Experts claim that car seat and stroller safety are among two of the most important things for parents to get right. After all, these two mechanisms, no matter how advanced, are used in some of the more risky moments of a typical child's day-to-day life. Of course, some of the designs we're seeing nowadays are pretty impressive; almost futuristic, in fact. Strollers and car seats of today completely overshadow those of the past. Click here to read more about the best strollers of 2019. But many things can still go wrong, especially when it comes to how parents use them.
This is why we've created this list. Chances are, every mom who reads this list will recognize something they've done and, hopefully, gotten away with. The vast majority of the entries on this list will apply to parents who spring for products on the top of the line as well as those who purchase the cheapest ones available. Because these mistakes really aren't associated with the product itself, more so the individuals using them.
Let's face it: A lot of mistakes can happen when it comes to the use and misuse of car seats and strollers. And sometimes these mistakes don't correct themselves, especially when they continue to happen over and over again. So, without further ado, here are 10 things moms get wrong when using car seats (and 10 they get wrong with strollers).
20 Car Seats: Those Puffy Coat Problems
When it comes to car seats, one of the most egregious mistakes that moms can make is to wrap their kids up in thick layers after they're buckled in. Although this seems like an odd issue, the consequences of this choice can be notable. During the cold weather, snow bibs, suits, and puffy coats tend to be worn to keep kids worn. And obviously, this is okay... for times not in the car, however. If kids are wearing all these thick layers, they will create a space between the straps/buckles and the body of the child. During a collision, the layers will flatten, nullifying the effectiveness of the straps and buckles. So, as much of a hassle as it is, kids should take their thick layers off before each car ride.
19 Strollers: Proper Posture Actually Matters A Whole Lot
Do you ever walk down the street and someone pushing a stroller with a kid whose so asymmetrical that it could be a Jackson Pollock painting? Well, apparently this isn't a good thing on many fronts. babies who spend too much time in strollers already need more time to stretch and strengthen their subtle asymmetries. The semi-reclined position in these devices also allows gravity to pull the baby into it's "preferred position", creating problems down the road. it's very important that moms (as well as dads) make sure that their baby has the right posture after being strapped into this device. A straight neck and spine at the midline or middle of their body is an absolute must.
18 Car Seats: Forgetting That Bottom Buckle
When it comes to car seats, a common mistake that moms make is forgetting to use the bottom buckle. It's pretty much a mystery why this is so common. After all, the bottom buckle is actually crucial to the entire mechanism. Buckling every part of the car seat is what makes the car seat effective, to begin with. The bottom buckle is what keeps the baby from sliding out of the device, whether there's a collision or even just while driving. Sure, the straps hold the baby back, but that bottom buckle is very important to remember. Seriously, folks, start getting this one right.
17 Strollers: Using It As Workout Equipment... Seriously
There are countless videos on Youtube showing moms how to incorporate their stroller time with their desire to exercise. While some of these videos are totally okay, it's very important to remember that you shouldn't use a stroller as workout equipment, even as a wheel for abs or leg-press. The only thing you could use a stroller for is to push while you jog. Otherwise, you are potentially harming the device and therefore making it less effective when holding your baby. These devices are NOT built for the purpose some people think is okay as using the stroller for things like push-ups will actually cause it to flip over.
16 Car Seats: Straps That Are More Twisted Than Game Of Thrones
We all love shows with epic twists and turns, something that Game of Thrones has in spades. But we shouldn't love car seats with twisted straps. Twisted straps actually pose multiple issues. It's true for grown-ups, but it's even more true for kids in a car seat. A twisted strap doesn't allow for even distribution of the mass of the individual being held back. This means that the strap is unlikely to hold them in the event of a collision. It may also cause the child to feel discomfort while sitting there which may even cause them to cry. And, let's face it, that doesn't make for a pleasant cry ride. So, remember to straighten out those straps unlike a lot of other moms.
15 Strollers: Using The Covers At The Right Times
The weather is almost as unpredictable as your babies. If this why many moms forget to put up covers on their strollers when it rains or snows. It seems like an obvious thing to remember, but the truth is, many parents don't. Even light rain can bother a child who is otherwise sitting comfortably. Stroller covers also are great as a bug cover. But where parents forget covers the most is when it's sunny. They think that if there's no rain or snow, there's no need for a cover. But these stroller covers help to protect a child's sensitive skin from the UV rays of the sun. This may seem like a mild mistake, but when it comes to potential skin problems, it's actually huge.
14 Car Seats: Straps On Thighs, Not The Hips
Hey, moms, get it right, those straps need to be on their hips, and definitely not on their thighs. This is a very common mistake as the baby tends to slip lower into the seat making the thighs the only appropriate place for those bottom straps to go. This can be avoided by making sure the bay is seated correctly in the car. This will help their posture and actually make the car seat effective. Another reason why moms tend to put the straps over their child's thighs instead of their hips is because it actually looks okay. Although it may visually pass as safe car seat technique, it's actually not good for the baby and also doesn't make them feel very comfortable.
13 Strollers: Time To Actually Use The Straps, People
Some moms think it's okay to use a stroller without the straps, especially as the baby gets a bit older and bigger. When you're comparing stroller straps and car seat straps, it's obviously a given that car seat straps are important. After all, cars are far larger, bare more risks, and are traveling faster than any mom pushing a stroller. But babies fall out of strollers all of the time. Even if a mom is being really careful while pushing a stroller, bad things can happen. This is why it's very important to remember to strap your child in for the ride. Not only will this help to protect them, but also help keep them focused on sitting in place and enjoying the experience.
12 Car Seats: A Lack Of Adjustment
There's a good reason why there are so many car seat safety sites on the internet. Actually, there's two. Firstly, it's super important to get right. And secondly, so many moms get car seat safety wrong. Even something as simple as making sure the straps are properly adjusted tends to be a factor that moms forget about. Think about it, car seats aren't made specifically for your kid. They have to be fitted once they're in. Also, you can't just make sure the straps are adjusted the first time. You have to do it every time because the straps will move and change positioning once a child is in there. Making sure these straps are perfectly fitted against the body of your baby is just an absolute must.
11 Strollers: Treating The Stoller Like A Car In Heavy Traffic
Earlier we spoke about jogging with a stroller. While this is usually okay, depending on the strength of the stroller itself, careless running isn't a good idea. You have to be extra careful when pushing a stroller. So, when you're jogging, you need to be focused that you're not moving the stroller around in any odd positions. This because it's not going to be pleasant or safe for the baby. If you're treating your stroller like you would when you're trying to avoid traffic on your way to an important meeting then you're not doing things correctly. You also have to think about proper stroller etiquette, i.e. not parking your stroller in the middle of the sidewalk when trying to deal with a fussy kid. In this way, it should be treated like a car and pulled over to the side.
10 Car Seats: The Angle Is All Wrong
It's important to know that a rear-facing seat that leans too far forward will cause a baby's heavy head to fall forward as well and cause issues for them. Additionally, if the seat is placed too far backward, they could also be disoriented. Car seat positioning is another important thing to consider while using a car seat, especially when it comes to the laws about where you can and can't put a car seat depending on their age. An infant car seat should be angled between 30-45 degrees from the upright position. Many seats actually have built-in levels that will help with positioning. But there are other ways of telling if a baby is in the right position.
9 Strollers: Locking Into That Open Position Before Strapping In
Another mistake that moms tend to make when it comes to their baby's strollers is failing to make sure that the stroller is fully locked into its "open" position before strapping their child into it. It's super easy to skip this step when you're on your way somewhere important and you're a tad late. Some strollers actually require the user to lock the seat in place before using it. This is helpful, but it's also not common. So moms should make a point to pay attention to locking the stroller into its open position. Listening for that all-important clocking noises every time is what you should be doing. Otherwise, the stroller will fold in on itself at a bad time.
8 Car Seats: Don't Even Know About The Pinch Test
One of the easiest car seat safety tips that moms tend to forget is the pinch test. This test is designed to be able to tell parents is the car seat harness is too loose. If it's too lose the car seat harness isn't doing its job. Basically, there's no point for the child to be in the car seat at all if you're not going to get it right. Acing the pinch test is really easy. All you do is make sure you can't pinch the straps of the harness once your child is locked in. If you can pinch the fabric of the straps between your fingers, the thing is far too loose and need to be tightened. This is a really easy thing to remember, people. So get on top of it.
7 Strollers: Using All Of Those Hand-Me-Downs
Some baby products are more than okay to be handed down. These products are things that are usually in good condition after use and therefore will still be effective. Although this can be true of strollers, it's generally not a good idea to use an old one. If you do take a stroller that's been used, you have to be sure of its history as it could not be in good condition. Additionally, the product itself may have been recalled due to substandard safety precautions. Therefore, if you are going to purchase a used stroller or take one from a friend or a family member, you need to do a bit of research on its history.
6 Car Seats: Not Using The Top Tether Like A Pro
According to experts, a whopping 64% of parents with forward-facing car seats actually don't use the seat's top tether. Even more unnerving is the fact that about 50% of those who do aren't attaching it properly. Instead of attaching it the way it should, moms fasten it to a cargo hook or route it to a lower anchor, which doesn't make it very effective. These top tethers are generally tucked away in the back of the seat and are therefore out of sight. So, we understand that moms tend to forget about them. But these tethers prevent forward-facing car seats from toppling forward in the event of a collision. Every car sold after 2001 has three anchor points for a car seat. So, do your very best and use them.
5 Strollers: The Shopping-Cart-Stroller
Let the shopping cart do what it was designed to do and definitely let the stroller do the same. Combining the two, although common, is a big parenting mistake. Seriously, it happens more often than not. Moms, who are out shopping with their kids, toss their shopping bag and purse around the hands of the stroller, causing it to tip over. Additionally, they put food items all over their child and in every component of the stroller. This is not only uncomfortable for the child but also unsafe. Also, you wouldn't want to put fresh produce with a baby who is probably picking his nose and schmearing it on those beautiful ripe pears. So, moms, either have your baby in a carrier or leave him at home while you shop.
4 Car Seats: A Bed For Any Occasion
Sleeping too much in a car seat is not a good idea. Some parents love to use their baby's car seat as a portable bassinet. Usually, this is because the baby can actually fall asleep in the car seat as opposed to their crib. Therefore, moms bring the car seat inside and swap it out for the crib in order to have a peaceful night's sleep. But the position of the car seat is not good for a baby to be in for too long. Even lengthy car rides aren't particularly smart. This is because the design of the car seat is meant just for... yep, you guessed it... cars. The posture of the seat itself isn't great for a child. And even if the baby is just having a nap in the car seat, they could wiggle into a position that's even less good if the buckles aren't done up.
3 Strollers: Living An Entire Life In The Seat
Similar to car seats, strollers are also not designed for prolonged use. Sure, there are some strollers that are so top-of-the-line that even an adult would be comfortable in them. But being in them is not good for posture. Additionally, neck tightness can occur, delayed motor skills, head flattening, and even the development of sensory processing challenges. This is why experts only recommend 2 hours or less per day in a semi-reclined position. So, that means not just strollers, but also car seats, infant swings, bouncy seats, napping wedges, infant lounge pillows. and other baby positioners. But still, many moms seem to think that keeping their child in their stroller means that they're safe and happy.
2 Car Seats: Making Those Last-Minute Additions
One thing that we haven't addressed on this list is just how challenging putting a child in a car seat can be, to begin with. Sometimes they just don't want to be in a car seat and are happy to put up a fuss. This is why so many parents purchase an assortment of add-ons for their child's car seat. These add ons tend to be toys and positioning pillows that are meant to help the baby, keep them occupied, or keep them safe. But many of these add-ons haven't been tested for safety and can, therefore, do the opposite of what they're intended to do. This is why it's important for moms to either make sure their purchased add-on is tested or, better yet, not to get them at all.
1 Strollers: Tenting The Kid With A Blanket
Believe it or not, one of the most common issues that experts come across, in terms of how a mom uses a stroller, is the tenting of blankets over top of it. When direct sunlight bears down on their child, most mothers want to cover them by any means necessary. Sometimes they think that the stroller cover and their child's hat isn't enough. Therefore, they drape a blanket over the stroller. However, researches have found that the temperature inside the stroller that's been draped with a blanket can reach really high numbers. This makes it downright unsafe for a child to be inside. So, moms, please make sure that you stop draping blankets over strollers. This is a major mistake.
Sources: Healthy Children, Moms, Can Do Kiddo, mayoclinic.org, Consumer Reports, nhtsa.gov, safekids.org, Moms, parents.com, Today.com, BabyCenter, CTV News, parenting.com, Fatherly