It's not uncommon for new parents to make mistakes, but the way society and other parents approach those who could possibly be doing something that is unsafe for their baby is a tightrope walk. Although we're of the belief that there's a time and a place to give parenting advice, a few mums spoke up on Aaron Paul's Easter Instagram post of his daughter, Story, to let him know that a car seat accessory he was using could pose a threat to her safety in case of an accident.
In the photo, Story can be seen sitting snugly in her cat seat with a couple of accessories: a sweet little bunny hat, but also, thick pads around her car seat's straps.
In a comment, one mum told the new dad: "I just read a story about how a mom's baby flew out of the car seat in a crash because of her after-market shoulder straps. Please be careful with that baby." Although this comment is a bit fear-inducing without much explanation, another clarified: "Just be careful with those market pads. They make it so you can't get the shoulder straps as tight as they should be."
Paul's wife, Lauren, ended up commenting on this thread and shared that they were borrowing a car seat while visiting family, but that she would let the owner know about this safety risk.
Another person did follow up to say that some pads are safe to be placed on straps — when the side between the strap and baby is flat, thus allowing the straps to be pulled as tightly as necessary (and Lauren responded that this was, in fact, the case for the pads she was using on Story's borrowed seat) — but Sarah Tilton, Britax's child passenger safety technician and immediate past chair of the National Child Passenger Safety Board, says that no matter what the accessory looks like or how safe it claims to be, you should always check with your car seat manufacturer before using any third-party product.
"Any of these items could affect the performance of the car seat during a crash," Sarah told POPSUGAR. "When a car seat manufacturer approves use, that is an indication they have done testing and evaluation of the item with their car seats and are confident they do not negatively affect crash performance of the car seat when used as per the instructions."
If you are using any accessories on your child's car seats, just be sure to check with your car seat's manufacturer to be sure those products are safe to use to ensure your child is as best protected as possible in the case of a crash.