be careful out there

A Mom's Viral Car Seat 'Hack' Is Actually Super Dangerous

A gentle reminder to vet your internet "parenting hacks" before you try them on your children.

A viral "parenting hack" about clipping your car seat into your shopping cart isn't actually safe.
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A lot of parents regularly tell their kids not to believe anything they read on the internet, but do parents fall for unverified information online, too? It happens all the time, and in some cases, trying out “parenting hacks” you see on social media can actually put your kids in danger.

This was certainly the case on TikTok recently, when one mom posted a “hack” that she uses at the grocery story and it went viral — even though it’s actually something you should never do, for multiple reasons.

In the video, a woman is seen clipping her baby’s carseat onto the front part of a shopping cart, so that it rests on the metal area where you would usually seat a toddler. The caption reads, “Who knew that this maxi cosi car seat clips onto the trolley?”

In the background, a common sound clip for hacking videos plays, in which someone is saying, “Nobody’s going to know. How would they know?”

The video has been viewed almost 2 million times, which is troubling since it highlights something parents should never do with car seats and grocery carts.

Luckily, plenty of parents in the comments got the warning out (and pretty politely, too).

“Please don’t do this. It’s really not safe. Much love,” reads the comments with the most votes.

Another said, “Most car seats fit. But don't do it, it's not safe. I used to put the car seat in the actual trolley instead.”

“Clipping the seat onto any thing or base that’s not safety tested can lead to positional asphyxiation. Please be careful while doing this,” warned another, being specific about one of the dangers.

Still another broke out the second biggest reason behind the danger: “All car seats can clip but it actually damages the car seat clips themselves and can cause it to be defective in the base.”

Of course, these are all unverified internet comments, too. For the best information, go to a trusted source of information: one of Scary Mommy’s long-time favorite experts is The Car Seat Lady, a group of three national experts on car seat safety (including one doctor).

The Car Seat Lady website has a lot to say about bucket car seats for babies and grocery store shopping carts.

The long and short of it: never put your kid’s bucket seat onto the top portion of a grocery cart. There are a number of reasons for this: your kid could get injured falling from the elevated surface; the cart could tip over; the clips, as some commenters mentioned, could indeed get damaged; and, yes, positional asphyxiation might occur.

And if that doesn’t convince you, here’s a scary video of a very close call.

How can you clip in correctly? The Car Seat Lady is very specific. Never unbuckle your baby from the car seat even when you’re transporting them outside of a vehicle. Never place your baby in a car seat on an elevated surface. In the grocery store, place your baby, while buckled, into the basket of the shopping cart. If you’ve got a lot of groceries to get, plan to wear your baby or leave them with another caregiver.

And in general? Get your parenting hacks from experts, like your pediatrician.