Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Car Seat Safety

In general I love living in Israel, but I must admit - the driving here is absolutely dreadful.  There also seems to be a general disregard for safety (like children riding on motorcycles, use of carseats that are older than I am, children not properly strapped into their seats or not belted at all, etc.).  More often than not I see all of these in circumstances when I can't speak up (not that I would have the guts to).  It is very frustrating, though, when I see these practices in people close to me.

A couple weeks ago I happened to spend half the day with a family with six children, newborn to 13 years old. The newborn, when she was in her car seat and not on her mother's lap, was not properly strapped in.  The next oldest child (2) was also not always strapped in, let alone properly.  Is the kid a little fussy?  Okay, take him out, give him what he wants.

This is a huge contrast to what we do.  Last night N, LH and I were returning from a mini vacation and we got stuck in a major traffic jam, so a car ride that should have taken 2.5 hours turned into 4.5 hours.  Of course LH did not appreciate being tethered and unable to wiggle around all that time, but she never left her seat.  The most I did was unclip her chest clip so that I could take off her sweatshirt while we were stopped, and then she was clipped right back up.  In the middle she very much wanted to nurse - a feat which I accomplished without touching her restraints at all and with a minimal adjustment of my seat belt.  I don't care if we were going under 30kph; it's not worth it to risk my child's safety for the sake of comfort.

Obviously there are people out there who disagree with me, and I know exactly how annoying it can be to have a screaming baby in the car because they don't want to be in the car seat.  Trust me, if something happened to your babe because you weren't taking the precautions you could have, you would beat yourself up forever that you didn't just suck it up and listen to the screaming for a little bit.

It doesn't matter what our parents or our grandparents did.  It doesn't matter that the old car you grew up in didn't even have seat belts in the back seat, or that holding a baby in your lap was the norm.  Just because you were never hurt, just because your friend was never hurt, doesn't mean it can't happen.  A properly installed, properly used child restraint system saves lives.  Don't take the risk.  God can only do so much against stupidity.  Think of the car seat as the protective hug that you are giving your child while you are driving.  Never stop hugging your children.

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