I have to be honest will y’all: I’m not a huge fan of Kim Kardashian. (I know, I know — unpopular opinion.) I mean, sure, I don’t totally understand why she is famous, but it isn’t even that. You see, with two jobs, a rambunctious two-year-old, and a strict marathon training schedule, my time is limited, which means celebs aren't always on my radar. But on Monday, when Kardashian's photo of North West sitting in her car seat swept the Interwebs, I couldn’t not pay attention. For one, the snapshot totally dominated both my Facebook and Twitter feeds. But it also quickly became the center of a well-intentioned, but poorly executed discussion over car seat safety. Specifically, everyone immediately had things to say about the way little North West and her friend were fastened in.
Almost instantly, I had flashbacks to Ryan Reynolds' "baby carrier controversy" over the summer. You know the one: It happened back in June, when Blake Lively shared an Instagram photo of her husband carrying their daughter James in a baby harness. Unfortunately, the newbie papa had unknowingly placed her in the wrong way. But instead of getting some supportive advice from the good people of the Internet, Reynolds was on the receiving end of their unforgiving wrath.
Whelp; I rolled my eyes then, and I'm rolling my eyes now. Because I've been there. We've all been there. But back to Kim. If you haven’t seen the photo yet, here's what everyone's been talking about:
At first glance, you think freakin’ adorable, right? I mean, what parent doesn’t love snapping shots of their sleeping kiddos? But do you also see what’s wrong with this picture? (I’ll wait, because it took me a minute.) Well, ready or not, here’s the answer: North's friend, who is seated at right, has been strapped in with the chest clip too low, and on both children, the straps appear to be too loose. There has also been some speculation the car seats may not be properly tethered, but to be honest, I totally can't tell that from the picture myself.
Yet while it took me a moment to figure out what was amiss, it didn’t take the Internet long. Within seconds, throngs of angry commentators were descending on Kim to point out her parenting mistakes. On Twitter comments ranged from potentially helpful (maybe?) to downright snarky and obscene:
And Instagram wasn’t any kinder: User bammer1 said, "Hopefully you aren't driving around with these kids in their car seats like this. #safetyfirst," while jasminegee96 added, "You're pregnant with your second child and I'm hoping you can at least tie his seat in properly." Everything.bella added to the conversation by giving her advice while name calling: "I really hope you learn how to strap in your kids before you give birth again. idiot." Um, what? Does Kim really deserve that kind of ire?
Here’s the thing: There is no doubt in my mind many commenters were attempting to be helpful. (I mean, if you saw your own friend snapping their infant or toddler in incorrectly you would speak up, no?) But for many others, the volatile tone, the implication that Kim and Kayne do not care about their daughter because of one simple — and common — mistake is absurd, and honestly, offensive. Sure, the chest clip is a bit out of place and car seat safety is important, but I’m willing to be most parents have made this mistake or a similar one. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a full "93 percent of parents leaving the hospital made at least one critical error when installing the car safety seat or positioning their infant in it." That's exactly why it's so important that we spread helpful information about car seat safety instead of shaming. Because, while it should go without saying, calling other parents "idiots" for getting something wrong that's actually pretty common solves nothing and helps no one.
So can we all calm down, already? Please? At the end of the day, we are all just parents, who are learning, and yes, making some mistakes along the way. But we also all want the same thing, too: the best for our kids.