When a Paramedic Talks About Car Seat Safety, You Should Listen

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Car accidents are the leading cause of death in children in the U.S. and that’s why car seat safety information can literally be lifesaving. Paramedic Krystal Kleidon has important and potentially life-saving information about kids and car seats and he’s sharing it in a way that seriously makes a lot of sense.

Kleidon writes at Project Hot Mess, and her husband is also a paramedic. Between the two of them they have 20 years experience as on-road paramedics, and they’ve seen a lot.

Car seats save lives.

“We have been to more car accidents than you could imagine and seen more mangled car seats than I’d like to share,” Kleidon wrote. But she says neither of them has seen a car accident in which a child who was properly strapped into a car seat died.

That’s pretty heartening information. It makes one feel like one has a small bit of control in a cold, random, unfeeling universe.

“Between my husband and I, in our 20 years experience, we have NOT seen a single child harmed in a car accident where the child was restrained in their seat properly. Not a single one,” she wrote on Facebook. “We’ve seen car seats ejected from vehicles, we’ve seen cars that have rolled over so many times you can barely tell which way is up, we’ve seen accidents where you would be certain there would be no survivors.”

There’s a lot of information out there, and a lot of unqualified people ready to share their “expertise” with parents, particularly if those parents are random strangers on the Internet. But Kleidon is a paramedic, and she knows what she’s talking about. Her advice is pretty heartening for people shopping for car seats, too, because she says car seat safety is not a matter of price tag. It’s about how well strapped in the kids are.

“But in our experience, the biggest difference between a child’s safety hasn’t been if they were in the $600 car seat or the $200 one. It’s been about those straps,” she wrote.

That’s also good to know, because it sucks to make a parent feel like they’re putting their kids at risk because they couldn’t afford a $600 car seat.

When it comes to car seat safety, strapping them in tightly is key.

A person could spend months researching car seats to get the “best” one, and pay $1,000 and still not feel safe with their choice. But Kleidon says car seat brand doesn’t really matter that much. The $600 car seat isn’t necessarily better than the $200 car seat. What’s important is that the kid is in there tightly.

Kleidon says to make sure the straps are very tight. A parent should only be able to fit one or two fingers between the strap and the child’s chest. The child shouldn’t be able to wiggle an arm out from under the strap, and the kid should not be wearing puffy clothes like winter jackets in a car seat.

Kleidon and her husband put their 4-year-old in his car seat and held it upside down to show how secure the kid should be in a properly secured car seat. That’s pretty impressive, and not just because Kleidon and her husband must be very strong. Those straps are very secure, and the little boy doesn’t even look uncomfortable hanging like that.

(Image: Facebook/ Project Hot Mess)