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Home / Pardon Me, Your Car Seat Is ALL WRONG

Pardon Me, Your Car Seat Is ALL WRONG

In life, and in parenting, most of us try to follow the Golden Rule: treat others as you would want to be treated.  This generally means kindly, with respect to the person and their situation… basically, just don’t be a jerk.  Sometimes this means keeping our mouths shut when our friends make choices for their children that we wouldn’t – and I probably don’t have to tell you how exceedingly difficult that can be.  But there’s a time to speak up and time to pipe down. I mean, if your friend’s son is addicted to Cocoa Puffs maybe just mind your own business, right?

Sometimes though, we feel compelled to say something to our friends that we just know will not be taken kindly.  We’ll come off like a jerk, and there’s no way around it.  One of those instances is when bringing up car seat misuse.

This car seat will NOT do its job!

Misuse is EVERYWHERE.  It’s on Instagram, it’s on TV ads, it’s in your Facebook timeline and it’s on the roads.  We have all seen the adorable videos of children dancing along in their car seats to their favorite songs.  They go viral instantly and it’s no wonder: cute kid + funny dance moves = internet sensation.  But I have yet to see a viral car seat dancing video that showed a properly restrained child.  And that’s no shock either: conservative misuse estimates place the number somewhere around 75%, with certain populations closer to 90%.  Harness straps hanging loose, babies facing forward, booster seats for kids who are not ready for them, chest clips improperly placed… watch this video and see how many you catch.

So not only are the chances pretty darn good that your friends’ kids are improperly restrained – yours very well may be, too.  Ask yourself this: if someone said you had to change one thing that could potentially save your child’s life, would you do it?  Even if it was unsolicited advice?  Even if it came from someone you barely know?  Or even worse… someone you know but don’t particularly care for?Would you get defensive?  Would you blow them off?

I think most of us would likely get defensive.  And why not?  This person is basically calling your parenting into question, right?  WRONG.  Car seat misuse is so common that most of us are doing it, and unless we talk about it and try to learn from our mistakes our children are the ones who will be paying the ultimate price.  

So my advice is this:  if you see something and you feel like you must say something, acknowledge the awkardness of the situation.  “Hey!  I love that photo that you posted; she is so sweet!  I wanted to say something about her car seat but I wasn’t sure how.  I know this is awkward and there’s no easy way to say this – and I’m not trying to be a jerk, I promise – but the straps are too loose.  Check out this link if you want more info:  I hope you and your family are doing well!”
And keep in mind that it just might be you on the receiving end of this entirely unsolicited advice one day.  Even if it comes from someone who doesn’t have the best bedside manner, try to take the intended message of love. We speak up because we care; we care about your child and your family.
Author: Dana

Dana is the lucky mother to two incredible kids (aged 10 & 6) and the happy wife of Nate. She stumbled around in her adult life for a while before finally realizing that she could get paid to pursue her passion: keeping kids safe. In 2013 she started working at Modern Natural Baby in Ferndale where she eventually became a Child Passenger Safety Technician with additional Special Needs training. Dana also runs the child passenger safety-focused Facebook page Buckle Up Detroit and works with the amazing lady bosses at Metro Detroit Doula Services offering car seat classes, consultations, and more!