Ever see something you feel another parent is doing wrong and itch to “help?” I get it. We want to make our fellow mamas and papas feel empowered in their parenting choices — but sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut. (Or not.) When it comes to preference vs. science, I personally have trouble not saying something on the side of car seat safety (science).
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you say something about another family’s car seat:
- Is the child in danger?
Yes, all car seat safety misuses matter — but some are significantly more dangerous than others. If it’s illegal or you know the misuse could endanger the child, proceed to the next question.
- Is my intent good?
We all think our intentions are good when it comes to child safety, but check in one step further. “Is my heart in the right place?” If you genuinely care about the safety of a little one, are trying to lift up and support another parent (without judging or shaming), or you simply won’t be able to sleep tonight if you don’t say something, move to the next question.
- Am I sharing in private?
If you aren’t sharing privately, your intent isn’t good. Go back to the previous question.
- What is the best forum to share the message?
Is an Insta DM the best way to start this conversation? How about a text? Phone call? Think through the platform in which you would prefer to receive this kind of message before sending one yourself before checking out the next question.
- Am I the best person to say something?
Here’s the thing. Car seat safety (again) is science, not preference. That said, it’s got a hell of an ego attached to it. People do not intentionally put their babes at risk 99.99999999% of the time, so if you see something that puts their babe at risk, know that it’s about to get personal. Unintentionally putting your child at risk can give people shame, anxiety and embarrassment. (Even though they shouldn’t feel this way; it’s all part of the parenting mantra.)
However, just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you’re a car seat safety expert. In the same way you wouldn’t take advice from a neighborhood mom about a full-body rash (hello, medical expert), a certified car seat safety technician is the expert in this field.
You may know a heck of a lot! But, I’d still wager that you aren’t doing everything correctly either. 100% of the families I’ve worked with had a major misuse — and it’s hard for any of us to hear we’re doing something that important, that wrong. Tips are often better received from an expert (or a humble, still-learning, fellow parent). One more question.
- Do I know this person outside of social media?
If you have a healthy, personal relationship with this person and have checked yo’self on all prior questions, I think your heart will fill with worry if you don’t say something.