If you’re bewildered by the range of car seats on the market, you’ll be pleased to read this advice from a paramedic mum on the things that count the most when it comes to keeping kids safe.
Advice from the experts
Blogging mum Krystal Kleidon and her husband are parents to 4-year-old Alexander and have another bub on the way. The couple are both paramedics, and have been present at the scenes of countless traumatic road accidents in their line of work.
Sadly they’ve learnt a thing or two about what keeps kids safe in cars – and what doesn’t. In the hopes of keeping as many kiddos safe and sound as possible, they’re keen to share their perspective on car seat safety with the world.
Krystal published their tips in a potentially life-saving update on her Project Hot Mess Facebook page, and it will not only demystify the task of choosing a seat wisely, it will confirm just how vital correct restraint is when it comes to keeping kids safe.
Thoughts on Car Seats from Paramedics… feel free to share. Alexander turned 4 and we decided it was time to get him a…
So many options
“Alexander turned 4 and we decided it was time to get him a new car seat, with a baby on the way we knew we could use his old one for her and buy him a new seat for the next 4 or so years. So we purchased this one and love it,” Krystal explained, alongside a cute image of her kiddo being held aloft in his new car seat.
She recognises that there is a lot of chatter amongst parents about the best types of seats – and much misinformation too.
“I’m a member of a lot of mothers groups and communities and the discussion around car seats is ALWAYS a heated one. 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 wrote.
Krystal says her job has highlighted the most vital element of car seat safety – and it’s been illustrated time and time again in a staggering – and at times tragic – way.
“I wanted to share something my husband and I were discussing. See, together we have over 20 years of on road experience as Paramedics. We have been to more car accidents than you could imagine and seen more mangled car seats than I’d like to share.”
“Not a single one”
But here’s the clincher. The thing that it’s so very, very important to note.
“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.”
“We’ve seen car seats ejected from vehicles, we’ve seen cars that have rolled over so many times you can barely tell which way is up, we’ve seen accidents where you would be certain there would be no survivors. But in our experience, the biggest difference between a child’s safety hasn’t been if they were in the $600 car seat or the $200 one. It’s been about those straps.”
Take a closer look
While getting your child safely restrained in the car can be an epic battle at times, this experienced mum wants us to take a closer look at HOW we’re buckling up. Krystal urges all parents and carers to critically assess the way they’re strapping their child into the seat – rather than simply ‘going through the motions’ or quickly clicking in battle-weary relief and closing the car door.
“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?”
She also prompts parents to consider whether their child would stay safely contained if they were held aloft in their seat – or even tipped upside down – reminding us all that correctly restraining children is not only non-negotiable, it’s something that needs to assessed regularly.
“Would you be confident in doing THIS to them? Would you be confident in turning your child upside down in their seat? 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. But they can only do this if your child is restrained properly.”
Krystal urges us to think about optimal child safety, every time we strap our kids into their seats, and make any necessary adjustments before taking to the road.
“So next time you buckle your child in, ask yourself… would I be confident in turning them upside down in their seat right now?”