There are about 1,000 things that moms can be offended about. Mommy wars. Parenting styles. We have all experienced a time when our parenting choices have taken a hit by a friend or family member. No doubt. But lately, I’ve been hearing moms talking about being judged for the way they use their car seats, and it just really grinds my gears. Car seat safety is not a parenting choice. Being lovingly corrected by another mom does not equate to being judged. It’s not up for debate because it’s not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of safety.
You post a picture of the littlest love of your life all buckled into their car seat. You immediately get a dozen likes because adorable. You’re feeling great about the caliber of cute you and your significant other have produced, and then it happens. A private message notification. “Oh yay!”, you think to yourself, “It’s from a mommy friend!” Then, you open it up and immediately recognize the compliment sandwich template.
“Your baby is the cutest!!
I wanted to let you know that buckling her up wearing a bulky jacket really compromises her safety in the car seat. Here’s a link with more info.
You’re such a great mama!!”
It happened to me very early on in motherhood. My daughters chest clip was too low, and a friend sent me a message to point it out. I was immediately put off. It hurt my mama pride to think that I wasn’t keeping my daughter safe. I was offended for a hot minute before it hit me- what’s more important? My pride or the safety of my child? And my embarrassment just as quickly turned to gratitude.
Since that time, I have read up on car seat safety and had my car seat installation checked by a professional CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician). My tech told me that out of the approximately 1,000 seats she had checked, she could count on one hand the number that were installed and being used 100% correctly. I was totally shocked!
Now, when I see a sweet baby dangerously buckled up in my news feed, I’m the one sending a compliment sandwich. I do it in a private message because I don’t feel like it’s necessary to publicly correct anyone. Of course I get nervous and scared of offending someone. And, honestly, my own non confrontational nature has even stopped me from speaking up a time or two. And that is just unacceptable. Because my insecurity is not nearly as important as the safety of a child. Yours or mine.
So, the next time you post a picture of your kid in a car seat (and I hope fear of correction doesn’t stop you!), if someone sends you a piece of advice, don’t feel judged. It’s probably just another mom who has been exactly where you are and learned from it. She’s not speaking up because she is Mrs. Judgeypants. She doesn’t think you’re an idiot making a bad parenting choice. She’s telling you because she knows how much you love your baby, and you both want to see them safe.
I encourage everyone to have their car seat installation checked out! Most techs will check your seat for free! There’s really nothing to lose and so much to gain! While you’re at it, read up on the latest car seat laws and check into the benefits of extended rear facing. There aren’t two sides to this issue. We can feel judged for plenty of other things as moms- let’s take car seat usage off that list.