Custom Car Seat Covers

I’ve been seeing custom made car seat covers or “DIY” covers all over Pinterest  recently. At first I thought it was a cute and clever idea but then I began to read more about it. How is this safe? How is remaking your child’s car seat safe? Just because you want it to “look nice” isn’t a good reason to go ahead and decorate it, tear it apart and remake it. The styles they have in stores have been tested, I don’t think too many “DIY” seats or seat covers have been tested….

For example, I came across this blog. Now, can someone tell me how that is safe?? Yes it’s beautiful but.. c’mon.. really? Oh and don’t forget the TINY disclaimer it has at the bottom of the tutorial.

“Altering your car seat may void your car seat’s warranty. “  Okay, don’t you see a big red light flashing here?… if not.. read on.

” However, in the event of an accident, your car seat may or may not be replaced with a brand new one.  So consider the risk of having to pay for a new one, if your seat was damaged in a way that your seat’s company would have been willing to replace it for free.” 

First off, the danger you are putting YOUR CHILD in should come first, not risking a payment for purchasing a new seat!

Bah. This is a very lovely tutorial but I don’t think it should be used for a car seat. Maybe  make something else super cute.. don’t worry too much about having pretty fabric before choosing your child’s safety..and also… PEOPLE NEED TO GET OVER PEOPLE WHO “SAY MEAN THINGS”

A lot of the people that commented on this post commented on it to point out that something is wrong. Not to “be mean”

If you want to “play nicely” with everyone just so you don’t make people mad.. and you are willing to ignore the big picture… well…I’m sorry but something is not right in your brain. It seems like the only thing people throw out at everyone is how “mean” or “judgemental” they are. Being nice to every single person about every single topic isn’t going to get you anywhere. Even if you said something in a nice way about how you don’t agree with someone or something, you’re gonna get shot down. I think you should just be honest and educational about your opinions. Don’t get nasty with your words. but even then.. honesty and educational can be taken in a harsh way.

Here are some comments from people who seem to agree with me (you can find these at the bottom of the tutorials post)

“ITS NOT SAFE!!! ANYTHING that isnt part of the seat when you buy it VOIDS VOIDS VOIDS!!! the munufacturer warranty!!! DO SOME RESEARCH!!! Cute does NOT NOT NOT = SAFE!!!”

The above poster is right that not only would using something like this will void the seat’s warranty, but this has also not been tested with the seat. It could cause the seat to not function properly and could cause injuries to the baby. The fabric (or anything that is behind the baby that shouldn’t be there) could bunch up and push the baby forward in an accident causing neck injuries- which would not be good on a newborn!I would recommend speaking with the manufacturer to see if they would recommend this and alco getting the seat checked by a CPST.”

“You are an amazingly talented person.But I think it is a tad irresponsible of you to make something like this and acknowledge that it is not recommended. The whole point that the car seat manufacturers make is that the seat might not be as safe with a homemade cover. Why risk your baby? Much safer to put a cute blanket over the top of the properly secured baby.”

That is an awfully cute cover, but I have to agree with the others that say it’s unsafe. I used to think that making a big deal about flame retardant materials in carseats was just some silly government regulation, until the day, one of my daughters used a magnifying glass on her sister’s carseat.It happened when I’d stepped out of the car for a minute. If her seat cover had NOT been flame retardant, she would’ve been in flames fast. It could have been a horrible outcome! But instead, only a very small hole was burned in the cover of her Britax seat. It totally bugs me that her seat has a small burn hole in it and I am an experienced seamstress so I could’ve easily made a new cover. But I haven’t. a) because I don’t want to hassle finding flame retardant fabrics and b) because her life’s FAR more important than a cute carseat, so I’ll live with the one with a small burn hole. It’s a good reminder that safety is FAR more important than something being in style or pretty.

“While the cover is beautiful and well-sewn, your claim that this style of recovering project will perform the same as the original is really just a guess, isn’t it? It is the same as any other after-market product in that we have no clue how it will perform. It may be safe or it may not be. We have no way to know until it is put into a real life crash test. Warranties and insurance are the least of my concerns when car seats are involved. This is your child’s life. Are you really worried about the seat warranty? The real question is, Do you want your child to be the crash test dummy just so your seat can look pretty? 
Selina 
CPST”

“I think though that the disclaimer should be a little more obvious, maybe at the top of the post? Yes, using 3rd party carseat covers (including homemade) and other products that don’t come with the seat will void your seat’s warranty and your insurance company will also not be impressed should they find out in the event of an accident; I have heard of people not getting their seats replaced due to alterations/3rd party products being used. The covers may be ugly but they are what is made to go with the seat and tested during safety testing (flamability, compression of padding/fabrics etc) so better to be safe than sorry I think. 2c :)”

“I know many people think that some of us who have commented about the seat not being safe may think we are overreacting and I just wanted to put out a little more information. I am a CPST (child passenger safety technician in case you’re not familiar) which means I’ve had training- and continue to have training- to help parents install car seats. Until I had an interest in this field and took the class I had no idea that so many kids weren’t properly restrained in their car seats- at least 80% of car seats aren’t used properly. Which means there is a good chance that the majority of the people posting here could be in this group (not accusing, just based on the statistics, hopefully everyone is doing it right). Maybe these things just aren’t as important until you have seen everything from a different view, but car seat safety is imporant. Children die from the misuse of car seats, even if it’s only one child a year that is still someone’s child and maybe that parent’s negligence that could have caused it. Just please don’t say you “think” it will be fine (like so many commenters have said) what are you basing this on? Just your opinion?”

“I personally think it looks like a wonderful and extremely well made product. BUT…..in the state I live in and a few states near mine have laws that if a baby born at hospital is taken home it must be in a car seat and the original factory installed fabric covering. A hospital has the right to not allow a parent to take the child home till they fix the car seat to the factory condition. They also have the right to require them to go to a car seat checking location (Police station/fire station) and have forms filled out before they are allowed to take the child home. I have had people tell me that this has happened to them or their new grandbabies…I would highly suggest that a note be put on the post that if this is done that they should have the car seat covering be checked and approved by the appropriate local authorities just for the parents safety and if something should happen in the future it wouldn’t be questioned.”

and here are some that made my mouth drop. IN A BAD WAY. I mean c’mon people… seriously?

“WOW what a controversial tutorial reading some of those posts! I am sure no one was in any way intending to put their child in harms way by “simply” (not necessarily meaning it was simple..) changing the fabric of the car seat cover..its not like she altered the structure of the seat or the way the straps work…maybe instead of being so critical and judgemental about this wonderful transformation, you naysayers should think about just how many parents out there are still using unsafe and outdated car seats!! Whats worse – a new fabric on a car seat or one thats 20 years old and barely has any fabric/padding left? Seriously!!!” 

and look… they used the “judgmental” thing just like I said people do. And the “what’s worse?” part.. oh my goodness…. Both are probably equally as harmful!

As for the safety…I mean seriously people…every car seat is accident prone. Chill out…You baby will be fine no matter what…I mean how often do our cars explode? and if you are in a wreck with your infant isn’t it the seatbelt straps that hold your baby in? I don’t know…I mean I want my baby to be safe and sound but I see no reason to start being worry warts over the fabric that covers your car seat.”

YOUR BABY WILL BE FINE NO MATTER WHAT?? Are you kidding me??

Wow, who knew there were so many car seat experts out there! Your car seat is absolutely beautiful.”

Oh man. My head and heart hurts. Thinking about all of this stresses me out and makes me feel sick. I probably will make a lot of you mad with this post but… there you have it. My opinion about DIY Car seat covers…

and no… just because you use flame resistant fabric doesnt make your carseat the same as the manufactured one.

Please be safe out there and read read read cautions! They are there for a reason!

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