Breathe. New paragraph. I'm getting a headache again, that's how much looking at this baby stressed me out. I was trying to figure out what sort of gravity was keeping him there, and when he'd start fidgeting and slither out, and if there were even any straps behind him at all - you can see that these people were having a long discussion about where their Old Navy card was and who had lost whose card and so on while I was thinking all these thoughts - and I would have really liked to say something but I didn't want to look like a superior sort of busybody who felt she was better than these people and somehow was accusing them of not loving him, especially when his grandma (I think) took him out and started kissing him just as I would have done. And I saw that there were straps in the seat but they were down too low for him, since he was a big baby and they hadn't been moved since the very first newborn slots, and I tried to make excuses for his mother, that maybe she was run off her feet with five other kids in the house and a full-time job and no husband and maybe she really didn't have a second to check the manual every time her baby grew another half inch and maybe standing here buying sweaters that she was saying she didn't really need was all the time she had and who was I to tell her to spend it looking out for her baby's safety. (I fully admit that Miss was badly secured in her carseat for at least a week after we got our new car, before I took it to a carseat safety event thingy where they told me not to use the Latch system after all, that she was much more secure if we went back to the old way of using the seatbelt, just while she's still rear-facing in the convertible seat: I merely mention this as a PSA in case it happens to you.)
But they I noticed that both women had inch-long nails with swirly designs painted on them. And I got a bit annoyed and thought, You could at least have maybe skipped the salon for one week and checked out the car seat manual to keep your baby safe. And they finally finished up and put him back in the carseat and proceeded NOT to strap him in, and THEN the mother said to him, crossly, "Sit back. Sit back. You gotta sit back," as if this scrap of a thing had any clue what that meant, and as if that would keep him safe. Does she tell him to sit back in the car as they hurtle down the beltway at 60mph? Or did she actually use the straps when she put him into the car?
I don't know. Steam was coming out of my ears as they left the shop and I bought my shorts with a very bad grace, wondering still if I should have said soemthing. Did I keep quiet becasue they were two large African American ladies who would have thought this skinny white girl with the baby whose head was clearly lolling unsupported on her back thought she was better than they were? Would it have been racist? Sizeist? Classist? Might it have helped the baby? I think I said nothing mostly because I'm non-confrontational, and also because I doubted it would do any good except to get their backs up. Maybe they got the seat second-hand and don't have the manual. Maybe the manual got lost, or burned up in a fire, or eaten by wild animals. Maybe they have no access to a computer and no time to look it up, and don't know anyone to ask, or maybe they just don't care. I know that it's not nearly as easy to get your carseat checked out at a police station or fire station as it's always made out to be - last time I called our local police station they said "We no longer offer that service," and when I asked where else I could go locally they had no idea.
So should I have said something? Would you?