Mom Learns Her 'Helpful' Car Seat Hack Can Actually Cause Internal Decapitation

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As a mom blogger, Adele Barbaro of The Real Mumma is known for her honest take on motherhood. But because these candid snapshots and raw thoughts on her parenting experiences tend to be unfiltered, which is why people love them, there's also room for mistakes. This mom knows, however, that she's not perfect and isn't afraid to admit when she was wrong -- especially when it comes to serious topics such as car seat safety. That's why she's speaking out after one of her car seat hack posts went viral, making sure to tell the world she messed up and warn parents not to do what she originally suggested.

  • After sharing a car seat hack she discovered during a recent road trip, Barbaro wants everyone to know it was a serious mistake. 

    The mom of two shared on Instagram that what she originally thought was a funny and helpful trick for moms is actually an incredibly dangerous mistake. 

    "I was frustrated with my little one's head falling forward while he slept in the car. I kept turning around to pop his head back and it was making me fill ill," she wrote. "So, I took off my sports bra and popped it across his forehead and shared what I thought was a funny and clever little mom hack. But I was wrong." 

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  • "DO NOT DO THIS," she wrote.

    Barbaro wasn't intentionally putting her child's safety in jeopardy but when she learned that her idea was incredibly dangerous, she also realized that she might have put other children at risk. That's why she quickly spoke out on social media, warning other moms who might have seen her previous post.

    "I pride myself in sharing helpful and honest content but I was mortified to learn that I had shared something that was extremely unsafe, I took it straight down," she wrote. "Anyway, the point of this post is that I am not perfect. I don’t always get it right, just like every mom. And although it was a funny post, I would would never share anything that I thought was unsafe for children."

  • She has since spoken to other professionals about car seat safety and her kiddo's head falling problem. Now, she wants to share what she's learned.

    Since taking down her original post that showcased her DIY way to keep her 3-year-old's head from bobbing as he slept, Barbaro shared that she's spoken to paramedics and trained professionals about her mistake. "I have learned that the most important thing is that you have a car seat that is professionally installed and has its incline correct. There are a lot of devices on eBay etc that are also unsafe, so just be careful and get the right info," she wrote. "I have had my car seats all professionally installed by a certified installer, on its full recline, so it has made me question the car seat more than anything." 

  • In follow-up comments, she and other users also broke down exactly why a product that holds a sleeping child's head up in a car seat is so unsafe.

    Barbaro explained that in the event of a car accident, children's necks need to be in a natural position or else they can break it during impact. "If you have the kids head fixed to the seat and there is a collision, the torso will go forward and the neck can snap. In a nutshell really," she commented. 

    "If their head is held in but their body tries to lurch forward in a crash, it can cause a broken neck or internal decapitation," another user commented. "No after market products should ever be used with a car seat and shouldn’t be sold, though they are everywhere which is why it’s great Adele has put up this post for awareness."

    "In the event of an accident, it can hold the head back while the body moves forward causing internal decapitation. Car seats are designed to allow the whole body to move in the safest way and adding after market products changes that," another person wrote. "And kids bodies are much floppier than adults due to the stage of growth their bones and joints are at so they really are not as uncomfortable as we would be in a similar position."

    Internal decapitation occurs when the ligaments in the neck that attach the skull to the spine are severed, and it's rare to survive. During a 2005 study at a Philadelphia hospital, only 31 percent of children seen with this type of injury lived.

  • Many of her followers are applauding her for speaking up and owning her mistakes.

    "Good on you for owning your post! I too, thought it was a genius idea and can’t really see how it’s less safe than letting their little heads flop forward," one user commented. 

    "I found it funny but good on you for owing [sic] it babe!" someone else wrote. "Not many people can do that so good for you!" 

  • And many moms are reminding her that no parent is perfect and she deserves nothing but support for speaking up.

    "You go girlfriend! It takes a real genuine soul to own up and say they were wrong," another person added. "But please don't feel bad. We all know [you] meant well."