Let's start by making a very obvious statement. Perhaps the most obvious statement ever.
Car seats are safe to use.
They are so safe, it is illegal not to use them. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have child safety seat laws. These laws require children to be placed in approved child seats or booster seats when traveling in a car. The states' rules differ at what age children can switch to using the seat belts in the car versus the booster seats. But, the overall message is clear. Car seats are safe and they must be used.
However, that didn't stop Forrest Maready from tweeting a statement earlier this week linking car seat usage to autism. Wait, what? See his tweet below.
Just to be safe? Obviously, to a scientist, this is absolutely unacceptable. The good news is that it also was unacceptable to almost anyone on twitter who read it. If you take a close look at the snapshot taken above, four days after the original tweet was posted, you will see that it has 17 likes and 11 retweets. Ok, so that's 28 people that we should worry about and check their car seat situation. But, notice the number of comments. There are 385. And, by and large, the comments are negative. Some representative examples are,
These types of tweets go on and on. Later in the week, he referred to the people replying as "car-seat lovin’ zealots."
A lot of the replies wonder if what he said is a joke. Unfortunately, it's not. But, the good news is that Forrest only has 1,233 followers and this particular tweet got a lot of push back.
I know that because we don't have a good sense of what causes autism, a lot of things have been postulated. But, car seats simply cannot be one of them. So, nice work pro-science twitter! Let's keep the pressure on these people who are manipulating parents and endangering kids. Because this week it was car seats. But next week, it will be something else. Just check out one of his other tweets...
So much wrong scientific information. So little time.