Mom Stresses Car Safety After Toddler ‘Wiggles Out Of Car Seat’

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“This is a photo of my son (now almost 7), who is 11 months old, in the wrong car seat. He was a big, very active baby and had outgrown his infant carrier seat, so I did what I thought came next. 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.

One day, we were driving down I-440 here in Nashville when 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 65 mph. 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. Thank God that we had never wrecked before that day. My son might not have been alive. That car seat would have never protected him in an accident.

Baby who wiggled out of carseat on interstate sleeping in car seat
Mae Alderman

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…but I’m sure glad I found out I was doing the wrong thing before something bad happened. In case you are still reading and might not have known that this car seat situation was all wrong until just now, here are a few things to know:

1. Forward facing is not a milestone. In fact, it’s way more dangerous. Rear-facing has been said to be 300x safer in an accident for both children and adults. You can rear-face a car seat as long as you see fit. Some parents choose to rear face until their child is 3 or 4! There are all sorts of car seats that can fit any car, or if you have more than one seat that needs to go in, there is help on the internet for getting the configuration to work for your car.

2. Big coats cannot be worn while your child is buckled up. The bulk of the coat makes the buckles way too loose, even when they appear to be fitted.

3. 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. Pull the buckles tight enough that you cannot pinch up excess material. If you can, it’s too loose.

4. After-market accessories like the strapcover are a no-go as well. 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 it’s ability to protect your child in an accident.

If this photo made you realize your baby is in the wrong seat, don’t feel bad. I didn’t know any different, and I did what I thought was right with the information I had. Now that you have the information, you have the power to make your kid safer. If you have any questions beyond what I have said off of the top of my head just now, check out the Facebook group, Car Seats for the Littles. There is a lot more info in there.”

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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mae Alderman of Nashville, TN. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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