Wednesday, September 26, 2012

To Step in, or Not To Step In- That is the Question.

Yesterday at the grocery store I saw a beautiful new family. The mom and dad were a young couple, and the little girl they had with them couldn't have been more than a couple of weeks old. She was so precious. I noticed the nursing cami that the mom was wearing, and the bebe au lait nursing cover that was draped over the baby's lap, and knew that she was a fellow nursing momma.

I also noticed that the baby was perched high on top of the shopping cart inside of her car seat. I felt my heart tighten up a little bit. I know how dangerous that is. I know that babies have been hospitalized after falling off of car seats perched atop a shopping cart like this girl was. I know that some babies have even died because of a fall like that. The thought of something happening to that precious, new little baby- I could barely bear to even think about it. If I felt that way about a baby that I barely knew, how much more must her parents feel protective of her? I'm almost positive that they didn't know just how dangerous it was for their little one to be sitting on top of the shopping cart like that.

These awesome little seats? They shouldn't go on top of a shopping cart. 

I so badly wanted to say something to them. Our paths through the grocery store crossed several times, and I thought about how I would approach them and what I would say. Maybe something about how I had no idea when my first was little, and that I'm glad someone told me? I could start by apologizing for inerrupting them, and then say something about how I'd hate to see something bad happen to the beautiful little girl they had with them. Would that come across right? I ran through all the things I wanted to say each time I saw them, but I didn't. I kept my mouth shut.

I know that people don't like criticism. Most people have a hard time hearing they're doing something wrong, no matter how nicely it's presented, especially coming from a stranger! I didn't want anything to happen to the baby, but I also didn't want to offend a couple of complete strangers, especially ones that were brand new parents. Parents, especially new ones, need encouragement, right? I was so torn- and when you factor in my nervousness with talking to people I don't know, it ended in me keeping my mouth shut and not saying anything to them.

Then last night I was scrolling through Facebook, and came across this link. It's an open letter that a mom wrote to a stranger that helped her in the Safeway parking lot- a stranger that helped her stay calm after her shopping cart hit the side of a speed bump in the parking lot, sending her baby's car seat crashing to the concrete. Thankfully, the baby was okay, but what a scary moment(including an ambulance ride to be checked out at the hospital) for both the baby and the mother!!!

Reading that had me doubting myself even more. What if the same thing had happened to the family I saw on their way out to their car? What if that little girl had been hurt, and I could have said something to save her, and didn't? But was it my business to say something? Could I even say something without being offensive? My "thanks for NIP" cards have gone over well- what if I made a card that explained the dangers of perching a car seat on top of a shopping cart to hand to parents that I came across? But wouldn't that just make the interaction even more awkward?

I'm still struggling with these questions, and I'm still not sure what I'll do next time I see a baby baanced precariously on top of a shopping cart. Is it even my business to care?

  What would you do? Do you say something when you see other parents doing something dangerous, or do you stay quiet so as not to offend? Is there a way to share important information with a complete stranger without offending? What would you do?


  1. I feel the exact same way EVERY time I run errands. The same things go through my head and I'm just not sure what to say. I've worked for child protective services in the past so I'm not afraid to interrupt something that I feel is harmful or neglectful but this situation is different because it is not illegal and the baby is obviously being cared for/supervised. I think the issue is that I would be very offended if a stranger approached me about choices I was making but I also remember when I didn't know this same situation was unsafe until I read/heard it from somewhere else. Perhaps the same goes for this (and other) new families.

    And another problem is that many car seats now come with a notch that seems to encourage this action. I'm going to share on my Facebook page to get some more opinions! I'm very glad you wrote about this topic!

  2. It's nice to know I'm not the only one! Yeah, it seems like a catch 22- I don't want to offend with unsolicited advice, but at the same time, I'd want to know if I was doing something that I didn't know was unsafe. Thanks for sharing, I'll hop over there and see if anyone else had a good suggestion! :)

  3. Luckily we don't seem to see much of that here in the uk people people seem to prefer to use the infant lay back seats shopping trolleys have.
    I don't know what I would do, probably say nothing and feel guilty that I had kept quiet. It is such a difficult position to be in I think if someone came to me & told me that when I was a new mother it may have made me cry, then be angry but then later once I had calmed down I would have realised that actually the person was only telling me this because they cared.
    I don't know, one thing I do know is that I would be annoyed with myself for putting my baby in a potentially dangerous position. Supermarkets should discourage this practise!