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Car Seats: But My Doctor Said!

firefighter video

What crazy things has your doctor said about car seats?

Doctors are experts at keeping you and your family healthy, but that does not mean they are experts at keeping your children safe in the car.

We reached out to a community of child passenger safety technicians and asked what kinds of crazy things parents have told them the parent’s healthcare provider said about car seats.

In the video Greg talks about a few of these things a doctor said about car seats and comments about what would be better and why. (A few years after this video was filmed, the study saying rear facing is 5 times safer was retracted. Rear facing is safer, we don’t have a conclusive study to qualify how much safer.)

Here is a list of all the comments the technicians shared with us:

most common car seat mistakes
  • {Discussed on video} A nurse told a mom that her baby’s legs go over the lap straps (not under) so it would be more like a 3 point harness.
  • “Go ahead and turn your (less than 1 year old) baby forward facing because the baby…
    • is over 20 pounds or
    • has legs touching the back of the seat or
    • is fussy or
    • gets car sick or
    • has reflux or
    • is strong or
    • is already walking or
    • is looking around in the infant seat”
  • “The AAP recommends 2 years old or 20 pounds. So if he’s a big baby, you can turn him earlier.” Not sure where the doctor came up with 20 pounds as an AAP recommendation. AAP recommendation is to keep a child rear facing for as long as possible to the upper limits of their seat.
  • Chiropractors have suggested lining the seat with memory foam between the plastic and cover. We don’t want
  • During a car seat event a grandmother asked for the tech to move the seat forward facing but stumbled when talking about the grandchild’s age and weight. She finally admitted their doctor told them to say the child was 2 years old and 30 pounds (to meet new NJ law) so they could turn her forward facing early.
  • At 3 year old checkup the doctor said, “Keep using booster seats,” as if our children were already in them, they are still rear facing.
  • Seat expiration is a scam.”
  • “Since your child has reflux let him sleep in his car seat, just prop it upright.” He didn’t mention to harness him in or what level to “prop” it.
  • “Let your child sleep in it and put the car seat in the crib so your child knows the crib is the place to sleep.”
  • Upon leaving the hospital with a newborn, the nurse said, “have the straps come from above the shoulders.” When rear facing the harness straps should come from at or below the baby’s shoulders.
  • {Discussed on video} When asked about car seat safety, the doctor replied, “I like the forward facing better.” Her reasons included so the child can see mommy and so the child is more comfortable with her legs.
  • “Put the baby in the car seat on top of a running dryer to help her fall asleep.”
  • {Discussed on video} “It’s safer to have your baby sit on your lap and be belted with you than sit in a taxi seat belted in their own seat.” RideSafer vests can be a solution for parents who taxi with their forward facing children.

Not sure if this is better or not, but some doctors never talk about car seat safety at all.

Did what your doctor say about car seats just not seem right?

So then who do you talk to about car seat safety? Do you go to the firehouse? (That’s a common misperception.) You can contact us at Safe Ride 4 Kids and ask one of our car seat technicians a question.

We want to know, has your doctor said anything about car seats that didn’t seem to jive? Share your comments below.

By Greg Durocher, CEO at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Technician Instructor since 2002

Copyright 2022 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material without permission. You are welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.

We originally published this post in April 2016. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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