Gentle-ish Reminders for Your Friends Who Misuse Car Seats


Hey friends, I know this is not for you. You all read your manuals and checked the updated AAP, CDC, and NHTSA safety guidelines for proper child restraint use. And with that knowledge, I’m sure that you too have noticed a friend or relative, through a photo on Facebook or before your very eyes, misusing his or her child’s car seat. I bet you’ve also grappled with what to do about it. Of course Parent Code dictates that one should NEVER, EVER correct the parenting choices of another parent, but what about when safety is concerned?

Well, you get passive-aggressive! (If you want to get aggressive-aggressive, go for it, but do so at your own risk!). I’ve seen you trying your best, posting annual reminders to remove coats or links to the latest safety recommendations. I’ve done so myself. But guys, it’s not working! I would even say that the majority of car seat photos on my Facebook feed display misuse and that I have educated exactly zero people with my best passive-aggressive efforts. I doubt anyone is consciously putting their child in danger, but they need a little nudge to become better informed. Maybe even a shove? For this, I have created some passive-AGGRESSIVE! car seat safety reminders:

Since it’s still winter coat season, I’m sure you all know some people who drive you crazy, continuing  to loosen harnesses to make room for coats. Maybe this will change their minds.

I’m sure you’ve tried telling them that the impact of even a minor collision will suppress a coat. And a suppressed coat means that the harness straps become loose again, allowing head movement and putting their child at risk of spinal, internal, and brain injury, not to mention ejection from the car seat. I know you understand this, but maybe they need a more direct reminder.

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Especially when there are so many alternatives available to keep kids both warm and safe, from thin fleece jackets to ponchos and regular old blankets.

Even without coats, many people still fail to tighten straps and properly position chest clips. I mean, what’s even the point in the car seat at all sometimes?

Help them out with this!

Ohh, and we haven’t even touched on car seat positioning, age and weight requirements, tethers, front vs. rear-facing, etc. But maybe that’s enough for now. Maybe we’ve gotten their attention. After you’ve worn your friends out by pointing out all of their common car seat errors, ease the blow with this one.

After all, maybe some of you are realizing you haven’t adjusted your child’s harness in a while. Maybe even some of us went out to take photos for a blog post and realized that our husband didn’t properly install the car seat when he replaced it last weekend. We all make mistakes. We all let things slide that we shouldn’t. But it’s never too late to learn and make corrections. No one has to know.

Has social media exposed any safety hazards that bother you? Let me know in the comments!

Katie is a SAHM mom of three, a bad driver of a heavily dented minivan, a KC native, and an owner of a messy house in Overland Park (and not in a cute “Look at my kids playing in unfolded laundry!” way, but more in a “Don’t stick your hands under the couch until we’ve investigated that smell!” way). She loves long family road trips, dogs with people names, and using her rare kid-free time to go to concerts and movies. She hates speaking in third person and people with dog names. She is most proud of her children when they sing David Bowie songs in public and express independence in ways that cause strangers concern.