Unsafe practices portrayed in advertising
We took a trip recently, and on the shuttle from the Enterprise rental place to the airport there was this picture. I sat there staring at it, looked at other people staring at the ads, and it occurred to me; this is why parents don't know any better.
Let's review what's wrong:
1. A child should never wear bulky items while secured in a car seat. Even if it appears the straps are tight, the force of an accident will easily compress the item.
Visuals - Crash Test Dummy and Strap Tightness Comparison
2. Straps should be tight to the chest. The tighter, the more the baby stays in a proper position and is secured correctly in the seat. Obviously straps shouldn't be so tight the baby can't breathe.
3. American car seats have a chest clip. This clip should be aligned with the armpits after the seat straps are pulled tight.
4. Although I couldn't say for certain, this child appears small enough, and therefore light enough to still be rear-facing. Many parents switch their children to forward facing far too early in terms of spinal development. The current recommendation is for a child to be rear-facing until "age 2 OR until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat." Many car seats now have height and weight maximums that allow a child to remain rear-facing until they are 6 or 7, which is when most children would meet the weight maximum.
Read more about why your child should be rear facing.
So many times a child gets injured and the parent says "I didn't know any better". Not everyone is a researcher or strives to learn all the newest and safest recommendations. Many people base their actions on what they see, and what they see others do.
Media and advertisement is a huge influence in our culture. They should think about what they are showing and if it adheres to the guidelines, recommendations, and safest practices. People are looking and watching, show the right standards.