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Royal baby: Did Prince William and Kate flub the newborn's car seat?
Published Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:19AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:43PM EDT
When Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge emerged from St. Mary's Hospital with their newborn son, royal watchers oohed and aahed about the child's adorable cheeks and the teeny tiny hands. But some parents noticed something else: the baby prince did not seem to be strapped into his car seat correctly.
Few British media outlets seemed to notice the errors, instead focusing on how stylish Kate looked, or how effortlessly Prince William placed the car seat into the back of his Range Rover before getting behind the wheel to drive the family to Kensington Palace. But many parents on social media sites pointed out that the royal child did not appear safe at all.
They noted that first off, the child appeared to be still swaddled while in the car seat – a big no-no, since it meant that the seat's shoulder straps could not be placed around the one-day-old baby's arms correctly. In fact, in pictures, it appear as though only one shoulder strap held the child in. It's also not clear how the buckle could have gone between the baby's legs if his legs were swaddled.
As well, the straps weren't nearly tight enough to prevent the child from falling out. By most standards, the straps should be tight enough that only one or two fingers can fit between the child's chest and the straps.
Finally, the car seat's carrying handle was still up after the seat had been clipped into its back-seat base; many manufacturers recommend the handle be pushed down once the seat is in.
Canadian parents might have also noted that there was no chest clip on the 5-point harness, but according to European standards such clips are not allowed.
Of course, it's unlikely the child was in much danger of being injured in a crash. After all, the royal family's vehicle was escorted by a small cortege of slow-moving police vehicles as they made the short trip to Kensington Palace.
And of course, the new baby prince was likely much safer than Prince William was when he left the hospital for the first time. It was 1982 when William's mother, Princess Diana, didn't use a car seat at all. Instead, she held the newborn William in her lap as she and Prince Charles were driven away.
But still, many worried about the example William and Kate may have set to other new parents.
A police agency in the Grampian region of Scotland took to their Facebook page to remind parents of the importance of using car seats properly.
They wrote: 'They may not be third in line to the throne, but you need to make sure that your little prince or princess is sitting in the correct seat when travelling in your carriage (or family car).
It's important to remember that even in a minor crash, unrestrained children can be thrown about inside the vehicle, injuring themselves and others."
Several mothers commented on the U.S. site BabyCenter.com, including a user named Brittany who wrote: "I noticed this INSTANTLY and my stomach turned. I even posted it on Facebook. I'm SHOCKED!"
Still others suggested too much fuss was being made. A user named Jennifer wrote: "My heavens, as if being Royalty isn't enough, they are having people critique their every move! I am glad no one watches my husband and I."
Another user named Kaitlyn K wrote: "Oh for God's sake -- she was in the public eye for a minute and a half before 'all hail the royal prince we can't wait to see him' turned into 'Kate is a horrible mother'."
Here in Canada, infant car seat safety is taken very seriously by law enforcement. Transport Canada's website offers detailed explanations about infant car seat standards in Canada and how to use car seats correctly.