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About that Royal Car Seat Debacle...

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Hartley/Rex / Rex USA (1548004r)
Prince George
Catherine Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a baby boy, London, Britain - 23 Jul 2013
Photograph by David Hartley/Rex / Rex USA

As we now well know, all eyes were trained on the royal couple and their new baby Tuesday when they revealed baby Prince George for the first time and left St. Mary's Hospital for Kensington Palace. Immediately, the Twitterverse exploded with chatter about everything from Kate's dress (was it channeling Princess Diana's post-birth dress from '82?) to Prince William's stealth car seat installation (did he practice this stuff at home like a million times, or what?).

But when photos emerged in the minutes after the swift car seat getaway, everyone looked a bit closer. And suddenly a new question was on everyone's mind: was baby George improperly strapped in?

We have to say, it is pretty obvious when looking at the photos now that something was not quite right about the whole thing. For starters, the harness wasn't exactly over the baby's shoulders, as UK safety standards stipulate. Plus, George was wearing a swaddle at the time, which isn't advised when riding in a car seat. But how unsafe was he really? Can't we assume that the Duchess adjusted his straps from inside the car, since she was riding alongside him? And let's remember that the car the royal family was traveling in wasn't exactly speeding down a highway — it was slowly driving a distance of only a few miles.

In an article on the controversy, The Huffington Post pointed out that Prince William would hardly be the first parent to improperly secure his child in a car seat. A 2012 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that in cases where parents installed car seats using the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children System, only 13 percent were actually done right. (13 percent!)

The Huffington Post also reached out to Britax, the car seat manufacturer who made the royal baby's car seat. In an email, the company's president Jon Chamberlain wrote back:

"We've heard 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 that they've chosen a Britax seat is a testament to this!"

While he steered clear of saying whether or not the positioning of baby George's car seat was correct, Chamberlain did offer this helpful how-to video for parents who want to learn safety precautions for themselves:

So what do you think? Was the outcry following the photos totally warranted? Or a bit over-hyped?

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