Both Children Improperly Restrained

You have probably seen the “Gangham Style” baby video where she is fast asleep until her favorite tune comes on the radio. It’s adorable. But it also highlights some improper car seat usage.

Baby in rear facing car seat

There may not be a cuter video out there -- a blissfully sleeping baby girl is out cold, until the first few beats of her favorite song, Gangham Style, come on the radio. Eyes barely open, her arms and legs start flailing in a truly precious baby dance. Car seat safety proponents, however, were quick to point out that the baby and her sister are not properly restrained in the moving vehicle.

Issues with the baby's car seat

The cute baby girl is in a five-point harness, which is good, but she is too young to be forward facing. Current recommendations state that children should be rear facing until they are at least 24 months old, and remain rear facing until they reach the height or weight limit for their particular seat. Parents who may be concerned that their toddler won't be comfortable rear facing -- they will be. Legs that are long will naturally be crossed or hung over the side by instinct.

Another issue with the younger girl is that her straps are not snug enough -- this is evidenced by one slipping off her shoulder a bit. Her chest clip is also lower than it should be. Chest clips are meant to be secured at armpit height.

Issues with the toddler's car seat

The toddler seems to be in a booster-style seat and restrained with a regular seat belt. Children under four years of age (and under 40 pounds) should still be in a five-point harness. Children should also remain in the five-point harness until they are mature enough to sit still for the car ride.

Car seat recommendations are updated as evidence rolls in. They are not meant to keep our kids in a plastic bubble -- they are meant to keep them alive if a terrible car accident occurs. I have seen so many questionable arguments from parents about keeping a child rear facing for as long as possible and I truly don’t understand the outrage. Kids don’t mind it at all, so why do grownups? If there was something you could do to keep your child safer, wouldn’t you?

More on safety

Car seat mistakes you are probably making
Heads-up: Car seat requirements set to change in 2014
Bundle up, but not in the car seat

Tags: car seat safety

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