Trying to wrangle a squirming toddler or a screaming baby into a car seat is exhausting. The straps are tight, the space constricting, and if you're anything like me, you've probably had a moment of weakness. When you want to loosen the straps a little. Maybe turn that rear-facing car seat around because your kid will calm down if they can just eyeball you. If you ever needed a reminder that winning that particular battle of wills is imperative, this mom's viral photo of her kids' car seat should serve that purpose nicely. Because giving in to your kids might feel like the easy way out of a tough moment, but it can have life-altering, long term effects if you're not careful.
Jenna Casado Rabberman of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, posted a cautionary tale for friends and family on Facebook on Tuesday about car seat safety. She wrote:
I'm not one to post anything too heavy or personal on Facebook but guys... THIS is why you buckle your kids into their car seats correctly every SINGLE time. Even when they scream because the straps are tight. Even when they complain about the chest clip or being rear facing. We stopped for milk on the way home from preschool yesterday. We were minutes from home. Someone sped through a red light and slammed into us.
She shared a picture of the damage done to her vehicle... and the condition of her two car seats (which had been properly secured in the back seat).
Rabberman went on to note that, while it might seem frustrating to make sure your children are properly secured, it is absolutely worth the time:
You never think it will happen to you. My boys escaped without a scratch but the paramedics told me it could have been very different had I not taken the extra 2 minutes to be sure they were buckled correctly. I will be fine, my kids are fine, everything else can be replaced. Sending thanks to God for keeping us safe (along with Honda, Graco & Chicco).
Rabberman's post has since been shared more than 92,000 times on Facebook in the past 24 hours, with many parents commenting that this photo has reaffirmed their dedication to ensuring their child's car seat is properly secured.
As for Rabberman, she is simply happy to know her children are safe despite the terrible accident. She told Romper via email:
All I can say is to take the time to educate yourself. My younger son is only 6 WEEKS old. This could have ended so much differently. Kids are worth the extra minute it takes to check their seats. Everything else in my car can be replaced, they can't be.
Last week marked National Child Passenger Safety Week, which is a good time for parents to make sure their car seat is right for their child and that they are securing their child properly in the car. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines:
- All car seats are meant to be installed using either the vehicle's seat belt or the LATCH system (lower anchors and tethers for children).
- Infants and toddlers up to two years of age should be in a rear-facing car seat, until they reach the maximum weight and height recommended by the manufacturer.
- Toddlers and preschoolers should be in a forward-facing car seat, either a convertible or a car seat with a safety harness, until they reach the highest weight and height recommended by the car seat manufacturer.
- Children who have reached a minimum of 4 feet 9 inches (generally around 8-12 years old) should be secured in a booster seat, and all children under 13 should ride in the backseat.
As Rabberman found out, staying educated about car seat safety isn't just a good idea; it's a literal lifesaver.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.