You guys know I'm a car seat safety nut, right? There are many choices we, as parents, make for our children. Disposables/cloth diapers, BLW/purees, crib/co-sleeping, breastfeeding/formula, etc. None of these decisions determine how good a parent we are. Certain things just work better for certain families. However, there is one thing that doesn't work that way. Car seats are not a choice. There's only one way to use them correctly. ONE. Unfortunately many parents don't know how to properly buckle their kids in the car.
Have you ever looked at #carseat on Instagram? It's horrifying.
The #carseat is pretty popular, with over 22,000 pictures (the similar #carseats has about 1,300) on Instagram. I'd be willing to bet a lot of money that at least half of those pictures featuring infant/toddler car seats are being used wrong. Errr, scratch that, more like 75%. Luckily there are few lovely ladies on Instagram who try to educate parents about the importance of buckling their children correctly. Earlier this month Harry was even featured on @carseatsafety's feed!
Woohoo! Harry and I love doing what we can do to spread car seat safety.
I did a car seat safety post a few months back, but I thought I'd touch on the subject again since it is such a big problem. Going through the #carseat pictures, there are three major areas of concern.
The first being incorrect usage of the chest clip.
It's called a chest clip for a reason, people! Putting it lower on baby's belly can actually be more dangerous in a crash than not using it at all. In a crash the baby can hit the clip with enough force to cause internal bleeding at the belly. The breast bone can withstand the impact of the clip. A good rule of thumb when buckling the chest clip is to align it with baby's armpits.
The next common mistake is wearing a puffy coat while buckled in the car seat.
When a child wears a puffy coat in a car seat the straps aren't nearly as tight as they need to be to properly protect the child in a crash. Try using a fleece jacket instead or take the coat off in the car, buckle baby in and then put his or her arms through the sleeves to stay warm.
The last problem is the prevalent usage of aftermarket products.
Things like cute car seat covers, JJ Cole Bundle Mes and strap covers don't belong on your car seat! Use them with your stroller instead. All these products will void your warranty and interfere with how the seat is designed to work. Anything that isn't from your car seat manufacturer should never be used. The only exception I can think of would be the shower cap covers for infant seats. We used this one by The First Years with Harry's Graco seat and it fit perfectly. These shower cap covers don't interfere with how the car seat functions, which is why they're fine to use and recommended by CPSTs.
However, not all is lost on Instagram! There are definitely parents out there that properly buckle their children in their seats.
Yay! I wish that every baby was strapped in like this though. Please do your part to spread the word on car seat safety, and feel free to let me know if you have any questions.
Here are a few links on car seat safety you might find helpful:
Car seat safety for infants (up to 1 year)- Safe Kids
Car seat safety for little kids (1-4 years)- Safe Kids
Car seat safety for older kids (5-9 years)- Safe Kids
Car seat safety for tweens and teens (10-14 years)- Safe Kids
AAP car seat guidelines- Healthy Children
Disclaimer: I am not a CPST, but I have done extensive research on car seat safety and how to properly use the seats. Please consult your car seat's manual for information regarding your specific model.
I found all these images on Instagram. I do not follow any of these posters, their pictures are public for everyone to see. My intent is not to mock the parents who haven't used car seats correctly but to educate them and others on how to keep children as safe as possible.