichardP at 6:03 PM on February 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Bungee cord hooked to one side rail, run underneath and hooked to the opposite side rail. Repeat for front and back rail. Easy, cheap, and doesn't alter the wagon permanently.
posted by Grumpy old geek at 6:28 PM on February 28, 2017 [7 favorites]

duct tape?
posted by Verba Volant at 7:21 PM on February 28, 2017

Best answer: Do you take the sides off? Because while RichardP's solution would work one small screw in each side below a pocket will retain the side and be unobtrusive. Or take a zip tie and wrap it around a stake below the pocket and pull it tight. The nib on the zip tie will prevent the stake from being pulled out. Make sure to twist the free end of the zip tie off rather than cutting to prevent leaving a razor sharp edge sticking out.
posted by Mitheral at 8:19 PM on February 28, 2017

Best answer: When my brother and I were little and did this, my dad wove a rope around the rails similar to what Grumpy old geek describes with bungee cables. Back and forth through a piece, down under the wagon crossing up the other side, back and forth through another piece, and so on.

Interesting side note: when your kid is older and delivering Girl Scout cookies all the damn hell all over the neighborhood on her own asking for no help and the jangle jostle of the wagon over asphalt causes the rails to fall out every godamn 20 godamn feet scattering shortbreads godamn everywhere, you'll get to tell her the rope trick again, only how you'll do it is you'll give her a length of rope with a book on knot tying and walk away and she'll have the opportunity to build both character and valuable skills figuring it out. And then later she'll be able to pass on this knowledge in an internet forum to help a person out with their toddler.
posted by phunniemee at 8:22 PM on February 28, 2017 [27 favorites]

Similar to RichardP's suggestion, try installing locking hook and eyes on the sides:
Easy for you to undo, difficult for a toddler. Cheap, too.
posted by 8dot3 at 5:31 AM on March 1, 2017

Yes, I've experienced this - when my 2 year old son got ahold of wrench and took his indoor slide apart, then shortly after took the back of the (plugged-in) TV with a screwdriver. My response was to unplug the TV and tell him, "You took it apart - now put it back together." So he did. Hmm....

Today he is Director of Maintenance at a local regional airline making better money than I, a college graduate, did. Not to mention that he kept my car and his sister's car running all through high school. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't curb his natural mechanical ability. All this to say you might want to think about creative ways to give your child a natural outlet for his mechanical gift, because that's what it is.
posted by summerstorm at 8:34 AM on March 1, 2017 [6 favorites]

BTW, my son's twins have the same gift. At age 4, he gave them a
non-working auto engine and a tool box in the middle of the garage floor and told them to go ahead, take it apart. They did. Now they're doing household repairs around my place (at age 9). YMMV.
posted by summerstorm at 8:37 AM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have found that interest like this in things is a phase that usually lasts a week, maybe two, IF I indulge it. If I refuse to let LO explore his interest it becomes a much longer interest and annoyance.

Can you bring the wagon into the living room, sit down with him, and take the wagon apart and put it back together for an hour or so? Once he's had a chance to do this for a few days in a row he may feel that he's mastered the skill and move on to his next interest.

In the meantime you can talk to him along the lines of "it's okay to play with the wagon this way while we're in the house, but it is absolutely not okay to do this while we're out walking, because it's not safe for you".
posted by vignettist at 10:58 AM on March 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding zip ties.
posted by bendy at 4:47 PM on March 1, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks! These are all great answers!
posted by ManInSuit at 8:06 AM on March 2, 2017

Response by poster: Update: In the end, it turned out, as suggested by pecanpies and vignettist, the problem came to a behavioural solution that precluded the need for a mechanical one. Little babyinsuit very quickly learned (without really needing much prompting) not to take apart his wagon while riding in it. Turns out he's a smart guy.
posted by ManInSuit at 2:19 PM on March 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

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