Mom Bravely Confesses Her Unsafe Car Seat Mistakes to Help New Parents

Baby car seat safety
Mae Alderman/Facebook

One of the difficult aspects of parenting is that you have to learn as you go. This means that sometimes you don't realize when you're doing something wrong until it's too late. The gained experience also allows you to look back and recognize with perfect clarity all of the mistakes or things you should've done differently that you never realized at the time. Facebook Time Hop pointed this out to one mom with a photo that perfectly captured the glaring problems with her baby boy's car seat

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Although Mae Alderman's little boy is now 7 years old, this picture of him at 11 months brought up memories of a terrifying wake up call. "He was a big, very active baby and had outgrown his infant carrier seat, so I did what I thought came next," she wrote. "I had no idea that rear-facing was even possible at that size and I had no idea that there were seats between the infant carrier and the booster." 

But one day while she was driving on the highway, she learned how seriously wrong she was about his car seat. "I felt a tug on my arm. Greyson had wiggled out of his car seat and was standing up in the back of the car while I was flying down the interstate at about 65mph," she wrote. "I pulled over, placed him back in his seat, and immediately went home to research car seat safety. Later that day, I purchased an appropriate 5-point-harness seat that could be rear-faced and didn’t turn him back around for another year or so."

Baby car seat safety
Mae Alderman/Facebook

Thankfully for Greyson, his mom realized that his current seat wouldn't have been able to protect him in a car accident before it was too late. But when she posted this photo at the time, she didn't see the serious dangers that were putting her son's life at risk. "Maybe one of you other mommas saw this photo and decided not to say anything. I don’t blame you, no one wants to get involved in someone else’s business...," she wrote. "But I’m sure glad I found out I was doing the wrong thing before something bad happened." 

Now, she understands that it wasn't just one thing alone and is highlighting all of the things that are wrong with Greyson's car seat situation in case others don't see it. First, she's calling out those who fall into the mindset that forward-facing is a "milestone" that should be rushed before baby has outgrown the height and weight recommendations. Just because Greyson was a "big" baby doesn't mean it was okay to turn him around at only 11 months od. "In fact, it’s way more dangerous. Rear-facing has been said to be 300x safer in an accident for both children and adults," she wrote. "Some parents choose to rear face until their child is 3 or 4!"

Mom and son
Mae Alderman/Facebook

The second problem is after-market accessories she added to the car seat. "Accessories like the strap cover are a no-go as well," she wrote. "Adding anything to the car seat that did not come with the seat or was made by the manufacturer for that specific model can impact its ability to protect your child in an accident."

Thirdly, Greyson is missing the protection of a five-point harness with the chest clip placed properly. "Pull the chest clip all the way up between the mid chest and sternum. A chest clip all the way at the bottom can cause internal organ damage in the event of an accident," she wrote. "Pull the buckles tight enough that you cannot pinch up excess material. If you can, it’s too loose."

The last thing that Alderman mentioned isn't necessarily something she did wrong in this moment but it's still an important reminder for parents. "Big coats cannot be worn while your child is buckled up," she pointed out. "The bulk of the coat makes the buckles way too loose, even when they appear to be fitted."

If this photo made you realize that your baby is in the wrong seat, the intention isn't to shame you or make you feel guilty. Instead, Alderman hopes that it empowers you to do something and say something the next time you see a problem -- instead of just scrolling past it on social media or walking by with a smile. "I didn’t know any different, and I did what I thought was right with the information I had," she wrote. "Now that you have the information, you have the power to make your kid safer."

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