Car Seat Safety- Do you say something?

We joke about it all the time on Facebook. Those darn car seat nazi’s. We as mom’s get defensive of our children and so when someone says something to insult our ability we take it personally and we go into fight or flight. Some delete the picture and then never post car seat pics again. Others get defensive and swear they’d never do that having never been there.

Then it happens.

And you feel like an ass.


We were on our way out and I was about to back out and Gavin had a smile ear to ear in hisΒ Britax Parkway SGL Booster Seat so I grabbed my phone and snapped his pic. Then I looked at the pic and saw his seat belt. Why I didn’t notice til then but I did and I immediately put the van in park.

I fixed it. I noticed his seat belt wasn’t in the belt slot on the side of the seat.
but wait. why am I still getting bashed?

I was so concerned with Sawyer’s seat that I completely even forgot Gavin’s needed changes. Yes, we are rear facing longer in his Britax Advocate 70-G3.

Britax Advocate 70-G3 #momspotted 5

See, just because our child goes from an infant seat or to forward facing doesn’t mean you’re done adjusting. There are other parts of the seat that need to grow with the kids.

Gavin & Johnny in van. Britax booster headrest

See the difference? Was it embarrassing. Sure. Did I change his seat and he’s now safe? YUP.
Was it worth the embarrassment?

Do you say something or do you not? It seems like such a touchy subject.



  1. I don’t tend to say anything, even though I’m cringing inside. Usually I notice when it is super loose straps or the buckle is way too low. It is a VERY touchy subject to be sure. And sometimes the parent has the vehicle in park but just hasn’t made the adjustments yet.

    But I’ll say this, if know that your child isn’t buckled into their seats properly, don’t pick that time to snap a picture.

    Wait until they are so people don’t have that that uncomfortable feeling, wondering if you know that and if they should say something. I guarantee you, many of the people that say something don’t actually want to say anything at all.

    People who mention it aren’t trying to be mean people. They just worry about the safety of your kids. And sometimes we as parents don’t know when we are doing something wrong. We aren’t all experts in car seat safety and I’d rather have someone blast me on facebook so I realize my mistake and make the adjustment than get into a car accident and realize my kid was not safely buckled in.

    • I do the same thing as Emilie… tend to not say anything, cringe, and mull if I really should say something anyway. It’s so hard, especially online, to know how your words will be taken. I of course have the best of intentions and really, really want to say something, but I worry it will come off as being a know-it-all and them just being mad and my suggestion ignored.

      This is a great post though. It takes a big person to admit when they were wrong. But, it shows that safety and our kids really should come first! Great job!

  2. Claire says

    It’s an incredibly touchy subject! I have banned myself from looking at the carseat hashtag on instagram, nit only because there are so many improperly buckled babies and kids, but because of the attacks from the women who don’t like what they see. I don’t have a problem with the ones who leave a short comment, pointing out a mistake. It might be that single comment that makes a parent realize that they are doing it incorrectly, and therefore change the way they do it! But some of those commenters are relentless and downright cruel.

    I’m glad you quickly made the changes!

  3. I can see myself doing the same thing; posting a pic and then realizing oopsies! It happens to all of us. If I were to say it to someone, I certainly wouldn’t blast them. I would just say it nicely. I don’t know why people need to be mean about it; I’ve seen nasty comments on some folks’ pages at times about all kinds of things. A little kindness goes a long way. And if I make a mistake, sure I want to know but you don’t have to rake me over the coals to tell me. Sorry you got blasted that way.

  4. You know what I wish? I wish that more people would realize the importance of car seat safety and really take it into consideration instead of getting defensive. I love the way you responded to this entire situation. It’s a fine line, because as a “car seat nazi”, I always have the child’s best interest in mind and I don’t want to insult the parent. I always try to be SUPER nice about it, because most of the time, people just don’t know. Still, I’ve been cursed at and blocked by people even when I go out of my way to be nice. I’m so glad you posted this!

  5. Christine M says

    I don’t say anything and you are right it is such a touchy subject. And I know I will get hateful comments for this but I am gonna say it. Some women get all pissy and self-righteous when they see an improperly restrained child in a car seat. They start writing in caps and using a gazillion exclamation points. And Heaven forbid a parent turn their child around after 1 in their own car. All heck breaks loose. My hubby and I joke about how safe we were being held by our parents in the car back in the day. Not that we would ever do that now. Too many cars and inexperienced drivers out there ;). I think if they didn’t yell and demand a company or person immediately remove the “offending” picture but calmly stated “hey just thought I would let you know your child is not correctly buckled in and you can fix it by yadda yadda yadda”, more parents wouldn’t get offended and would fix the problem right away.

  6. i think a person’s passion gets the better of them and we all know that text can quickly be taken the wrong way. someone’s CAPS can be a way to emphasize not YELL.

  7. This is SO important and YES I think everyone should say something when they see a child improperly put in a car seat. Because it could just be that the mom didn’t even know or didn’t notice at the time, like you. When Ryan was little I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to put them in with big winter coats on (until someone told me). And just YESTERDAY I noticed that Ryan’s forward-facing car seat had the shoulder straps way below shoulder level… I immediately moved them up, but how long had they been in the wrong spot?! Too long! And if you notice someone else is doing something that could cause harm and you didn’t say something… what if something happened?! Parents shouldn’t get offended, they should be thankful – exactly like you said, it was all worth the embarrassment. Good for you and thank you for sharing this post!

  8. Erin says

    I agree that it’s a touchy subject, but I think if someone posts a picture publicly, they’re putting it out there for commentary. I’d rather have someone point out my mistake then let my child keep riding unsafely just to avoid offending or embarrassing me. Having said that though, I just wish people would try to be more considerate when correcting someone… we are all trying to do our best and keep our kids safe. Sometimes the comments I see are so negative, instead of constructive and encouraging.

  9. I just posted one on Facebook yesterday and then realized the headrest was too low. Luckily no one said anything. We all make mistakes now and then, no need to flame other moms about how they are doing it wrong. I think it’s okay to point it out nicely.

  10. I always say something. If they get pissed off then they delete me, but I COULD save someone’s life, so I always say something.

  11. Melissa M says

    I feel or I like to think that I buckle my children up properly in their car seats. No twisted straps, everything is pulled up to where it is suppose to, no coats on in the seats. But with this case I will be honest and say that if you had not pointed it out I would not have noticed it. So yes I would have loved someone to say something to me. But in a nice respectfully way. And now I will be going out and checking my childrens seats to make sure it is adjusted correctly! πŸ™‚

  12. Betty Baez says

    Ive seen some but refrained from saying something because i didnt want to come off being rude or as if im a better mother in any way

  13. Someone who cares, will say something…but do it politley. carseat nazi’s are rightly called this because they bash not educate. I don’t know how we got to a place that we don’t know how to politely correct someone or disagree. Its sad really because when done right, this is the perfect example of helping a momma out. I didn’t see the photo or comments so I don’t know if they were polite, but I hope they were. We can’t all be perfect and those bashers just make me want to charge into their house and find all the things THEY do wrong!

  14. I think your post is a great reminder to parents to check their little one’s seats, thank you!! I am sure it was embarrassing but the important thing is your guy is safer now! πŸ˜‰ The thing that bothers me is when I see someone post a picture with the safety belt (or what have you) incorrectly positioned and someone says something and then goes into various blogging groups and asks for others to back them up and say something too. In my opinion that becomes bullying. I mean education only takes one person saying something, IMO. Thanks for sharing this reminder though, I’ll be checking our toddler’s seat today! πŸ™‚

  15. Jayme says

    If I see something, I try to post nicely if I am going to say something- not come across all superior and condescending. But more like, ‘Hey, I don’t know if you know, but your kid would be safer/the seat would work better if….’
    I also don’t bother making a seat suggestion comment if someone before me already has. No need to bombard the person with a million people telling them they’re doing something wrong!

  16. This is a VERY TOUCHY subject – but for a VERY GOOD REASON! This is a matter of life or death – so YES – SAY SOMETHING! Who cares if you offend someone, who cares if I get offended or you get offended… it’s WORTH IT. I am glad to see you wrote this post, from one ‘car seat nazi’ to another πŸ™‚

  17. Jessica says

    It happens to the best of us. I am a car seat tech, and I still sometimes look back and think, “Dang, how did I miss that?”

    I see terrible pictures posted all over fb every single day. Sometimes I say something, but a lot of times I don’t, because “most” people don’t want to hear it and automatically think you are questioning their parenting. πŸ™

    Good for you for taking it with a grain of salt and not being offended.

  18. Beth Scoggin says

    I was one who said something about the headrest being too low but it certainly wasn’t meant to bash you at all, and I”m sorry if you took it that way. But I’m definitely glad I said something because I’d much rather say something and someone get mad but hopefully think about what I said and fix it. I’m glad you adjusted it and he’s riding safer now πŸ™‚ It’s hard to keep up with everything, with all the changes in recommendations and all that so sometimes we need help from other moms to remind us of things. So glad you chose to keep Sawyer rear facing longer too!!!

    • Jennifer says

      You weren’t the only one who said something and you DEFINITELY said nothing wrong.

  19. No, I do not say anything. It’s not my job to parent other parents.

  20. Heidi Daily says

    I don’t say anything, but it drives me crazy, the ones that drive me the most crazy are the pictures of family members. I did say something to my cousin when she had her son turned around facing forward at 9 months, the straps wrong and a winter coat on.I was able to say something to her because I am close enough that I felt comfortable saying something and knew she actually cared, unfortunately she just honestly didn’t know any better about any of it. I think that there should be information available at the doctors’ offices and the doctors should review that information at check ups. My doctors always asked if my daughter was still facing backwards until after she was two, so they did at least advocate for that. I have another cousin whose wife is a Physicians Assistant at a family practice and she is always posting pictures of her three children not strapped in right and they range in ages from almost 1 to almost 5. Those are the ones that drive me the most crazy because it seems to like she should really know better.

  21. I generaly will give the mom the benefit of the doubt unless its someone i know then i will ride there asses until they stop the bad behavior or fix the seat. Like this one girl i know who never buckles her son into the seat even when on the highway. It drives me nuts and everytime i would see her i would say arent you going to buckle him in… She just didnt care and those are the moms that irritate me to the point of just screaming at them wake up you could kill your child… ITs sad to see how many moms will negligently avoid proper seatbelt regulations.

  22. I think when done tastefully, it is actually a help. I posted a picture of my boys in their winter coats and got chastised for having them on. It’s one way to do it tastefully, it’s another thing to make you feel dumb when someone makes you feel inadequate as a mom.

  23. I often refrain from saying anything, but try to get the courage to when I see things really wrong. I mostly refrain because I don’t want someone to thing I am judging them. I know no one is perfect and we all make mistakes.

  24. Kathy says

    I would say something, but I would probably do it privately and politely, with regard to someone’s feelings. Getting “blasted” is ridiculous. Moms blast themselves all day long over every tiny, itty bitty perceived “mistake” they make. We don’t need to be blasted by others over something like that. As if any one else has never made a mistake. Point it out, yes, because it’s a big safety deal, but mean? No.

  25. Jaimin says

    I would say something, but like others have said, try to message that mother/father/caregiver privately, and if not, say it nicely. What I don’t like is when women *do* blast parents/caregivers, posting their pics, or still shots of a video online, making them an example to everyone out there, pointing out everything that they did wrong. That is bullying, and as parents/caregivers, we need to be kind and supportive of one another. There is enough bullying going on in this world today, I don’t think it’s necessary to go to those extreme measures. Some people just don’t know. I do think that your situation was handled respectfully on both ends, and you’re using it to educate others. Great post. πŸ™‚

  26. Danielle F says

    If it is something serious I might say something but as gentle as I can. I know that all mothers are just trying to do there best for their children and sometimes just don’t know, or were distracted. But I would never say something publicly because I wouldn’t want to shame them or make them feel worse.
    If someone corrects me, I am hurt but I would change it if they were right. My child’s safety comes before my pride!

  27. Jenny says

    I usually do say something, if no one else has. I don’t want to come off mean or offensive, but if I notice something that could potentially save a child’s life, why not say it?

  28. Anne says

    It sounds like you took it well. Good for you! And may I say that your boy’s smile is simply adorable!

  29. Vickie Couturier says

    To be honest I didnt notice,,but back when my kids were small it wasnt a law to have them buckled in a car seat,but I did ,now with the grandchildren ,I use what the parents leave for me,,so looks like I need to do some research on proper car seat rules,,thanks for posting this

  30. Janet W. says

    Very cute kids you have! I’d actually welcome any advice based on a picture I’ve posted, especially if it could save my child’s life. But there is a nice way of doing it, for sure.

  31. Beth R says

    Isn’t that funny how that works. They always take great pictures when there is something wrong in the picture. I think it is an evil conspiracy lol. As moms we have so much going on, it is so hard to keep track of everything. One day as I was backing the car out of the driveway my 3 years old screams, “mommy I’m not buckled.” yep, mom of the year πŸ™‚

  32. Tammy S says

    I would say something in a supportive way. turn it more into a “I made this mistake and found out the correct way” type situation. I am sometimes shocked by the way some people treat others online. I am tired of the mommy bashing or blogger versus blogger bashing. I would love to see mother’s supporting other mother’s. We are all busy trying to handle everything and could use help from our peers. I remember my car seat was the floor of my mom’s car. Let’s all look out for each other and show kindness.

  33. Mary Beth (@BoosPlace) says

    YES we should say something. you can get constructive criticism without being mean. I think it could mean life and death of a child. I know people can get offended when people get into their business, however if your going to post a bad photo you should suffer to consequences.

  34. Chrissy J. says

    I would’ve never noticed the seatbelt unless you pointed it out. All I saw was your cute son.

  35. I didn’t notice, but if I had noticed something that would be a safety issue I’d probably have let you know…in a polite and kind way.

  36. courtney b says

    i usually dont say anything never even really noticed the seat belt!

  37. Dena Sablotny says

    On any other NON Giveaway post. Comment must be constructive and relevant.
    (can do this daily but must be different posts. All must be posts published in previous 2 week period) I can’t believe someone blasted you in such a rude manner. Shame on them! Gentle reminders are much nicer!

  38. Meg Tucker says

    Now you have me thinking……How many times have I actullay done this? I promise I’ll do better!

  39. I think it’s hard when kids are tall. Both of my kids are. Nebraska has a rule that they can’t be in a booster seat until they turn 5 and are over a certain amount of pounds. Well both of my boys weigh average, but are super tall. It’s like they don’t fit in their seats.

  40. Betsy Barnes says

    You took it well, lol! On the rare occasions when I notice something, I will, politely email. There is way too much “bashing” as it is. πŸ™‚

  41. Nancy Bowers says

    I grew up without car seats and the car seats in 1980 for my oldest were primitive compared to today! But a little embarrassment for safety is definitely worth it.

  42. Randi says

    What drives me nuts is that SO many parents drive around with carseats but their kids are standing in the cars. Even a school parking lot isn’t a safe place to be unbuckled.

  43. Molly Bussler says

    I experience the same thing as Randi – so many parents let their children stand in the seats, or put them in the seats, but not strapped in, I really don’t know “what” they are thinking?!

  44. Jen Gonyer says

    I would probably say something. I wouldn’t want a child’s life in danger because of a car seat issue. I would be very careful as to how I brought it up though. And I think that a parent would want to know, just in case. I would want to know, but I know I would be embarrassed also!

  45. Maria Iemma says

    It is so hard to keep your eyes on everything – we all try and sometimes we miss something important. If I had noticed I would have gently mentioned it the way that I would like someone point out to me when I have done the same thing or similar

  46. It’s definitely a touchy subject…as long as people are polite and have the best interests of the children in mind I think it’s ok to be meddlesome sometimes….thanks for ‘fessing up!

  47. haha. I’m one of those “car seat Nazi” you speak of, or as most call us, “Car Seat Police”. I’m ok with either title though. I DO say something. Not because I’m better than anyone else but because there are a TON of people out there who don’t know the correct way to put a child in a car seat. People say “it’s not rocket science” but I assure you, it’s pretty damn close, lol. People don’t read the manual, they just think because the child is in the seat they are safe – end of story and that’s not quite how it works. Prime example, you knew his belt has to be in the positioning slot so it falls exactly where it should, you noticed his head rest was too low. BUT some parents wouldn’t even blink an eye at those mistakes. Do I get my head bit off? ALL.THE.TIME! Will that stop me from commenting? Not at all πŸ™‚

    I am nice about it and say “just some friendly advice….” but moms go into instantly mama bear mode and don’t give an eff what you are saying. They assume you are trying to parent their child or call them a horrible mom. Which again, no one is trying to do that or say that what so ever.

    I wish people would just listen, do research about someone makes a comment, then can say ‘thank you’ because in the end we are going out of our way to make sure YOUR (the general you.. not YOU jen, lol) child is safe. Doesn’t that make us a good person?

  48. Cynthia Notebaert says

    I’m big on car seat safety also. It bugs me so much to see misuse, but I”m not as outgoing to say anything. I wish I was.

  49. Barnolds Barnes says

    I would totally want to know if my son was in his car seat improperly.its not worth the risk to my child. I’d probably like some back up though…like where you got the info so I knew you were legit πŸ™‚

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