A Facebook post has gone viral after its author made a stark point about car seat safety.
Australian mum Krystal, who writes for parenting website Project Hot Mess, has been working with her husband as a paramedic for a collective period of 20 years. In their time as on-road paramedics, she says, they hadn’t seen a single accident where a child was harmed whilst properly restrained in their seat.
‘I’m a member of a lot of mothers groups and communities and the discussion around car seats is ALWAYS a heated one,’ she says. ‘People give their opinions on rear facing vs forward facing, side seat vs middle seat, chest clip height (FYI – Australia doesn’t use chest clips), straps, wearing jumpers… if there’s something to have an opinion on, it has been discussed before.’
But, she notes, there’s one thing that doesn’t get pointed out nearly enough, and that ensuring your child is strapped securely into their seats.
‘When you become a parent you spend AGES researching the ‘best’ car seat. You look for safety features, star ratings and reviews and fret over if you can afford the best.’
‘But, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a car seat if you DON’T strap your child in.’
It may sound simple, but Krystal points out that car seats are designed to withstand extreme collisions and so more often that not, failure of a car seat is down to human error.
She continues: ‘We’ve seen car seats ejected from vehicles, we’ve seen cars that have rolled over so many times you can barely tell which way is up, we’ve seen accidents where you would be certain there would be no survivors. But in our experience, the biggest difference between a child’s safety hasn’t been if they were in the $600 car seat or the $200 one. It’s been about those straps.’
In the image, which has gained well over 5,000 shares and nearly 700 comments, Krystal and her husband hold a car seat from each side, with their four-year-old son Alexander strapped securely in and held almost upside down, to illustrate that when used correctly, there was no way a child would be able to fall from a car seat.
She asks: ‘Would you be confident in doing THIS to them? Would you be confident in turning your child upside down in their seat?’
‘Car seats have incredible safety designs now, they are designed to cocoon your child, protect them as they roll and are thrown around in an accident. But they can only do this if your child is restrained properly.’
Commenters on the post have shared their own experiences of car seat safety, and thanked Krystal for highlighting this factor.
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‘Perfect way to sum up the most important thing about any car seat!!’, said one commenter.
Another wrote: ‘Yes! As a paramedic myself, I completely agree with this couple. I’ve told parents these exact things. It’s okay if you can’t afford a $500 car seat. Get a seat, take it to a car seat technician and have them install it for you and show you how to put your child in it.’