It was all over my facebook feed a while back.
A mom saying that her baby’s life could have been spared had someone commented even once on all the pictures she’d posted of her under 2 child sitting face forward in a car seat.
Why didn’t anyone say anything?
The heartwrenching post described how her baby was ejected from the carseat and died. And how she wished that someone had told her she was doing it wrong since she didn’t know.
And then last week, a different side of a similar issue: a mom shows a picture of her child wearing a puffy jacket and buckled into his car seat and people comment letting the mom know that puffy jackets shouldn’t be worn with car seats.
This time, the backlash is why are people saying this? It’s not their kid, it’s not their business.
Maybe those moms read that same post a few weeks back from the mom imploring people to speak up if they see something harmful. Maybe they think this mom doesn’t know.
I’ll be honest and say that I only read a handful of the comments that explained why big coats shouldn’t be worn with car seats. The ones I did read seemed to be just trying to help. (Maybe later ones got ugly and personal. Probably a lot of you saw it, since it was on the wildly popular Baby Sideburns page)
The internetz, they didn’t take too kindly to those who pointed out that the mom might want to rethink her decision.
Okay, which way do we want it?
Are we supposed to point something out to another mom because we’re concerned she’s doing something that might be dangerous to her child? Or are we supposed to shut up and mind our own business because it’s their parenting decision, not ours?
I’m genuinely asking here. Because I’m a bit baffled.
My three boys keep me busy enough. I don’t really have the time to tell someone else what they need to be doing with their kids.
And so many decisions really are up to each parent. Your child’s bedtime, their snack at school, how many sports they should participate in. Even if I choose differently, it’s really not up to me and I really don’t need to chime in on what you’re doing. (Especially since I don’t know the full story behind whatever picture you’re posting- it could be a one time thing or it could be your usual).
But what about safety concerns?
When my niece’s Grammy was complaining about how the car seat had to be turned backwards until 2 and how she was just going to turn it face forward in her car and not tell my niece’s parents… I spoke up. I did tell her that things had changed since she had kids, how they’d actually changed since my kids were that age and that the baby’s safety was more important than her thinking that the view would be better turned around.
I had no idea about the puffy coat thing when mine were little until a friend said something about what a pain it was to have to take her son’s coat off before putting him in his car seat and then putting it back on once they got where they were going. At the time, I had three kids under 4 and we lived where we got lots of snow. Going anywhere with them was a chore. And now I had to take their jackets off and put them back on at every stop? I felt mortified that I didn’t know(and I think my friend actually made the comment as a subtle way to talk to me about it without flat out saying hey, do you know you’re doing that wrong?)
These were one-on-one conversations. Not all over social media where others could join in, so I think that can make a difference. Hearing the actual tone. Having it come from a friend or being the one to say it out of concern. It’s hard to read tone online.
I don’t know any moms who don’t feel judged about something. Whether real or imaginary, we feel the judgement, the pressure. And that can lead to greater understanding of each other. Less judging because we don’t want to be judged. That’s a beautiful thing.
Yet sometimes, if we really think it’s a dangerous situation(this isn’t limited to carseats, it could be anything you think is dangerous), shouldn’t we put the safety of the child ahead of our worry that we might offend someone? It doesn’t mean we have to be rude about it(we really shouldn’t, especially if we want to actually be heard), but we might have to choose to say something even if we know that the person we’re saying it to might not take it so well.
Do you speak up when you see something that causes concern? How do you decide when to say something?
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