There are some things in life you should never, ever do yourself. Do not make a DIY condom. Do not use Kristin Cavallari’s DIY baby formula recipe. And definitely, definitely never use a DIY car seat like the one discovered by police in Victoria, Australia, this week.

Victoria police were so astonished by the DIY car seat they found in the backseat of a car that they took a photograph of it and posted it online as a public service announcement, just in case there was anyone else in the world who might think this was an acceptable car seat substitute.

Police pulled the car over at an intersection, and when they went to talk to the driver they noticed two teenagers in the rear passenger seats were not wearing seat belts. That’s not legal in Australia. But when the police figured out why the teenagers weren’t wearing seat belts, they were horrified. The seat belts meant to go with the side passenger seats, where the teens were sitting, had been looped through the middle seat to hold a bouncy chair in place as a sort of makeshift car seat.

A 7-month-old baby was riding in this DIY car seat when the police found it.

DIY car seat

Victoria police

Jesus. That photo is really freaking me out. That’s nowhere near a safe way to travel with a baby. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among children, and experts say many of those are due to improper car seat use, or no car seat use at all.

Car seats save lives. That’s why they’re mandatory. In order to keep children safe, it’s illegal to drive a child in a car without a car seat. In this case, police gave the driver three tickets totaling $900 because there were three unrestrained minors in the back seat.

Why was the baby in that fake car seat?

Victoria police did not say why the baby was riding in this clearly unsafe fake car seat. Did they not know this wasn’t a real car seat? Did they know and just not care, for whatever reason? It’s not even clear if this is how the baby travels every day or if this was a one-time thing and the driver thought, “Oh, just this once’ll be fine.” Could they not afford a car seat? There are ways to get a car seat if you can’t afford them. But car seat assistance takes some digging to find, and a person might not know it’s available.

It’s unclear why a baby was in that rocking chair instead of a car seat, but it’s extremely dangerous. A child must be in safe, age-appropriate restraints every single time they travel by car. A person who can’t afford a car seat can contact Safe Kids Worldwide or check with local police, fire department, or social services.

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(Image: iStockPhoto / Jovanmandic)