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Not tightening straps for infant carseat

post #1 of 123
Thread Starter 
I went to pick up my son from school the other day and as I did so another mom was carrying her 4-5 month old in his car-seat on her way to get her older child. I happened to notice that the seatbelt was VERY loose - not tightened in the slightest.

I really, really wanted to say something to her but I didn't know what to say or how to phrase it so I just ignored it. I considered the option that maybe she just loosened it for the moment while she was carrying the car-seat and that she would tighten it up again before driving off in the car (I HOPE that was the case!)...

But I see this often at our LLL meetings -- moms don't tighten up the seatbelts for their infants because the babies cry and don't like them tight. I know its none of my business, but I worry about the safety of those babies. What if something happened like that mother got into a collision and her baby died because of it and there was someting that *I* could have done or said to prevent that from happening? I feel bad not doing or saying anything.

What would you have done or said to this mom?
post #2 of 123
i would have said , oh my the starps are really loose.. JUST SO YOU KNOW and then smiled really
and then....
they probably would hate me and gossip about me like more than half the moms at my sons school already do
post #3 of 123
I made a promise to myself that I will offer that unsolicited advice - it may just save a life. I would say, "hey I noticed the straps are way loose. I used to do that too until someone pointed out that they wouldn't save the baby at *all* in a crash." Then if they were receptive I would mention how tight they should be and that it should be tight enough that if we turned the seat upside down the baby would be strapped in all safe. And the chest piece being at the right height. I see it down too low all the time. I haven't had anyone be rude to me yet.

Carolynn
post #4 of 123
Thread Starter 
Roflmao!!!
post #5 of 123
post #6 of 123
I've got a similar struggle. I babysit a little girl since she was 4months old. She is now 13 months old. Every time I go to put her in the carseat her mother leaves for her I am AMAZED at how loose the straps are. I tighten them up. Then mom complaines about it later when SHE has to loosen them. We've talked about it. It makes no difference.

I HAVE succesfully convinced her to leave her rear facing beyond the first birthday. At least so far!
post #7 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynnMarilynn View Post
Then if they were receptive I would mention how tight they should be and that it should be tight enough that if we turned the seat upside down the baby would be strapped in all safe. And the chest piece being at the right height. I see it down too low all the time. I haven't had anyone be rude to me yet.
Carolynn
What is it that they say about two fingers? That you should be able to fit just two fingers between the belt and their body? (Where do you do that test, at the top of the shoulder? or by their chest piece?).
post #8 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kivgaen View Post
What is it that they say about two fingers? That you should be able to fit just two fingers between the belt and their body? (Where do you do that test, at the top of the shoulder? or by their chest piece?).
since different people have different sized fingers, the pinch test is more accurate. if you can pinch a horizontal fold at the shoulders it's too loose.
post #9 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhf View Post
since different people have different sized fingers, the pinch test is more accurate. if you can pinch a horizontal fold at the shoulders it's too loose.

Ah, ok. That's a good rule of thumb, thanks. I'll remember that if it comes up again or if I see the same thing again today.
post #10 of 123
Thanks for this piece of info. I KNOW that the straps need to be tight, I make sure they are very snug. My sister, for her baby, not so much, and the chest piece is way low. My DH has also said how I have the straps too tight, but he doesn't loosen them. Now, I have an actual guideline for them to follow! yea!
post #11 of 123
My SIL and brother did this with my neice when she was younger. I hated it and I got my mom to say something to them. They didn't care, they did it anyway. I think one problem is that some of the cheaper infant car seats are not easily adjustable. You have to go in from the back and tighten the straps, and not just pull a cord on the bottom. If that is the case, you can't easily tighten or loosen the straps to get baby in and out, and it is such a hassle to get them in when the straps are already tight! This was the case with my neice, and her mom was too lazy to tighten it from the back each time she put her in. I think it is a flaw in the design of the car seats. It's not something that new mothers would even think to look for when choosing a car seat either.
post #12 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennica View Post
My SIL and brother did this with my neice when she was younger. I hated it and I got my mom to say something to them. They didn't care, they did it anyway. I think one problem is that some of the cheaper infant car seats are not easily adjustable. You have to go in from the back and tighten the straps, and not just pull a cord on the bottom. If that is the case, you can't easily tighten or loosen the straps to get baby in and out, and it is such a hassle to get them in when the straps are already tight! This was the case with my neice, and her mom was too lazy to tighten it from the back each time she put her in. I think it is a flaw in the design of the car seats. It's not something that new mothers would even think to look for when choosing a car seat either.
I totally agree with this; our infant car seat was this way, and I hated it!

But yes, I see kids in car seats with loose straps all the time, and not just infants. Many of the people who do this are friends too, but I have never said anything...
post #13 of 123
I see that all the time and it drives me nuts! The other day, at the doctor's office, there was a baby in a carrier and the straps weren't even on his shoulders they were so loose. And the people had just walked in from the car, I highly doubt they loosened the straps just upon exiting the car.

I've been known to tighten straps when people aren't looking. Not perfect strangers, because that would just be weird, but friends and family.

I just don't think it's rocket science and I can't understand what the problem is. If the straps are loose, the kid can fly out in an accident. End of story.

I tried telling someone her daughter's straps were loose one time. The baby was actually picking up the chest clip and putting it in her mouth, it was that loose. And she said, "Well, sometimes it's looser or tighter depending on what she's wearing and I'm not about to mess with the straps every time!" And that was a college educated person too. Makes you wonder if they can start offering courses in common sense.
post #14 of 123
I would appreciate someone telling me. There were a few times when DS was small that we realized after we arrived somewhere that we had forgotten to tighten the straps. We were so horrified!
post #15 of 123
I have started telling people when I see it incorrectly used (too loose of straps or incorrect chest clip placement). I even made sure it was brought up when a local fire marshall visited our MOPs group (even though he didn't come to talk about carseat safety lol) because I had noticed a number of moms using it incorrectly in the past. I don't know if people think I'm rude or get mad when I tell them and gossip about it, but I at least want that info out there in case they really didn't know they were doing it wrong...or feel guilted into doing it right if they were just slacking off! I would want someone to let me know if they knew something I was doing was incorrect for my child's safety... my kids mean everything to me!
post #16 of 123

actually...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kivgaen View Post
What is it that they say about two fingers? That you should be able to fit just two fingers between the belt and their body? (Where do you do that test, at the top of the shoulder? or by their chest piece?).
It's actually ONE finger now in Canada. I just found out about that new law from the NICU when I left with my DS a month ago.

I don't know if it's the same in the USA too though.

Sheal
post #17 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by bandgeek View Post
I've been known to tighten straps when people aren't looking. Not perfect strangers, because that would just be weird, but friends and family.
What's the point in that? When the kid starts screaming, they'll just loosen them again.

The chest clip - what is anybody supposed to do about that, anyway? DD hates it, and as soon as we're in motion, she shoves it down. The only time she doesn't is when she falls asleep. I don't think stopping dead in traffic is any safer than leaving it like that, so I'm not sure how to fix it...

I'm still not sold on the freaking things, anyway - and every time I read a thread like this, I'm less sold on them.
post #18 of 123
You're not sold on car seats? They have greatly reduced deaths and injuries in children in car accidents. :

As for proper placement of the chest clip, it not only holds the straps in the proper location, but it needs to be in the correct place to minimize injuries to the child's body. My children don't move it down once it's in place (well, Grace did a couple times til I told her under no uncertain terms is she to do so because she could get hurt). I can see how some older kids can, but especially w/ infant seats most are not able to do so on their own. It's the parents' responsibility to be sure their children are correctly and safely in their seats in a moving vehicle.
post #19 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by LinzluvsGJ View Post
You're not sold on car seats? They have greatly reduced deaths and injuries in children in car accidents. :
Really? Got any links? I've honestly never read anything that says that. I"ve seen all kinds of car seat propaganda, here and elsewhere, but nothing substantial.

Quote:
As for proper placement of the chest clip, it not only holds the straps in the proper location, but it needs to be in the correct place to minimize injuries to the child's body. My children don't move it down once it's in place (well, Grace did a couple times til I told her under no uncertain terms is she to do so because she could get hurt). I can see how some older kids can, but especially w/ infant seats most are not able to do so on their own. It's the parents' responsibility to be sure their children are correctly and safely in their seats in a moving vehicle.
So, basically, it's my responsibility to not drive. DD can and does move down the chest clip. I've told her she can get hurt. I've told her that many times. It makes no difference. I know what the clip is for - if I've wasted the money and time on the freaking seats, I might as well use them properly. But, I'm not the one in the seat, and there's absolutely no way I can make sure the clip is in place while driving.
post #20 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
What's the point in that? When the kid starts screaming, they'll just loosen them again.

The chest clip - what is anybody supposed to do about that, anyway? DD hates it, and as soon as we're in motion, she shoves it down. The only time she doesn't is when she falls asleep. I don't think stopping dead in traffic is any safer than leaving it like that, so I'm not sure how to fix it...

I'm still not sold on the freaking things, anyway - and every time I read a thread like this, I'm less sold on them.

The chest clip is a pre crash positioner, she slips it down to her belly and you have a HUGE likelyhood of her being ejected from the entire vehicle during a crash. Thus she's at a huge risk for death, unfortunately. Take her weight and multiply it by how fast your going at the time of impact and that's how heavy she'll be during a crash. Heavy things have a tendancy to want to fly out during crashes. Adults have airbags. Airbags aren't pillows that are used to catch your soft falling graceful head during a crash- they're used to stop your body from trying to fly out the windshield.

The chest clips ONLY purpose is to make sure the shoulder straps stay on top of the shoulders (which is much harder to do when you've got a CHEST clip on your BELLY) I understand the pulling it down, but if it was taught at an early age that the clip stays up and the harness is tight no matter what- chances are it wouldn't be an issue now. But given your general response and skepticism, I can understand why your DD is non compliant.

I'm not even going to address the "freaking things" comment- One of my good friends is an accident reconstructionist (sp?) and i've heard about way too many crashes, seen way too many crashes not to believe in "those freaking things".
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