On Tuesday, July 23, the world watched as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge introduced us to their first child, Prince George. For those of us in the child passenger safety community, the happy occasion was soon mixed with concern as the new parents strapped their son into a child safety seat and drove off. As many blogs, forums, and national news outlets have reported, it appeared that although Prince George was rear-facing, he was not properly restrained in his child safety seat.
As you can see in this photo, despite the fact that there should never be anything (bulky clothing, blankets, etc.) between a child and the safety seat, Prince George is wrapped in a swaddling cloth, under his harness. Also, because the harness straps are clearly not tight enough, only one strap is over his shoulder, leaving the other arm loose and exposed. According to the Huffington Post, the President of Britax, the company that manufactures the seat used for Prince George, had this to say:
"We’ve read many comments on how the Prince of Cambridge was harnessed in his Britax Baby-Safe plus infant carrier. We trust that safety is of the utmost importance to the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge when it comes to their child, and the fact they’ve chosen a Britax seat is a testament to this! We at Britax are here to offer advice and tips on travel safety to any parents, royal or not," the statement continued. "If you want to be sure that you’re correctly harnessing your child into their infant carrier, have a look at our Britax B-Safe 'Securing Your Child in the Seat' video."
It is difficult to imagine the pressure a new parent faces securing his child into a car seat for the first ride, let alone doing it under the glare of paparazzi. Hopefully increased awareness and education of CPS best practices will come out of the media attention being placed on the Prince’s first car ride.