A few weeks ago I posted a picture of Madison in the car - one of those "we're on our way to..." posts. She was smiling in the early dawn light
Madison is six and a half. Madison is in a high back booster with a seatbelt - a totally appropriate car seat for her age, weight and height. She was buckling in the picture, but it was clear that the belt was going through the guide and hitting her at all the right places.
And still, I had a car seat crusader message me to "wonder" why she wasn't in a harnessed seat, and if I was sure that the seat belt was actually fitting her correctly, and maybe she could help me find an appropriate seat for her.
Fortunately, I know a lot about kids and cars and carseats, and I was able to confidently say that I knew Madison was properly buckled. And I know this particular person and could take her criticism with a grain of salt.
But let me tell you, if I were a new parent, already insecure about everything and worried that I was going to kill the baby with everything I did, I would never post a picture of my baby in the car. And as it is, I don't post any of Reagan, because she's still harnessed and I know I'll get the,
"That chest clip needs to be moved up/down 3 mm or so or she'll die. Just thought you'd like to know! She's so cute!"
Any picture, of any child, in any car seat, ever brings out the car seat warriors. No one is safe. Not car companies, stores that sell car seats, car seat companies that post pictures on the box, best friends, random bloggers, celebrities. To these vigilantes, you are always doing something wrong.
The coat looks too heavy. They're in the wrong seat, facing the wrong way. The straps look a hair loose. That strap has a little fold. And that chest clip. Always the chest clip. If a car seat vigilante can't find anything else wrong, if the child, in fact, was placed in the seat by a car seat safety tech as an example of "how to strap a child into a car seat", these warriors will scrutinize the chest clip. It's too high, or it's too low, and if you don't fix it, your child will almost assuredly die. Which is sad, because they love your child. Why don't you? If you did, you'd fix it without getting all annoyed.
What most people don't seem to know is:
a) the chest clip is only a positioner to keep the straps in the right spot and is actually likely to break in an accident.
b) "armpit" level can actually encompass several different positions, all of which are totally fine.
But it's there. And it's easy to use your superior scrutinizing skills, looking at a picture on your phone, to determine that you are better than someone else, with regards to car seats at least.
So I roll my eyes. And I usually let whoever is being judged know that, most of the time, they're fine.
And I will never post a harnessed picture. Because I don't need that nonsense.