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What would you have said?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Here's the scenario:

Met a new mom at a recent LLL who has a 10wk old DD. Enjoyed her company as we're really on the same page about a lot of stuff. BUT when she bundled her DD into her bucket seat to leave I could tell it wasn't safe.

First off, I'm pretty sure the straps were too lose and she had a bundle me to boot (the kind that goes behind), but worst in my mind is that the chest clip was pretty much down by the buckle!

There were two other expectant moms there so I made a point of recommending the carseat cover that just goes over the carseat (to them, not the mom), but I just didn't know how to approach my other concerns. I didn't want to shove my way in and tighten/adjust it myself (through must admit I was tempted) but I REALLY wanted to say something for the sake of the baby's safety. Problem is I'm fairly un-confrontational by nature and didn't know how, as a first-time mom with no official training, I could tell a fourth-time mom she was "doing it wrong".

Help with suggestions for next time? What would you have said?
post #2 of 26
Ugh, I've been there. Exactly there, at LLL meetings, with a 4th time mom whose child was horribly secured (add a snowsuit to your situation, and that's pretty much it). I'm sorry to say that I didn't have the guts to say anything. I often hope that they're at least planning to tighten the straps once they get in the car, but I doubt it. When Alex turned 1 they were all totally dumbfounded that I didn't turn her FF immediately. I gave my reasons then, and they all told me I was crazy. When I suggested that kids could RF until 35lbs in Alex's seat (TrueFit). The same mom-of-4 said "but my 3yo isn't even 35lbs!" No WAY could he RF!! I said that a 3yo was still safer RF, and 3yo's in Sweeden RF all the time... I pretty much think they all think I'm a nutcase, and they've out and out said that it's only because she's my first. I fully intend to have more kids, and I fully intend to secure them safely in the car too! When Alex was a newborn and fussy in the carseat, they recommended putting her in a front carrier (ie between me and the airbag) and just "drive really carefully". Yeah.
post #3 of 26
I think this is one of the hardest social situations. For the most part, I can ignore and let go so many parenting behaviors I don't agree with...this one is about baby's life...

I suppose you could simply say "I see your baby may not be buckled right, can I help you do it?" And see what happens.
post #4 of 26
Check with your local fire or police dept and see if they have a CSPT that could visit and give a conference about carseat safety. That way, it's an orientation for everyone and no one is being singled out.
post #5 of 26
This is the reason why I became a CPST! I was working at a breastfeeding clinic and saw dozens of babies each week, improperly secured in their bucket seats. I felt I needed a credential in order to point out the misuse. I would say,

"by the way, I am a car seat technician. Can I help you make sure that your baby is properly secured?"

But, in retrospect, had I been a bit braver, I could have skipped the week-long training and just said,

"I'm NOT a car seat technician, but I feel passionately about car seat safety, and I see that your baby's straps could use a little adjustment."

I think avoiding saying things like, "you're doing it wrong," and "your baby is not safe," make it feel less confrontational.

Still, 98% of the babies who I see in buckets around town are improperly secured. And I rarely--if ever--say something. I only say something if I'm already having a conversation with the mom/dad/caregiver.

Lex
post #6 of 26
I said something to another mother at a LLL meeting and she was glad to have the information (I told her that it was a chest clip and needed to be up high on the chest). I think if you can find an opening to say something, you should. You can't make another person keep her child safe, but you can make the effort to give her the information to know how to do so.
post #7 of 26
Honestly, of all the issues you mentioned, the chest clip is the LEAST concerning.

I would ask if she knows about the "new" (wink wink) research that shows how unsafe the BundleMe is. That can lead into a discussion about strap tightness. If the straps are tight against the child with no interference, I'd let the chest clip go, because it won't seriously compromise the safety of the child and because people are more likely to listen when they don't feel like you're giving them a laundry list of unsolicited advice.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post
I suppose you could simply say "I see your baby may not be buckled right, can I help you do it?" And see what happens.

She may not be well informed on the proper way....so maybe she would be grateful for your insight.
post #9 of 26
I think it's about how you approach it. Something along the lines of "boy, those car seats can be confusing. Did you know that the bundle me is not recommended by car seat techs because it can cause the straps to be too loose in a crash which could be very dangerous for your little one? etc" But then, if mom says I don't care, you have to let it go. Being pushy will just turn her off more, kwim?

And honestly, with the bundle me, I wouldn't always address that. While they aren't considered safe, I'd rather see an infant with tight straps and a bundle me then one with loose straps without. And sometimes you can only address one thing so maybe strap tightness/chest clip is something more major you can do. And then give info about the bundle me and leave it up to mom.
post #10 of 26
What if you lied and said "Oh, I see you have a BundleMe! I used to have one too but when I had my seat inspected the tech said it wasn't safe because of (xyz). I wish they would inform us of these things before we buy them, eh?"

And the chest clip thing isn't the best, but they are actually not standard in some countries, believe it or not (I'm thinking of Australia specifically). So I'd perhaps choose my battle (the bundleme) and leave it at that.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
For the most part, I can ignore and let go so many parenting behaviors I don't agree with...this one is about baby's life...
My thoughts exactly!!

Quote:
Check with your local fire or police dept and see if they have a CSPT that could visit and give a conference about carseat safety.
Unfortunately neither the fire departments NOR the public health centres in our area do car seat inspections anymore (even at the firehall). You call one and they say to call the other... it's kind of a nightmare to get someone qualified to check your seat actually.

Quote:
Honestly, of all the issues you mentioned, the chest clip is the LEAST concerning.
Really?? If I'd had the choice the battle I would've picked would've been the straps, not the cover...

I'm not trying to be argumentative here, but I just can't wrap my head around how the bundle me is worse than the chest clip position... I mean, the straps were practically slipping off the baby's shoulders with her just sitting there! It would NOT have taken much at all for the baby to be completely ejected from the seat.

Quote:
"I'm NOT a car seat technician, but I feel passionately about car seat safety, and I see that your baby's straps could use a little adjustment."

I think avoiding saying things like, "you're doing it wrong," and "your baby is not safe," make it feel less confrontational.
I LOVE this! Thanks! It's exactly what I wanted to say, but couldn't find the words for. (And as I tend to stick my foot in my mouth I was afraid I would just come across as a confrontational know-it-all. )
post #12 of 26
A chest clip is a pre-crash positioner. It provides no protection in a crash, nor is it designed to. Its job is to make sure the straps are properly positioned before the moment of impact. If the straps are properly positioned and tightened, the chest clip will not matter. Really, truly, I promise.

The BundleMe will make the straps even looser than they already are. If you get the BundleMe out and the straps **properly positioned and tightened**, the seat will perform as designed and the child will be properly restrained even if the chest clip is too low..
post #13 of 26
Just to play devil's advocate... Is there a chance that she was getting ready to leave and was distracted because she is new to the group? And that she readjusted the straps in the car when she was alone and could focus?

I can see how I might just 'get babe into the seat' and worry about it when I was in the car rather than fuss over it while others might be watching me or trying to chat or say goodbye.

I agree with the others who have suggested gentle ways to comment about the bundle me. She probably just hasn't heard.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by curiouscanadian View Post
Really?? If I'd had the choice the battle I would've picked would've been the straps, not the cover...

I'm not trying to be argumentative here, but I just can't wrap my head around how the bundle me is worse than the chest clip position... I mean, the straps were practically slipping off the baby's shoulders with her just sitting there! It would NOT have taken much at all for the baby to be completely ejected from the seat.
I think what she was saying was that the BundleMe contributes to loose straps and loose straps with or without a BundleMe are certainly a problem, but the chest clip doesn't make straps loose. There are no chest clips at all on many (very safe) seats, including a few that used to be sold in North America. It seems to be an industry standard on seats now here, but it's not necessary to keeping the child safely secured in the car if the straps are properly tightened (though I am not in any way advocating NOT using one with a seat that comes with one, as the seat was tested with it, just pointing out that many seats don't have them and it's not what causes the child to stay in the seat, tight straps are).
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Oh, okay, didn't know that about the chest clip (you learn something new everyday, right? ).

So I get that the Bundle Me would make the straps even looser than they already are. But they were already loose. And if you're comparing a bit of slack to straps that are waaay out of position - which could be largely corrected with the chest clip in the right spot - would you still be most concerned about the Bundle Me? (I know, in an ideal world BOTH issues would be addressed, but play along with me please! )

So to satisfy my curiosity, in what order would you address each issue based on severity: strap tightness, bundle me or chest clip?

Oh, and:
Quote:
Is there a chance that she was getting ready to leave and was distracted because she is new to the group? And that she readjusted the straps in the car when she was alone and could focus?
I kept hoping this was the case until the mom bundled her with blankets on top of the straps. It's too cold here for it to be likely she would've taken off all the blankets to adjust the straps in a cold vehicle. But I could be wrong!
post #16 of 26
The chest clip will do nothing if the straps are too loose. The chest clip is likely to deform or break in a crash (because it's not intended to be a restraint, but merely a positioner), and then the loose straps will still be loose and out of position. Really, the chest clip is not important here. It would be ideal if it was ideally positioned, but belly clips don't kill kids. Loose straps kill kids.

So in order of importance:

1. Loose straps. Which are made looser by
1.5. BundleMe
46. Chest clip.
post #17 of 26
It's hard to approach someone not knowing how they will interpret your message. However, as long as you word it in a way where they don't get defensive then i think that is okay
post #18 of 26
In my super awesome circle of friends three of us are sortof car-seat nerds. Our friends hear us talking about it, hear us discuss installations and even watch us install carseats in carpool situations. And they still buckle their kids in wrong, or don't install the seats even remotely correctly. I don't correct anyone - its been years - they know we do it "right" and they don't.

I would not correct someone I had just met and potentially wanted to be friends with - especially is she was a 4th time mom and I was a 1st time mom.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by curiouscanadian View Post
So to satisfy my curiosity, in what order would you address each issue based on severity: strap tightness, bundle me or chest clip?
I agree with the above poster:

1) Strap tightness
2) Bundle Me
3) Chest Clip

Honestly, though, I would address the strap issue and as I was showing her how tight it should be would move the chest clip up (and mention that) at the same time. I would mention how 80-90% of car seats are used incorrectly and how even if you read the directions it is really hard how to do them right (and in the case of a 4th time mom say something like, "Especially when new information is coming out everyday!" so she can feel like maybe she is doing what was right with her first, but now things have changed).

Honestly, I have a few friends who I adjust their child's seat EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I see their kids in seats. They're not going to change, but they don't seem to mind me doing it and at least I know *that time* their child is safe.
post #20 of 26
Whenever I approach someone about something that needs adjusting I always act really casual about it and say something like "Oh hey, let me show you something....I just learned how to do this from [my midwife, Oprah, a fireman, a friend]....it's a lot safer this way...yeah, I had no idea either, there is so much to remember!"

I have found that most people are more receptive to suggestions this way (carseats, breastfeeding, feeding solids, crib mattresses, slings, etc.). In truth, I've usually researched the issue to death, but I never want to come across as a know-it-all (even if I really do know it all..)
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