Today I saw a family member tagged in a facebook photo. The photo was her friend's child and her daughter, who is only 2.5 months older than my son, in their car seats and basically not even strapped in . Think of every wrong thing you can do when buckling your child into their seat; twisted straps, chest clips pushed all the way down by the buckle, straps not even over their shoulders, huge puffy coats. Two innocent 2 year olds who have no idea that their mothers are neglecting them in a huge way, failing to provide as much safety as possible in a vehicle.
My heart just sank into my stomach. I knew I had to say something, so I did! I didn't call her out on her picture, I would never embarrass someone publicly like that. I didn't make any smartass comments or make it seem like I was a better parent. I politely sent her a private message and asked her if I could offer some car seat safety advice, because I know how much she loves her daughter and I would never want to see her hurt in an accident. I was hoping that she would be open to hearing what I had to say. Instead she responded "I know how to do it correctly, this was just a quick run down the street.". My heart sank even more... how can anyone knowingly put their child in danger even if it is only for a few seconds?!
You guys, car seat safety is a HUGE deal! Children DIE in accidents because they aren't properly strapped in. These are deaths that easily could have been prevented! Some parents just don't know, which is ridiculous, because read your damn car seat manual! Then there are the parents who DO KNOW, and still choose to put their child into a moving vehicle with an improperly buckled seat. This is child abuse and neglect! Saying things like "It takes too long to buckle it right", "My kid doesnt like the chest clip way up there", or "It was just a short trip" are horrible EXCUSES! Your child deserves better than excuses. This is a LIFE OR DEATH matter! It is not a joke! It should not be taken lightly!
If you are unsure if your child is in the correct type of seat, if you are strapping them in correctly, or if your seat is installed correctly PLEASE ask someone for help! There are SO many resources out there to help you! To find a certified car seat safety inspection near you please check out safercar.gov. They will make sure that your seat is properly installed in your car, and offer valuable resources that could save your child's life in an accident.
Here are a few tips for a properly buckled seat:
- Chest clip at armpit level
- Tight straps- they should be able to pass the pinch test
- Crotch buckle always buckled
- No bulky winter coats!
- Car seat unable to move more than in inch once installed
- Rear facing until at least 1 AND 20 lbs (its the law!) but it is highly recommended to keep them rear facing until at least 2 years old, or until the rear facing limits of your car seat
Please share this post every where! This really is such an important issue!
I posted these pictures recently, but here they are again! More safety pictures can be found at Daily Momtra.