While experts recommend keeping your baby in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, it’s still a bit frustrating not to be able to see your child when you look back. That’s one of the reasons why mom Amanda DeAngelis put a specially-designed car mirror on the back seat.
As DeAngelis wrote on Facebook, she had installed an Eddie Bauer rear-facing mirror over her daughter’s car seat so she would be able to see her daughter’s face from the driver’s seat. Such mirrors can be easily bought online and at stores that sell baby gear.
The mirrors come in a wide variety of designs but are generally intended to be mounted on or near the back seat, enabling those in front to keep an eye on the baby.
On this particular sunny day, DeAngelis was in a bit of a hurry and got her daughter, Mila, out of the seat for a brief stop. That’s when the busy mom noticed the smoke.
First came the smell, then wispy tendrils of smoke began to rise from her daughter’s car seat. DeAngelis captured the smoking seat on video. And it didn’t take her long to figure out what was causing the problem — her safety mirror. As she said in the video:
“This is my baby’s car seat … smoking. Because there is a mirror on the back of the seat so I can see her. And I just took her out of the seat, and smelled smoke, and saw the smoke coming up. And this is caused by the sun’s reflection into the car seat. Thank God I made a two second stop and found this before something happened.”
Photos showed that the mirror’s reflection was intense enough to actually burn holes in the car seat’s fabric cover. The thought of what might have happened had it been her baby’s skin instead was chilling. DeAngelis wrote:
Thank God! I was rushing home and didn’t sit in my seat checking emails and responding to texts like I typically do it Mila is sleeping. I’ve used car seats with mirrors with all my kids — never have I experienced this! Scary!
Though it may seem obvious in hindsight, it’s easy to forget that reflective surfaces and sunlight can be a dangerous combination. Fires have been started by everything from make-up mirrors to decorative glass doorknobs. The Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service warns homeowners to keep reflective objects away from windows and sunlight:
The sun’s rays can be magnified by a lens or magnifying mirror, so it is dangerous to leave glass objects, like magnifying mirrors, too close to windows. In fact, anything that can concentrate the sun’s rays like fish bowls or glasses of water, should be kept away from windows to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out.
While some on Facebook faulted DeAngelis for not realizing that the mirror could pose a hazard, most were thankful for the warning.
DeAngelis says she isn’t trying to blame anyone and has tried to notify both the car seat and mirror manufacturer of the incident. As she wrote on Facebook, she just wants other moms to know that their car seat mirror could become a hazard:
“Never did it occur to me it would reflect and happen so quickly. Do with this information what you will – just don’t judge!”