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What’s So Hard About A Seat Belt?

In the United States, car accidents represent the highest cause of death for children above the age of 3 and are responsible for over 140,000 children’s visits to the emergency room each year. – medical news today

American Journal of Preventive Medicine has revealed that only a small percentage of children in the U.S. are using age-appropriate safety restraints and many children are seated in the front seat and exposed to risk.

I totally am not shocked by all of this.  It’s rare I see a child, in person or in a photo, that’s properly restrained in their car seat, seatbelt or booster seat.  I see little ones being pick up by their parents at school.  No car seat, no booster seat, sitting in the front of the car, etc.

Even the Royals got it wrong…

royal baby car seat

Isn’t it our #1 job as parents to do our best to keep our children as safe as we possibly can?

I’m going to try super hard to not come across as judgmental today….but it may not work…because I think I struggle with judgement in this area…and I don’t know how not to.  This isn’t one of those things where it’s like “if you walked a mile in my shoes…you’d have trouble with this too”.  Maybe I am not seeing this clearly enough but – it seems like this is a simple task anyone can do.  If you can carry a baby in your womb for 9 months or go through the motions of adoption one, you should be able to buckle them up properly.  It’s not rocket science.  So this makes me wonder why time and time and time and time again I see kids in all sorts of wrong wrong wrong car seat or lack of car seat/ booster seat scenarios.

photo from http://aparentinsilverspring.com/2012/09/page/3

photo from http://aparentinsilverspring.com/2012/09/page/3

People are so nonchalant about it, too.  I’m wondering where their brains are at.  Why it’s OK for them to put their children at so  much risk?  Why is this even a thing I feel I have to write about?  When I see a child that isn’t restrained properly or not in the right seat I just see this as a giant billboard statement of “I am very much OK with putting my child at extra risk of death or serious injury if we get in a car accident”.

I’ve been in a car accident before.  I know certain people think they can “catch themselves” or have a last-minute life-saving reaction.  Except what’s happening happens before you can react.  Your body basically becomes exactly like those crash test dummies.  You are absolutely, 100% at the mercy of what’s happening to the vehicle.

My brother was driving about 20 kms/hour and it was snowing really hard.  What he thought was a turn in the road was actually a 30 foot cliff with a giant boulder at the bottom which was directly in our path.  He was being SO CAREFUL – it didn’t matter.  I had a really good attitude going over it, it was so snowy that I thought it was a simple ditch.  That was the last thing I remember until I woke up and spit my teeth out into my hand.  I actually stuck them in my pocket thinking that they could somehow be saved.

The truck was on it’s side.  It hurt a lot to hold the door of the Ford truck above my head with a sprained neck and blood in my eyes but I had to help my brother get out before he could help me.

There was NO stopping the inevitable and I still suffer the pain of what happen to my teeth.  They still hurt and they will need continual upkeep forever.  Luckily after many rounds of physio, my neck healed.  Thankfully the scar on my head is too small to notice.  THANKFULLY I AM ALIVE.

I do hear a lot of excuses from people.  Like “they’ve been safe so far” or “my parents never used seatbelts and I am fine!”.  My next question to them is “did you even get in an accident?” which is always followed by a “no”.  Baffles me.  BAFFLES ME.

BAFFLES ME!

Then there’s the “well he/she always escapes anyway” to which I think who’s the parent here?.  I’m sure it would be a major struggle to keep an escapee in their car seat.  But I just googled in and in two seconds I came across a bunch of solutions to that problem.  I won’t say it’s easy to break your child of this habit but I think it’s prudent to try with all your might.  Is it wrong of me to think that?  Here’s a solution right here….I took a step for you.

Then there’s the “I always drive carefully” comment.  That one baffles me too.  I’m so glad you drive carefully but what about the thousands of other people you pass on the road?  There’s drunk drivers, there are people on their cell phones, there are people who are awful drivers and shouldn’t be driving.  There are animals running onto the road, there are tailgaters who smash into you when you have to slam on your breaks.  I am a safe driver.  I have a clean record.  I got into an accident when I was pregnant with Isaac because someone pulled out in front of me.  There was no stopping it.  OFTEN THERE IS NO STOPPING IT!!!!

I know people have the “it won’t happen to me” mentality.  Let me tell you how many “it won’t happen to me” things have happened to me.  I truly thought they wouldn’t.

I truly thought my children would always be healthy – Silas has asthma and a life-threatening peanut allergy.

I never ever thought the universe would be dumb enough to hand ME a special needs child – Silas has autism.

I felt like I had been through enough in my life and figured of course I’ll never lose a child – I gave birth to a stillborn.

I thought my IUD would stop me from getting pregnant – I got pregnant and lost the baby.

Need I go on?

Improper use of car seats, seat belts and booster seats can even cause your child to be decapitated.  Their head can POP OFF, it happens internally.  Isn’t that a pleasant thought?  You were toooooooooo lazy to do it right and now their head isn’t attached to them anymore.  Think of the grief, think of the GUILT!  If your child’s life and safety isn’t enough then think of the major fines and charges and even jail time that can come your way if you’re caught or if your child is injured in an accident.  Think about living your whole life knowing that your child would still be alive if you put in the time to educate yourself on how to properly buckle them up.

THIS ISN’T A CONSPIRACY!  This is for the safety of your CHILD.  The only being in the world that you love this much.

If you have enough energy to get in your car and drive somewhere, then you easily have the wherewithal to properly restrain your child so they have the best chance of surviving a car accident or acquiring minimal injuries.

Car seats are cheaper than caskets, funerals, medical expenses, etc.

Properly bucking your child is easier than guilt, pain, regret, loss, going to jail, facing major fines.

There’s so much in the world to be lazy about.  If you’re feeling lazy, leave your dishes on the counter and make sure to buckle your child up properly.

I actually care about your child enough, I would buckle your child up properly. 

Here’s a great video on why you should do it properly and what can happen if you don’t.

Here’s a great video about what can happen if a child is forward facing too soon.

 

Take a look at how to properly restrain your child.  Take a look at the height, weight and age regulations for your area.  Go over it again and make sure your child is properly restrained.  If you don’t, I don’t quite get what’s stopping you from keeping your child as safe as possible.

tired

photo from http://careerintuitive.org

So I’m sorry it’s soooooo hard to lift that chest plate between their armpits.  I’m sorry they cry when you tighten their restraints properly.  I’m sorry that you have to like….pull on a cord to tighten it up…those extra two seconds are so HARD.  I’m sorry they get twisted some times and you have to expel ENERGY to untwist them.  I’m sorry your kid escapes and you actually have to parent them and find solutions so they don’t.  Being an adult is so hard.

If we get into an accident, I will be glad to know that I did absolutely everything in my power to keep my children safe.  If you can’t say the same thing then I think you need to reflect on your priorities.

 

 

8 Responses to What’s So Hard About A Seat Belt?

  1. so scary and so true.

  2. I teach my children from infancy where their buckles and straps belong. Both my older children are now able to buckle them selves up and NOT have an improperly placed chest clip. Its so easy to teach them, so that even when you are being so tired and I have my lazy days where I dont want to walk around the van I can have my 7 and 4 year old do themselves up. My children are all maximums, and let me tell yuo the judgement I get for having a 7 year old who rides in a 5 point harness, a police officer even tried to tell me she was too big for her seat and wanted me to remove her from it. I dont understand, how people can be so flippant about it, but they are and I figure that its not my business. There have been a few circumstances where I have gently given advice and corrected situations, but other times when the people didnt give a crap that their 30lbs 7month old forward facing. Or their 40lbs 2 year old being in a booster. ITs not my place to tell anyone how to raise their child, and I just think that I am sure there are situations where what I maybe doing might be judged as dangerous and stupid to one parent but to me I feel it is in my childs best interest and I wouldnt like to have to explain myself to a parent who is being all judgey! Of course when we are in the moment we all feel right and justified. Grace is always needed in these situations. If I see a really bad situation I say a quick prayer. and I always think WHY WHY?!?!?! But who knows what one is thinking and maybe that day, they are just having an off day. We had an emergancy once and I had no way to pick up my daughter from school and no way to get my dad her carseat let alone a booster. She was 5. It was a worst case scenerio but I had to attend to my son in the hospital for emergancy surgery.

    • My kids were never able to until they got into booster seats. Isaac was the last 5 year old I know to get into a booster seat. He was getting too tall for his 5 point and I fed him so many fatty foods so he could get to 40 pounds!!! But he’s in the 10th percentile for his weight. Such a tiny kid. I didn’t care. I’d rather have a safe child than one in a booster.

      I’ve been TOTALLY judged for keeping their belts nice and tight and to that I raise a giant middle finger.

      • My daughter is now 7 and STILL in a 5 point harness. She weighs 55lbs and is tall. She will stay in her carseat until she reaches the max weight of 65lbs. SO probably another year and a bit. Our Kindergarten teacher totally gave us a hard time about how come she was in a car seat and every other kid in the class was in a booster and she wasnt the smallest in her class so….. I just said well thats just how it is. The thing about it too is that she was only 40 half way thru the year so its strange she was the only one.

        • Tiffany, I’m sure I’d say something snarky to the teacher like, that’s so sad, all the other parents are putting their children at increased risk.

  3. THANK YOU!

    I so totally concur with EVERYTHING you’ve said here! And It is nice to see that someone else feels the same way.

    You know where I stand daily, twice a day, and what I see on an average day makes me ill. Your statement of “Who’s the parent here?” SO TRUE!! My car, I make the rules, you want to ride in it, you will be in the proper safety restraint for your height/weight.

  4. Absolutely agree. Samantha is 6 in January and still in a five point in our van which she rides in 95% of the time. We do have a booster for her in the car since she does properly fit it, but until we need her five point to shuffle everyone up one size seat, there won’t be a booster for her in the van!

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