We all know how important it is to have car seats that are fitted correctly and adhere to Australian standards, but we don't like to think about what would actually happen to our children in the event of a crash. But one mum looked that fear in the face and shared how important it is to think about adjusting the straps on our kids' car seats.
Rachel McNamara shared a visual reminder of how important well fitted straps are by holding a baby seat upside down to simulate what would happen if a car rolled over – with her baby strapped safely inside.
In the caption, Rachel wrote, "After strapping your child into their car seat, ask yourself if you'd be comfortable flipping it upside down. Remember that the chest clip should be at armpit level and the straps should be tight enough to pass the pinch test."
The pinch test involves pinching the harness at the child's shoulder after the harness is buckled. If the strap is loose enough to be pinched between your fingers, it's not tight enough. To pass the pinch test, your fingers should just slide off.
Rachel's post was shared over 48,000 times on Facebook.
After the post went viral, and attracted a range of questions about car safety and comments questioning her methods, Rachel updated her post to clarify her original comments, and share more car safety information.
"I'm not advocating that parents should be flipping their kids upside down before every car ride," she said, "Just that they should feel confident that their child would be safe IF the car seat was flipped over in an accident. I think this is a great visual and shows just how important proper car seat use is."
Rachel also stressed the importance of reading your car manual and your seat manual, as there can be subtle but important differences.
Kidsafe's Child Restraint Guidelines state it is important to ensure there is no slack or looseness in any part of the restraint system. "Check the harness straps around the child, the top tether, the seatbelt anchoring the restraint to the vehicle, and the seatbelt used by a child in a booster seat."
You can see full safety guidelines on installing and using car seats at every stage of a child's growth, see the Kidsafe website.
Although it's a dramatic way of getting our attention when it comes to car seat safety, and the chances of our children ever being in a rollover accident are slim, ensuring our kids are strapped in as safely as possible can only be a good thing.