Corrie and I were at Toys-R-Us this week, and I was loading my packages into the back of my mini-van. While I stood there, a woman pulled up into the parking place next to me. She drove a new Ford Expedition, and she was smartly dressed. She climbed out of her door and walked around to take her baby out of his car seat.
His rear-facing carseat.
His rear-facing carseat that she had in the front seat next to her.
And I think my mouth involuntarily gaped open a bit. I thought anyone with access to an episode of Dateline NBC would know how dangerous this is. I thought it was beyond common knowledge that you never put a rear-facing carseat (or any carseat) in the front. And (let’s just go ahead and not deny that we form judgments based on appearances, whether it’s right or not) she seemed to be the kind of person who has the resources to know better.
I shuddered just a little, and I gave a fleeting thought to saying something to her. I knew nothing good would come of that (how would you react to a complete stranger giving you advice in a parking lot?). I worried a little about that baby’s safety, and I wondered about my own instincts and prejudices–would I have been more or less concerned? more or less surprised? if the mother in the next parking spot had been a young teenage mom in a beat-up old Datsun.
Mostly, it just made me curious. What would you do if you had seen this? Or if you had been at a dinner party with a very pregnant friend while she downed two glasses of red wine (that’s happened to me, also). Or you had seen a parent angrily and hurtfully disciplining a child in a store (I think we’ve all seen that)?
When would you speak up? Would you ever? Why, or why not?