The Car Seat Crusader

This week on Mommyish, I wrote about car seat fanatics. Like I said over there, “Niche Parents” seem to be cropping up everywhere these days. How many of us know someone who can’t stop talking about that one baby-related thing that she knows everything about (and damn proud of it!)? Between the hardcore breastfeeding advocates, cloth diaper gurus, and vaccine/allergy/organic-obsessed know-it-alls, it seems a lot of modern parents are determined to have a “niche” of expertise. Some are trained and certified in a particular area, but others sort of adopt their own definition of “expert,” even though what they really are can be described more as a hobbyist, fetishist, control freak, helicopter parent, or other fun terms that basically amount to “crazy person.” 

The thing is, I understand that everyone has weird obsessions. What I find interesting about Niche Parents, though, is their interest in proselytizing. It’s one thing to be a closeted car seat fanatic who researches all the best car seats and keeps up with ever-changing NHTSA regulations privately, but it’s another thing to engage in forum boards and consistently post about car seats on Facebook or bring them up in conversation over dinner. That actually makes a person sound looney, and some loonies are also arrogant, condescending, and annoying. Who goes on Facebook to get lectured about how to strap a kid into a car? It’s one of those things a person can easily find the answer to on his or her own without the constant newsfeed reminders. 

On Mommyish, I posted six submissions all written by the same mom who I’ll call The Obsessive. Kaye freaking loves car seats, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she had one custom-built for herself for her birthday. Here on the blog, we’re taking a look at The Lecturer, who can usually be summed up like this:

The Lecturer cannot stop talking about car seats to the point of practically declaring herself the Safety Queen, and she aspires to blink on her friends’ Facebook radar as frequently as possible. Today’s Lecturer example is a woman named Stacey who drove one of her friends so crazy with updates, I received over a dozen submissions over the course of a few weeks. I can only imagine Stacey is still posting about car seats now, but it’s been a few months since I got these, so maybe she’s moved on to childproofing or something. In any case, here are several examples of her intense and somewhat morbid obsession with car seats.

This story went around back in June when a Facebook photo posted by the Colorado Department of Transportation showed a toddler sitting in the back seat of a car next to a gas can that was strapped into the car seat. It was one of those “WTF” viral pictures, and most people probably just looked at it, shook their heads, and moved on. But not car seat crusaders like Stacey. She’s always on the watch and prepared to post on timely issues.

This video can be of service for some people, so I understand posting it online, but Stacey really takes it to the next level by posting with such glee. I don’t know what word I would personally use to describe crash test pictures, but I can tell you it wouldn’t be “spectacular.” Probably more like “instructive” or “depressing.” 

OOOOOOKay, Stacey. We gots it. Also, adding exclamation points to a request (or demand) on the internet doesn’t actually influence whether people will do something. 

"Just because complete internal decapitation is rare does not mean that you shouldn’t protect your child from it." That is a real sentence Stacey posted on Facebook after indulging in several paranoid fantasies. I think she probably seeks this stuff out, but it’s possible she just has a Google Alert set up.

Stacey wants her friends to know that she is THE go-to mom for car seat info. Got a question about your older model? Considering an upgrade? Not sure if ur doing it wrong? Stacey’s your gal! She is the MAYOR of Car Seat Town. She’s like a one-woman aggregator of news and knowledge! Want to know the last time a child was injured due to a car seat-related accident? Stacey’s got the blotter on that. Just ask her!!! 

By now, Stacey has likely met a number of people on Facebook who share in her car seat obsession. And like any commonality, they enjoy exchanging jokes, quizzes, and fun facts for a some light entertainment. You know, like taking pictures of car seat infrastructure and debating the incorrect buckling of the straps. It’s like an old pastime! 

Bless you, Joshua. For all I know, you’re in the car seat fanatic club, too, but I sincerely hope you’re just a friend who can’t take Stacey’s “contests” seriously anymore. Plus, the answer is correct. Babies do not belong in car seats on recliners. It’s extremely dangerous, and Stacey should know better than to even try it! That recliner could malfunction and shoot backwards at any moment, and then what, huh?! I hope someone told Stacey to be more careful in the future. After all the research she’s done, she should know better. lol ;o)

Don’t forget to head over to Mommyish to read my column about The Obsessive! Kaye is in a serious relationship with car seats, and she’s about to have to make a very difficult decision.

Related: Dear Target

(submitted by Anonymous)

*UPDATE* You guys may have noticed that I removed the (fully edited) picture of Stacey’s kids sitting in their car seats, rear-facing at 45 lbs (according to the caption). That’s because Stacey requested that I do so (just before her car seat crusader brigade marched into the comments). I was happy to comply with her request per my STFU, Parents regulation guideline Section 3 sub-paragraph IV of the bylaws. 

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