Hannah McKinney is a new mom from Henry County, Ga., who is spreading awareness of the dangers of a popular car seat accessory after her two-month-old daughter was injured during an accident.
McKinney said she had added sheepskin seatbelt covers to the car seat to make it more comfortable for her baby, Robin — and she’s attributing the same accessory to her daughter’s traumatic experience during the collision.
“PSA to all parents and soon to be parents! These were on my two-month-old daughter’s car seat when she was involved in a flip over car accident. The vehicle cart wheeled twice and rested on its side, she was ejected from the seat due to the sheep skin seatbelt covers,” wrote McKinney on Facebook. “When we got to the vehicle, all straps were tight and in tact, plus car seat still in base, still attached to seat, but with the force of the vehicle the sheep skin slid against her shirt and made her go flying out.”
She warns other parents that adding attachments to car seats that didn’t come directly with the device may not be safe — despite their claims. If child’s safety isn’t incentive enough, she also warns that adding accessories nulls the warranty of the car seat.
“Please, please, please people DO NOT put things on a car seat that did not come that way from the manufacturer. Plus anything on a car seat in a accident voids the warranty! We had to learn the hard way and I thank god everyday that he had his hands on her! They may look cute and it may be soft but for your child’s safety don’t do it. We attended a car seat safety class at children’s health care of Atlanta and it was a real eye opener,” she wrote.
The post has been shared almost 140,000 times with more than 19,000 reactions, with many parents praising her for sharing her experience.
“I am SO glad you are posting this! Many people don’t know that ANYTHING aftermarket that didn’t come with your car seat is extremely unsafe. I am so glad your baby is OK, thank goodness!” commented one follower.
“Hope you don’t mind me sharing this! So glad that precious baby and Dee were OK!” added another.
WSBTV in Atlanta also shared the young mother’s story and spoke to an expert at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta about car seat accessories. Similar to McKinney, Child Passenger Safety Specialist Johanna Martinez warns parents of the dangers.
“You never want to add anything to a car seat that doesn’t come with it. It’s not crash tested with the car seat,” Martinez told WSBTV. “People think because they’re being sold, they’re safe to use.”
Unless approved by the car seat manufacturer, it is recommended that parents avoid aftermarket products when it comes to car seats.
While baby Robin is OK – suffering a hairline fracture in her upper arm – McKinney is hopeful her message will prevent other parents from suffering a similar traumatic situation.