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Monday, March 21, 2011

Safety Isn't Always about Convenience

It's a beautiful spring day. You're on your way to the grocery store with your babies in tow. You go to take that well-worn left turn and someone blows through the traffic light. Will your kids survive?

It's a snowy night in late December. You've managed to wrangle your young children into the car to head home from a family holiday dinner. Before you make it off the highway, someone fishtails and skids toward you, unable to stop. Will your family make it out alive?

You're running late on a school day. You toss the kids in the back and gun it for daycare, trying to get to work on time. As you come up over a hill, unexpected sunlight blasts into your line of vision, obscurring the road. You try to slow down, but you've gone to the wrong side of the road in your sunglare blindness. Are your babies safe?

Regulations are put in place for a reason. In the case of carseat rules, the reason is safety. The reason is life.  As I see more and more people up in arms about the new AAP carseat regulations, I wonder if they've forgotten that.

Once you are a parent, you know that in all walks of life, conveniences will be thrown out the window. No more jumping in the shower as soon as you wake up. The kids need you.  No more enjoying a leisurely cup of (hot) coffee before you start your day. The kids need you.  No more sleeping a glorious eight or nine hours at night. Your babies, they need you.  No more hopping in the car at a moment's notice to pick something up or run a quick errand.  It's just one of those things that comes with the territory.

And since we all have to put our children in their protective and useful carseats anyway, what's the big deal about not facing them frontward for another few months? It's safer for your kids. Full stop.  I, for one, fully support these new guidelines.  What could possibly be the reason not to do it? 

The only reasons I've been hearing have to do with convenience.  "My kid wants to look out the window. I'm sick of having to stretch and bend, trying to secure them in backward.  I can't reach them easily when I'm driving.  I want to see their cute little faces. Stop telling me how to parent."

Are any of these complaints valid in the face of an actual car accident?  If facing your children to the rear of the vehicle will spare them from whiplash, injury, or death, isn't it worth it?  No one is telling anyone else how to effectively parent in this situation. They are telling others how to effectively save the lives of their loved ones, to the best of their ability.  How can anyone frown upon that?

While we're at it, let's add in the other safety rules that are inconvenient. Do you take your child's coat off in the car in winter so that the straps are tight and fitted as they are supposed to be?  Do you make sure the five-point harness system connects high on the baby's chest?  Do you straighten and untangle the straps before tying the baby in?  Do you make sure there is no looseness or give in those straps?  Have you checked to make sure the device itself is properly attached to the car?

Car seats and car seat rules aren't there to annoy parents. They're there because babies have died. They're there to prevent your baby from dying.

But, really, whine and cry about it on every social networking site available to you. That's your right. As long as you're following the guidelines, even if you complain about it, at least your children will be safe. And that's what truly matters.

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  1. Oh wow, are people really upset about it? I guess it's just common sense to me. :x

    Here's a handy article on making it easier to get stubborn toddlers into their carseats safely:

  2. We were planning on keeping Garrett rear facing until he was 2 anyway. It's a moot point right now because he's not even 20 lbs so he's too small to turn around anyway.
    He'll probably hit 20lbs and 2 years around the same time.

  3. These regulations are SOO timely as my youngest is quickly outgrowing her bucket seat and my oldest is still 1 pound from most booster requirements, though it looks like she will fit into the high-backed boosters. We are trying to determine if we have to buy 2 new car seats (for the 2 cars) or if we'll be able to get away with getting a high backed booster for our 38 pound 5 year old. At least we have an pediatrician appointment this week so I'll be able to discuss it with her.

  4. I want to like this about 1000 times.

  5. It is always better if you look for a better security devices



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