As paramedics, Krystal Kleidon and her husband had an interesting perspective when it came to buying their son, Alexander, a car seat. While many parents worry about which car seat is the best one, the one that will keep their child the most safe, Kleidon knew that the brand doesn't matter as much as how you use it.
She took to Facebook to share with other parents the best way to make sure a car seat is safe, from a paramedic's perspective. Kleidon posted a photo of herself and her husband turning their car seat upside down, with Alexander strapped inside, to the Facebook page for her blog, Project Hot Mess.
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"I’m a member of a lot of mothers groups and communities and the discussion around car seats is ALWAYS a heated one," Kleidon wrote in the post. "People give their opinions on rear facing vs forward facing, side seat vs middle seat, chest clip height (FYI - Australia doesn’t use chest clips), straps, wearing jumpers… if there’s something to have an opinion on, it has been discussed before."
She and her husband have 20 years of paramedic experience in combination, she wrote, and they've witnessed the aftermath of many car accidents and "seen more mangled car seats than I’d like to share."
That's why the way parents use a car seat matters so much more than how much they pay for it, she wrote.
"It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a car seat if you DON’T strap your child in. Between my husband and I, in our 20 years experience, we have NOT seen a single child harmed in a car accident where the child was restrained in their seat properly. Not a single one."
But how can you know that you've strapped your kid in properly? That's where the upside-down test comes in.
"How tight are you making the straps on your child’s seat? Can they pull their own arms out of them? Can you only fit one or two fingers underneath them? Do they have a big puffy jacket on that stops them from being strapped in properly?
Would you be confident in doing THIS to them," Kleidon wrote, referring to the photo. "Would you be confident in turning your child upside down in their seat?"
She reiterates that no matter how fancy your car seat is, it only works if your kid is strapped in well.
"Car seats have incredible safety designs now, they are designed to cocoon your child, protect them as they roll and are thrown around in an accident," Kleidon wrote. "but they can only do this if your child is restrained properly."
Refinery29 has reached out to Kleidon and will update this story if we receive a response.
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