How Can I Offer a Relative Car Seat Advice Without It Coming Across as Shaming?

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QUESTION: How Can I Offer Someone Car Seat Advice?

“Hello, my boyfriend’s brother and brother’s fiancé have our nephew forward-facing at 8 months as well as wearing thick bodysuits, which doesn’t follow safety guidelines as well.

They also keep the straps loose so as not to ‘hurt him.’ Can you mamas help me on how to address this with them in a way that doesn’t sound like I am parent shaming? Car seat safety isn’t a parenting choice and they definitely think it is.”

RELATED: What Age Should My Child Be Forward-Facing in Her Car Seat?

How Can I Offer a Relative Car Seat Advice Without It Coming Across as Shaming?

Community Answers

The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

“’Hey! I saw this really interesting video about car seat safety. Wanted to pass it along in case you haven’t seen it. It’s a MUST see for sure.'” Then follow up with an awesome YouTube video about car seat safety.”

“So, let your BOYFRIEND know how serious it is and to let him know to make sure they are following the guidelines of your state, for his nephew.”

“As much info as there is out there on car seat safety I’m almost certain they know what they are doing is wrong and just do not care just like they will not care on your input on raising their child. Good luck, though.”

“I would send an anonymous package with the laws, safety guidelines for kids for that particular brand. Honestly if they are that unsafe in the car, I can only imagine how they are at home. Seriously, you need to really evaluate if the baby’s safety in their car and home is not worth ruffling feathers. If this baby dies in an accident or because of unsafe practices at home, because you didn’t want to upset them directly or anonymously via package, you will regret it.”

“Go for a ride with her and ask her to stop at the fire station… on the premise you want to pick up a t-shirt. Mention that they give free safety inspections on installation of car seats and it would not hurt to get a cute fireman to give you some attention. The firemen/EMTs are the ones who clean up the messes from accidents and they will set her straight. They actually won’t let you leave if they see a child in an improperly installed car seat.”

“There isn’t a single state where an 8 month old can legally be forward facing. They’re breaking the law. Inform them of that, and why it’s law in the first place.”

“Depending on where you live there are laws about car seats. My state requires babies under 1 to be rear facing. They will ticket you for not doing so. Check your area about the laws. I had a friend who lost her fiance and child in a wreck. They said the child was not strapped in correctly causing his death. She later committed suicide due to the guilt she felt. She was the driver. When it comes to life and death you should not worry about hurting their feelings. Provide them with sources and tell them you only want the best for them and their baby.”

“I follow a car seat safety technician here on Facebook- In The Know Car Seat Pro. You could always do the same and share posts with relevant info on your feed…

… I found the lady because she commented on a picture comment on a Graco ad. Someone posted a picture showing off their child in a Graco seat. The child was improperly buckled in and the technician commented saying as much. The parent was offended, but I learned something new about car seat safety and told her as much, then followed her. I’ve learned several things I wasn’t aware of since then…

… So, yes, people can be offended but maybe sharing a post in your feed could subtly educate. The other way is to say, “did you know you should only be able to get 2 fingers between baby and the straps?” or “did you know you shouldn’t be able to pinch the straps? I didn’t until I saw a post from a car seat technician. I changed mine right away!”People can be offended, but it’s on them if they disregard your advice and something happens. At least you know you did what you could.”

“Talk to your MIL! If she cares anything about the kid. She will handle it. It is her son that’s being irresponsible with her grandchild.”

“I would show them the difference in the seat by removing the body suit and showing them the difference. Show them the space in between the car seat. A great way to act is act like you’ve also been doing it and just learned this information. Say something like, ‘hey, I went to this car seat safety seminar at the local fire department and just wanted to share this information.’ That way you can act like you just learned it yourself.”

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