If you ever want to see a mama bear get worked up quickly, just post a photo on Facebook of your adorable child improperly strapped into his or her Britax. Mamas will lose.their.shit. Unfortunately, because no one knows quite how to tactfully call out other moms on this, most will just turn to the passive aggressive “Posting this for all my mom friends out there!” status where they link to 75 different car seat safety websites hoping – just hoping – that you read it and get the hint.

So, because I don’t believe in having much tact, I’m just going to come out and say it so that we can all be done with it. That car seat that’s supposed to save your kids life in the event of a crash. Yeah, you’re doing it wrong. The way you’re using it you’re better off putting them in a dog carrier strapped to the roof.

And yes, I’m talking to you. If this post was shared with you, near you, around you, or you are reading it, YOU are most likely the offender. Another parenting faux-pas to add to the list!

Don’t feel bad. You are certainly not the only one being judged… from Teen Moms to Royalty: if that car seat straps don’t fit, ain’t no way Mom Law can acquit. Sry.

In your defense, car seats are NOT the easiest contraptions in the world to figure out. I still don’t know how to install ours – I make my husband do it every time. I’m not an expert, and I hear moms complaining about this topic so frequently now that the words “car” and “seat” trigger my selective hearing faster than “take out the trash” triggers my husbands. Plus, it really doesn’t help that all seats work slightly differently, have different weight restrictions and rules, AND the regulations seem to change quite often. So don’t beat yourself up about it.

While mom-judgement usually irritates the piss out of me, I do kind of get this one. I rarely enjoy a Facebook photo buzzkill, however I do understand why a mom may be compelled to be all “hey, you’re going to kill your kid” if you look like this:

 EXCLUSIVE: Britney Spears behind the wheel of her black SUV with infant son Sean Preston in her lap

So, here are 5 high-level safety tips to ensure that no one is going to call CPS on you:

Disclaimer: I am not a car seat safety expert. Car seat safety is NOT limited to these 5 snarky comments. Please utilize other resources (some provided below) or your car seat manual to ensure that you are using your seat properly.

1. Make sure your kid is actually in the car seat. Make sure the car seat is actually secured in the car.

2. If you can, put the car seat in the center of your back seat. As opposed to the front seat, the trunk, or the roof rack. This location is 43% safer because it doesn’t sustain direct impact if you’re hit from the side.

3. Rear face your baby. In fact, the recommendation is to rear face until the age of 2… or as long as possible. Rear facing has nothing to do with how tall or how big your child is, or the fact that they get bored when the world is in reverse – in fact, it has to do with neck strength and head size.

4. Chest clips should be used properly. As in, if you’re not going to tighten them and secure them in the right place, you may as well just strap the kid in with duct tape as that would probably be safer. Check out #’s 10 and 11 here (or your manual) for some good tips on the chest clip.

5. Even if it’s winter and you live in Siberia, do not strap your child into the seat with bulky clothing, jackets or large down comforters of any kind. (In the event of a high impact crash, these things compress leaving the straps loose enough that the baby can literally fly out of the seat.)

There are so many more things you should be doing as a parent to ensure safe travel for your child. I am not a car seat safety expert, and I do not even intend to play one on the internet – I’m just here to point out your flaws and say what no one else directly wants to say. But there are lots of people who ARE experts. In fact, there is probably someone in your home town (probably at the fire or police station) that can inspect your car seat AND learn you its proper use. It’s “free” – you should use them.

Or, check out some of the resources below. Safe travels!

Feel free to add any good resources you know of in the comments section.

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