Like it or not, most people don't follow car seat manuals, despite the seat being designed to save your child's life, which it can only do when used accurately. Though I still don't quite get why the manual isn't always followed to the T, I don't think parents are always to blame.
Most TV shows and even advertisements for car seats in stores and magazines show them used wrong. The bane of many car seat techs and advocates is watching a TV show and seeing a chest clip on the belly of the child (the word "chest" is self-explanatory, come ON!), or seeing a tiny baby forward facing. People like Britney Spears and shows like Teen Mom allow children to be filmed not only buckled in wrong, but even illegally so.
But Toyota, yes the car company, knows how to do car seats right.
Aside from my family being a Toyota family and my attributing a vehicle of their own to saving my life in a really, really bad accident, their recent commercials have been fantastic -- because every single child in them is in seats appropriate for their age, installed and USED CORRECTLY.
In many of their videos for their Swagger Wagon/Toyota Sienna commercials (my dream car ... sigh), two kids are featured properly harnessed in Graco Nautilus seats:
There's also a video that shows an "almost four" year old little girl sitting correctly in a Graco MyRide 65, still safely in a five-point harness. That's rare enough on TV that I honestly hit back on my DVR a couple times and watched in awe, then praised them on their Facebook page for it.
So why am I so dang excited?
Because seeing correct usage is SO, SO IMPORTANT. When a car seat advocate sees things like a chest clip that is on the belly, not at nipple/armpit level where it belongs, we automatically know that it's wrong. Why? Because we are used to looking at car seats that are used correctly. If you see things done a certain way on a regular basis, then when you see it used differently, then it strikes you as odd.
Unfortunately with car seats being used incorrectly in almost all media, it's no surprise that almost all parents use them wrong as well. That's why moves like Toyota's, which may seem so irrelevant to some, are so, so important.
If we make sure that all people see on television, magazines, and anywhere else is properly used car seats, then they will be that much more likely to notice immediately when something looks out of place on their own seat, or that of their family member or friend's child, and be able to correct it, or find out how to.
Call it social conditioning. Call it smart marketing. Whatever. But call me happy. I've got one more reason to adore Toyota now, and I hope that many more manufacturers and TV shows start acting responsibly and NOT allowing unsafe, improper or even illegal use (reality TV, I'm looking at you!) of car seats to continue being displayed.
Do you notice when car seats are used wrong on TV? What's the worst you've seen?
Image via Toyota/YouTube