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You know that nurse friend you reach out to when a strange rash shows up on your child? Or the school teacher pal you gently query for development norms? How about the paramedics you know with expert advice on car seat practices? What? Never thought of such a thing?
Enter Krystal Kleidon, the bare-it-all mommy blogger who also happens to be a paramedic.
In a June 30 post on her blog, Project Hot Mess, she shared a photo of herself and her husband, tipping their son, Alexander, forward and upside-down in his brand-new car seat. For his part, the 4-year-old boy is grinning from ear to ear.
Her website offers candid advice and stories from mothers, but this post, which she shared on Facebook, went viral. Kleidon is sort of that paramedic friend you didn’t know you needed in your life.
Her post begins, “Thoughts on Car Seats from Paramedics,” and she encourages others to share the information.
As a mother who belongs to various online parenting groups, she writes, “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 … if there’s something to have an opinion on, it has been discussed before."
But what's missing is the first-hand experience of people who work in the emergency response field, as she and her husband do.
“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,” Kleidon says. “While we know the science and research backs up our opinions, that’s not what we are sharing here. We wanted to share what we have seen and experienced in our job.”
In the complete posting on her blog, she notes that car seats can be ejected, mangled, or sent sideways in a terrible crash. "We've seen accidents where you'd be certain there would be no survivors," she notes.
But whether a child survives often comes down to one crucial step. "It’s been about those straps," she says. "It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a car seat if you DON’T strap your child in properly."
"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 asks.
Instead of fretting so much about the brand and the money spent on a car seat, she said focus more on the everyday actions you take when strapping your child in the car.
“Next time you buckle your child in, ask yourself … would I be confident in turning them upside down in their seat right now?"
For more on how to find the right car seat for your child and your vehicle, visit SaferCar.gov.
For information on the child passenger safety regulations and car seat laws in your state, visit the Governors Highway Safety Association website.