health

This photo is scary. Not for the reason you think.

One parent’s warning has gone viral.

There’s a post that’s been doing the rounds of social media over the past week.

It has a photo of a little girl with some nasty bruising on her chest. The woman writing the post, Heather Starr, explains that the girl was in a car accident, and the bruising was caused by the chest clip on her child restraint.

“Had the clip been placed lower, she likely would have had organ damage and internal bleeding,” writes Starr. “Had it been placed higher, she could have been asphyxiated.

“This little girl is walking away from a car accident with some uncomfortable chest bruising. A couple inches difference and she wouldn’t have been walking away at all. It’s. THAT. Important.”

It’s a scary photo, and an even scarier message. It’s also confusing. What the hell is a chest clip?

Chest clips often come with child restraints in America. Those restraints have the harness that we have, and then on top of that, there’s an extra clip that goes across the chest to stop kids getting their arms out.

So this is what a chest clip looks like.

Jason Chambers from Kidsafe Victoria tells iVillage Australia there are two reasons why chest clips don’t come with child restraints in Australia. One is the possibility of the clip hitting a child’s throat in a serious crash. Another is the extra time it would take to get a child out of a car in an emergency situation.

He suggests being wary when reading safety advice from overseas.

“It can make it quite confusing if you see something that pops up, say in the US, that might not meet our standards here, or might not be approved for use here,” he explains. “That’s something we always tell parents and carers to be careful of, particularly if they’re looking at buying products online.”

If you want to make sure your kids are as safe as possible in their child restraints, then there are a few simple things you can do.

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Take into account what your child is wearing each time you clip them in.

If they’re in less layers of clothes than the time before, then the harness straps will probably need to be adjusted. “You should only be able to get one to two fingers under the harness straps at your child’s shoulder,” Chambers adds.

Make sure there are no twists in the straps.

“Even if it’s just a minor twist, they’re not going to perform how they should in a crash.”

Here's some advice on installing a child restraint. Post continues after the video.

Check that the seatbelt buckle holding the child seat in place hasn’t been unclipped.

"If there are people in the back who are trying to do their own seatbelts up, sometimes that one can get pressed accidentally and come undone.”

Don’t be in a rush to move your child up to the next stage.

“Always leave them in until they physically outgrow the size limits of the restraint that they’re in,” Chambers advises. Rear-facing restraints are safer than forward-facing ones for children up until at least the age of one. Babies’ heads are very heavy compared to the rest of their bodies, and if they’re facing forward in a crash, it makes them vulnerable to serious injury or death.

Have you ever realised you weren’t using a child restraint correctly?

Latest news about car seats:

The Maxi-Cosi’s Euro Convertible Car Seat A2 model are to be officially recalled from sale this Friday over safety concerns, following the recall of the A4 model last Friday. For more information, go here.

Want more? Try:

"I learned the hard way why road safety is so important."

Do you talk to your kids about "body safety"?