The Duggar family has sparked controversy once again after posting a photo taken by Jinger of her “shopping buddy” Michael Duggar. The photo showed Michael sleeping peacefully in the back of a car with his head leaning on the vehicle’s side door. The child is covered in a blanket with a lap belt, but appears to be without a booster seat. Many fans took to social media to decry the lack of safety precautions for Michael, noting that Jinger Duggar broke the law by driving with the child improperly restrained.
The Duggar Family Official Facebook page shared a seemingly innocent photo of Michael Duggar, Josh and Anna’s son, sleeping in the car as aunt Jinger took him out as her “shopping buddy.” While many called the photo “adorable,” others pointed out that Michael’s safety was being put at risk and that Jinger was breaking Arkansas law by not properly restraining the child.
In the photo, Michael appears to be sleeping in the car with his head resting against the door. The lap belt appears to be secured around his waist but the shoulder belt is placed behind the child’s torso and no booster seat can be seen. Per Arkansas safety laws, children under five must be placed in car seats when riding in a vehicle. The law notes that all children under the age of five, or under 60 pounds, must be placed in a federally-approved car seat or booster.
“Children under 5 years old and under 60 pounds must be secured in a federally approved car seat or booster.”
Michael Duggar was born on June 15, 2011, and is currently 4-years-old. Therefore, by Arkansas law, Michael is required to be in an approved booster seat when the car is in motion. While many pointed out that it doesn’t appear Michael is in a car seat, others state there “could” be a booster seat under the blanket that we simply cannot see in the photo.
Even if a booster seat is in place, for the seat to be used properly, the shoulder belt would need to be across Michael’s torso. Therefore, many Duggar fans concerned about Michael’s safety say the Duggars need to reevaluate their car seat options for children riding in their vehicles. Some “fans” on the page pointed out that there is no way the photo could be construed as safe as it clearly paints a picture of a child that is improperly restrained, a practice which in the state of Arkansas would be deemed illegal.
“He should be in a high back booster or a harness. She probably wasn’t driving when the photo was taken but had to have been driving with him in that position. Doubtful she would pull over, park, move his seatbelt behind him, let him finish his nap, snap a photo and go home. Keep dreaming. He isn’t properly restrained. Period. I’m sure he had the seat belt in front of him across his chest and when he dozed off and laid on the door it went behind him. If he was in a high back booster or harness his head would have had a cushion to lay on while sitting upright. I swear the Duggars can do no wrong to some ppl but child car seat safety is no joke. If she wrecked with him like that he would not be in good shape!!!”
The Duggars aren’t the only family who are riding with children improperly restrained. In fact, SeatCheck.org points out that seven out of 10 children are improperly restrained when riding in vehicles.
“While 96 percent of parents and caregivers believe their child safety seats are installed correctly, research shows that seven out of 10 children are improperly restrained.”
Not sure how to properly install a booster seat or unsure what seat is best for your child? Check out the booster safety video below.
This isn’t the first time the family has been criticized for “unsafe” behavior. Recently, Jessa Seewald was called out by fans for leaving her son, Spurgeon, in a car seat to play.
What do you think about the controversial photo of Michael Duggar improperly restrained while riding with Jinger?
[Image via Facebook]