Katherine Heigl posted a photo of her son making an extremely judgmental face earlier this week, but from the looks of it, some sanctimommies in the comments sure out-judged him.
Hoping to save new moms some time, the celebrity mom best known for her role on "Grey's Anatomy" shared some of her baby must-haves.
"Every parent has a few favorite baby products they just can't live without ... and I'm no exception!" Heigl wrote on Instagram, linking to a post on her blog Those Heavenly Days.
One of her favorite products? The UPPAbaby infant car seat. The actress posted a throwback of the now 14-month-old Joshua Jr. in the blue car seat. Though the tot has since outgrown it and had to upgrade to a larger one, Heigl still decided to feature the car seat for its "ease and safety." Unfortunately, some parents couldn't help but point out that Joshua Jr. wasn't in the car seat as safely as he could be, drawing attention to his chest clip.
"Not to be 'one of those people' but the chest clip really needs to be at armpit level!" wrote one user.
"Is no one else commenting on how his chest clip is too low and not tight enough?!" wrote another.
Car seats with chest clips are ubiquitous in the U.S. and Canada. Safety guidelines recommend parents ensure the harness is snug and the chest clip is placed at the center of the chest, usually in line with the armpits, or according to manufacturer guidelines.
"The chest clip's job is to make sure the shoulder straps are where they're supposed to be, prior to a crash," explains Car Seats for Littles, an education-oriented organization staffed by Child Passenger Safety Technicians. Having the chest clip too low doesn't risk puncturing the organs, as the myth goes. "The REAL danger of a too low clip is that it might allow the harness to be too widely spaced at the shoulders. This could lead to increased head excursion, spinal, internal and brain injuries, or even ejection from the car seat."
Car seat safety is a serious issue, but is it right or even necessary to bring it up on another mom's photo, devoid of context? Is it speaking up or mom-shaming? Plus, research shows that shaming moms for their parenting choices, whether from family members or commenters on social media, creates maternal anxiety and more uncertainty about their choices.
Some people, however, came to Heigl's defense and gave her the benefit of the doubt.
"How do you know it wasn't pulled down to take pictures? I'm sure she's got it under control," one commenter questioned. It's true—we don't know whether the mom loosened the clip before the photo or if the car seat was even in the car. An Instagram photo isn't real life and we have no idea what's going on outside of the frame.
Heigl is not the first mom to be slammed for a car seat photo and we doubt she'll be the last. Real talk before the next celeb mom is criticized: Heigl is an experienced mom of three, and it looks like she's doing OK without the unsolicited advice.