First rule of raising kids in the digital age: NEVER POST A CAR SEAT PICTURE! Seriously, nothing brings out the sanctimommies and judgey hoards like a car seat photo. Are there people in the world who use car seats correctly? Because it sure as hell doesn’t seem like it! The latest target of the Car Seat Brigade’s wrath is James Breakwell, the dad behind the hilarious Exploding Unicorn pages. James made the mistake of posting a picture of his four daughters (plus their pig!) buckled in for a ride to grandma’s house. Little did he know, he was about to kill his children.
James posted the picture on his Exploding Unicorn Instagram page. But it wasn’t until it showed up on Facebook that the real drama began.
Four girls and a pig in a minivan. I feel like it’s the start of a joke. You may notice, if you’ve read about car seat safety. that the girls are all wearing winter coats. Honestly, the first thing I noticed was the pig, because it’s a … pig. Also, no one is crying! That’s got to be some kind of record in parenting. But yes, the girls are all wearing winter coats, because it’s winter and James and his family live in where it drops below zero.
But puffy coats! And car seats! It’s a deadly combination!!!
Full disclosure: I live where it’s sunny ALL THE TIME, and while my kids have winter coats, I can count on one hand the number of times they actually have to wear them in a year. So I don’t ever have to deal with this coat in the car seat thing, and to be honest, I don’t fully understand it. The coat creates some kind of barrier, between the kid and the straps? And in an accident, the kid can shoot out like an arrow? I’m not trying to minimize the risk, but I feel like having your car seat properly installed, using the correct TYPE of car seat, and making sure the straps are properly tightened and in place are the most important.
Honestly, what do people who live where it gets really cold deal with this? I’m genuinely curious! James also had plenty to say about the hullabaloo surrounding the photo. Out of all the content he’s posted, he says he’s never gotten the kind of vitriol this one photo inspired.
The Exploding Unicorn dad says, “I have four kids in car seats and no garage. It’s a miracle I ever get their coats on them in the first place. Every day is a battle. Maybe a zipper won’t work. Maybe a kid will refuse to wear the coat she always wears because it’s the wrong shade of purple. Maybe a child will refuse to wear clothes at all. There’s no way I’m going through all of that just to tell my kids to take their coats back off after they walk the 10 steps from the house to the van.”
“And no, my kids won’t sprint from the house to the van without coats on when it’s dark and 10 below zero, especially when the vehicle they’re running to is equally freezing. I realize in a perfect world, I would already have the van warmed up. But I don’t live in a perfect world. I have kids.”
“I have kids” should really be an acceptable response to anything.
2-year-old: *gets her arm stuck in her coat sleeve*
Me: Don't panic. I can help you.
2: *screeches like a pterodactyl trapped in a tar pit*
— James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn) January 31, 2018
James says that the sanctimommies on Facebook didn’t care for his excuses (someone actually messaged him to tell him he was literally killing his kids, which … calm down). But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. He goes on, “Until the law says I have to change what I’m doing, I’ll keep strapping my kids in with their winter coats on. Trust me, their straps are plenty tight. You can see my kids in that picture, but you can’t hear their whining. Yes, dear, I know you’re trapped. That’s the point.”
“I think it’s awesome that they’re so good at raising their kids that they have time to raise mine, too. But that doesn’t mean I need their advice,” says James. And that’s a pretty good attitude to have about it all.
(Image: Facebook/James Breakwell, Exploding Unicorn)