I just did something that maybe I shouldn’t have done. I told a new mom (by the looks of it) that she was doing something wrong. And I watched as her face went from confusion-to-horror-to-tears. And then I
walked ran away.
But if given the chance, I’d do it again.
I was just shopping at Walmart when I noticed this beautiful new mom shopping with her tiny newborn in his car seat. But the car seat was balancing on the top of the shopping cart. The front part of it. And I’ve just read too many articles online about how dangerous that is. I’ve read the statistics on how many babies get seriously injured. How moms just didn’t see it coming. How babies have even died from that fall.
I noticed this new mom shopping and I immediately panicked. I wanted to say something but also hate butting in on something that is not my business or my job to police. Maybe she already knows the risks. Maybe she was planning on never taking her hands off that car seat. Maybe she hadn’t slept the night before and my judgement would be too much to handle. So I walked away with a lump in my throat. Maybe she didn’t know the horror stories. Maybe she was just doing her best and 5 minutes later something bad was going to happen and I could have prevented it.
So I turned around, took a deep breath and mustered all the courage I could, put my hand on my heart and said “Hi, I am so sorry to butt in when it’s really none of my business, but I just have to tell you that I’ve read so many articles online about how dangerous it is to put a car seat on the cart like that. The whole seat can fall and babies have gotten seriously hurt or even died. And maybe you already know, but maybe you don’t and I just wanted to make sure you knew. You can do whatever you want. Obviously.”
I said all of that as quickly as I could and watched as she went from confusion as to why I looked so scared, to horror as she realized I was practically scolding her, to tears as she processed what I said. I don’t know what she did. I felt so awkward that I practically ran away.
I really wish I would have also told her that I’m sure she’s a great mom. And that you just don’t know something until you know it. And that not 5 minutes earlier I knocked my baby girl’s head on the top of the car just getting her out of her car seat — I am definitely not perfect and I wasn’t trying to judge her, I was just trying to help. (And just how much I love my Maya Wrap!)
But I didn’t say any of that and I didn’t see her in the store the rest of the time I was there. And I had a pit in my stomach about it the rest of the day.
So I asked some other DMB contributors what they thought. One told me that she wondered if it’s a real problem and had asked a Target employee, who said that they have had three instances recently where they had to call an ambulance for that exact reason. Another said she saw it happen 10 years ago and made sure to never put her car seat on the cart again.
Several others said they have wanted to say something before but didn’t know what to say, so didn’t say anything and regretted it.
And it sparked an interesting conversation — when is it okay to critique another parent? There are so many dangerous things out there, some well known and others not. For example – we choose to co-sleep with our baby even though I’ve read the risks. Sometimes I even go down the slide with my little one on my lap even though I read this article about the dangers. But while I take precautions because I do know the risk, would I be offended if someone saw me and told me it was dangerous?
I’d like to think no because realize their good intentions. But I don’t know if I did offend that new mom in Walmart. I sincerely hope I did not.
If I could go back I might say a few things a bit differently, but I would definitely say something again. Because the risk of having a stranger think I am a total jerk outweighs the guilt I would feel if I’d have to call 911 a few minutes later.
Would you say something? What would you say differently?? I’d really love to hear!