Mum warns parents about dangers of child car seat “belt covers”

Baby car seat straps

Another week, another warning about correct usage of children’s car seats, as a family counts their lucky stars their baby escaped a crash with her life.

Slippery straps

Hannah McKinney’s two-month-old daughter was strapped into her car seat when the car flipped and rolled not once, but twice. Baby Robin was ejected from the seat on impact, breaking her arm and also sustaining injuries from broken glass in her head.

“The vehicle cartwheeled twice and rested on its side,” Hannah recalls.

Read more on kids and car safety:
The popular car mirror that made a baby’s car seat catch on fire
Grandma’s urgent car seat warning to mums and dads
Mum’s chilling warning about correctly buckling car seats

Hannah says the sheepskin seatbelt covers on the straps of Robin’s seat meant the straps slipped off her baby’s shoulders when the car crashed.

PSA to all parents and soon to be parents! These were on my 2 month old daughters car seat when she was involved in a…

Posted by Hannah Mckinney on Tuesday, 27 March 2018

While the straps were firmly secured, the placement of these sheepskin covers meant they didn’t restrain her baby correctly. This resulted in the failure of the seat on impact as this tiny baby went hurtling out of the car, at speed.

“When we got to the vehicle all straps were tight and intact plus car seat still in base still attached to seat,” Hannah says, “but with the force of the vehicle the sheep skin slid against her shirt and made her go flying out.”

Safety trumps comfort

While these sheepskin covers had obviously been installed with baby Robin’s comfort in mind, Hannah warns parents that anything that doesn’t come standard with your car seat should not be used – and may put your child at risk.

“Please please please people DO NOT put things on a car seat that did not come that way from the manufacturer. Plus anything on a car seat in a accident voids the warranty!”

“We had to learn the hard way and I thank god everyday that he had his hands on her!” Hannah says. “They may look cute and it may be soft but for your child’s safety don’t do it.”

Think before you drive

Experts warn that just because products like this are on sale, it doesn’t mean they are safe to use. These strap covers interfere with the safety-tested positioning of the straps and harness, making them ineffective when it counts the most.

It’s also good to note that other car products aimed at kids can pose dangers, and any loose items in a car has the potential to be dangerous in an accident.

The ABC recently reported “everything from luggage to soda pop cans that were not tied down were responsible for more than 13,000 injuries in accidents nationwide in just one year” (in the US). They highlighted a case where a child’s skull was cracked by a flying mobile phone when a vehicle crashed.

As the weather gets cooler, remember also that bulky jackets and garments – or blankets tucked under your baby’s car seat harness can pose a risk to the seat’s effectiveness if its involved in an accident.

We’re so glad this story ultimately had a happy ending. Thanks to Hannah for sharing her story and warning other parents.

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