Police Discover a Shocking Car Seat DIY That Will Make Your Blood Boil

baby in car seat
Antoniodiaz/Shutterstock
Car seat safety is an important topic for anyone who has a young child -- or is responsible for driving one. Yet despite laws demanding that every kid be properly restrained, and the seemingly endless car seat options in stores, children are still dying in car accidents because of the ignorance of adults. Unfortunately, many times it isn't until a viral photo of a devastating crash -- and the car seat that did or didn't save a baby's life -- makes the rounds that parents stop to realize their own potentially deadly mistakes.

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After a shocking discovery in the backseat of a car, police officers in Victoria, Australia, are sharing an upsetting "car seat" photo in the hopes that it will be the next viral sensation to raise awareness and save a child's life.

car seat danger
Victoria Police

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After noticing that two teenage passengers in the rear of a vehicle weren't wearing their seat belts, Preston police pulled the car over. In the back, they found that the teens weren't restrained because their seat belts were being used in an attempt to secure a 7-month-old baby into a makeshift car seat. Instead of a real car seat, the infant was riding in a rocker placed on the middle seat with the two passenger belts weakly holding it in place. Although no additional information about the driver or the child's parents was provided, the officers revealed that they gave three tickets totaling $900 for having three unrestrained passengers in the car.

If this photo looks disturbing but seems like an isolated problem, the statistics might be enough to make your head explode. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of death among children in the United States, and many of these deaths could have been prevented with proper car seat and seat belt use. 

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It's impossible to know whether the parents in this situation shirk their car seat duty on the regular, or if they found themselves in a situation where they thought "just this once" the makeshift seat would be okay. What's clear is that an unexpected number of US adults are making similar choices. The CDC found that in just one year, more than 618,000 children were driven in cars without a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt on at least one occasion.

And at the risk of repeating a warning you've heard a million times before (because some of us need a million and one times to get it): The possible consequences of not restraining children correctly (even "just this once") are deadly. In 2015, out of the 663 children 12 years old and younger who were killed in a crash, 35 percent of them weren't buckled up. Even if the car accidents weren't the drivers' fault or couldn't have been prevented, we will never know if those children's deaths could have been prevented if the adults behind the wheel made a different decision before ever even starting the vehicles.  

So if this DIY car seat photo makes you outraged, good. Use it as motivation to brush up on the latest car seat safety protocols, and pay attention to those viral posts from parents who have learned a thing or two about buckling their kids in safely and securely.

If you have questions about car seat safety, you can find a Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area by visiting SafeKids.org.   

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