A Father’s Viral TikTok Car Seat Hack Is a Bad Idea – According to Experts

A father’s viral TikTok car seat hack, which he shared to get his youngster excited about riding in the car, may seem like a good idea, but it is actually a bad idea when it comes to safety.

It’s not always easy to get a child to sit still and strap up in their car seat. To verify that a child is properly secured in a vehicle, caretakers frequently have to squeeze themselves partially into the confined space. And even when they do cooperate, children aren’t always cooperative; they may fidget or, even worse, fight tooth and nail to avoid having to fasten their safety belts. This car seat drama becomes an ongoing struggle for many parents daily.

One of the fathers on TikTok believes he has discovered the answer to all of their problems. The father, who is known on the site by the handle @jesseh6969, shared a video in which he can be seen putting his child into the car seat through the trunk while the rear seat of the vehicle is reclined.

After he has secured his child in the car seat’s harness, the father raises the back seat so that his happy youngster is sitting upright, even though they are still slightly reclined. The tune “Real Men of Genius,” which was previously used in commercials for Bud Light, continues to play in the background the entire time. Hurray! The issue has been resolved, right?

The video has received over 400,000 views and 4,500 comments as of right now. A number of the commenters believe that this father truly is a genius.

One reader expressed regret, writing, “I wish I had known this when my children were younger.”

But there are certain worries expressed by other people.

“Not safe,” one said. “It is not possible to recline the seat in the vehicle. Because the manufacturer of the car seat does not permit it.”

When it comes to the subject of raising a child, no one enjoys being lectured to. Discussions about nursing versus formula (or both) or purees versus baby-led weaning (or both) are examples of situations in which unwanted advice and remarks are utterly pointless. Other times, the advice and comments are completely redundant. However, people may have sincere worries for a child’s safety when it comes to the safety of car seats, which is an issue that literally can mean the difference between life and death.

Why It Is Important to Use a Car Seat Properly

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common cause of death among children under the age of 12 in 2019 was automobile collisions (CDC). According to CDC, using a car seat can reduce the risk of injury in a collision by between 71 and 82 percent. Being fastened into a car seat from the trunk, as opposed to not being in any kind of car seat at all, is clearly a significant improvement in terms of safety.

However, for the child’s safety to be maximized, the car seat must be used in the manner for which it was designed, including the manner in which the child is buckled. There are potential risks involved in buckling up a youngster while they are in a reclining position.

Nevertheless, parents might be wary about taking recommendations from just anyone, particularly in regard to TikTok. As a result, we solicited the opinions of specialists.

Is This Modification to the Car Seat Safe?

Although there were people on TikTok who thought the idea was brilliant, the experts we consulted all advised against attempting it at home.

Sheena Hill, a child passenger safety technician, explains that despite the fact that it may have a cute appearance, it is most definitely not how the product was intended and tested.

“In particular, the additional bouncing around is not good for the car seat, and this is especially true if the car seat is not installed firmly. Every time the seat is jolted back into the upright position, it has the potential to disrupt the fit of the seat, which might affect both the way the seat reclines and the way it fits on the seat pan of the car.”

In addition to this, Hill is of the opinion that the parent is not in a position to properly check that the child is secured in the harness when they are in this posture. Additionally, parents need to use caution when reclining the rear seat of the vehicle.

“It can only be reclined to the extent that would be safe and effective for an adult passenger in the same seat,” she explains. “There is no additional adjustment available.” We normally suggest that this seat can only be reclined to such an extent that the seatbelt can still touch the body of an adult passenger to provide a proper fit for the belt.

Hill also notes that the seat shown in the TikTok video is “probably excessively reclined” for the best possible level of safety.

How To Make Buckling Up More Fun

Getting children, especially younger children like infants and toddlers, into their car seats can sometimes be a real chore. Some children have a difficult time remaining still as their parents put on their seatbelts. Others may deliberately resist being confined in any way, which is why making the procedure a little bit more fun is appealing—for both the parents and the children involved.

Genevieve Rivera, executive director of the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, a non-profit focused on enhancing how children are represented in society, advises parents looking for new ways to get their child excited about car rides to consider safer hacks. These include reading books about car rides, playing a special song while everyone is getting buckled in, or offering a car-only toy or stuffed animal to hold during the ride.

Other strategies to encourage compliance with getting into their seat include singing a favorite nursery rhyme to them while buckling them in, allowing the child to have a safe food or drink once they have been secured in their seat, and using star charts.

Resources for Child Safety Seats

Your child’s car seat should come with an instruction manual that contains important safety information, such as the recommended location for the seat within your vehicle, any weight limitations, and any reclining cautions. However, given the significance of this issue, some parents may desire additional confirmation that they are adhering to the recommended procedures. Hill recommends that parents contact Safe Kids, an organization that works to reduce the number of unintended accidents sustained by children, in order to locate a CPST in their area who can verify that they are utilizing their child’s car seat appropriately.

According to Hill, “it is absolutely necessary to obtain education and support from licensed CPSTs since child passenger safety is always evolving, and it can be difficult for non-professionals to keep up with these developments.” “For example, pediatricians do not often receive any type of training on car seats, and the vast majority of fire departments do not employ CPSTs or perform car seat installation because of liability concerns.”

The Heart of the Matter

The novelty of the circumstance may make your child more cooperative when you first try to buckle them into their car seat while they are reclined through the trunk. Having said that, this strategy does create certain safety issues. Therefore, although it is completely reasonable and ingenious to think of methods to make vehicle travel for your kiddo more “fun,” you shouldn’t do so because doing so could potentially compromise the effectiveness of the car seat that your child is using.

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