I wanted to share something that I saw that was absolutely appalling to me yesterday. As a CPS Tech (aka. Car seat technician or expert), I’m obsessed with children’s safety in the car. I think every child needs to be in a 5 point harness in their car seat for as long as possible. Does that mean buying a more expensive seat that can have your child up to 60-80 lbs in a 5 point harness? Yep! That’s right. I said your 6-8 year old should be in a 5 point harness car seat! Yes, these car seats can be pricey but this is your “baby” and their safety has no price.
So, back to my story. I was dropping my 3 year old off at daycare yesterday and happened to glance in the car parked next to us. Now, it’s not a habit to look in other people’s cars, but we were parked close to it and what I saw in the back seat caught my eye. In the back seat of this rather expensive sedan, I saw two (not one…but TWO) infant car seats installed facing forward. I use the term “installed” loosely because these seats looked like anything but installed correctly. First, both seats appeared to be at least 10 years old. Car seats should only be used for a maximum of 6 years – not 10. Second, infant car seats should never ever be installed forward facing! This parent had these two infant car seats propped up facing forward to try and make the angle similar to a convertible car seat.
I couldn’t let this go. I figured whoever owned this car was putting their children in grave danger if they ever got into an accident. I went into the child care center and asked the director if she knew the owner of that car. I told her about the appalling car seat situation. To my horror, the director looked at the car and said that it was a teacher at the center and she had a 2 and 4 year old! What!?!?! It was even worse than I thought. A two and a four year old in infant car seats? My heart sank for those children. I know many, many parents don’t install their car seats correctly but this was the worst car seat situation I have ever encountered. Since the teacher was in her classroom, the director assured me that she would let her know immediately about her car seats so that she didn’t forget. She thanked me for my concern and headed to the classroom.
I left the day care but couldn’t help but think of those children in harm’s way all day. Today, I am headed back to the day care to see if the car seat situation has been remedied.
After seeing this yesterday, I beg all parents to please make sure you are using the right car seat for your child and that it is installed correctly. Over 90% of car seats are installed incorrectly and that is putting our babies in harm’s way. If you aren’t 100% sure that your child’s car seat is installed perfectly, please call your local police station or fire department and make an appointment for them to check it. Most of these places have CPS Technicians on hand that will gladly check or install your car seat free of charge! Car seats can be tricky but don’t let your child’s safety be compromised because you *think* you did it right.