Saturday, October 17, 2009

Car Seats

So this isn't really a post on parenting... well it kind of is. It's more about a pet peeve though. Regarding car seats. The law states that an infant must be rear facing until 20lbs AND 1 year old. Just because you have a big baby does NOT make it safe for you to turn your child around before they are 1. The reasons for this law is to protect your baby. A baby's neck muscles aren't well enough developed until they are AT LEAST 1 year old to turn forward facing. It drives me crazy that parents think that just because they have a big baby it's okay to turn them around. It's not safe and it's against the law.
Also, if you have a small baby, you can't necessarily turn them forward at 1 year. You may have to wait longer until they reach the appropriate weight (as was the case with Caleb). You don't have to complain about carrying the heavy bucket seat around because you are totally allowed to take the baby out of it just like you would a forward facing seat. The longer a child is rear facing, the better.
Oh, and don't try to used the excuse that a rear facing car seat doesn't fit. Lots of people have smaller cars than you and they manage it just fine. If you can fit a bucket seat, you can fit a convertable car seat. A convertable one may be more expensive that a forward facing, but isn't your child's safety worth it?

I won't even get started on the safety (and legal) issues of booster seats (law till 6 years old and at least 40lbs) and sitting in the front seat (not recommended till the child is 12).

Common errors: not tethering a forward facing seat (what's going to happen when you break hard?), tangled straps (is it really that hard to straighten them?), harness is too loose (kid's may complain that it's too tight, it should be non-negotiable), not using the right size car seat for the child, not having the seat secured properly (it shouldn't move more than 1 inch in any direction), not putting the chest clip at armpit level, and having the carrying handle (on bucket seats) sticking up (stroller toys are cute but not meant to be used in a moving vehicle).

Here's the link to the Government website that is on the back of the pamphlet that I got when I first had Caleb. The public health nurse gave it to me when she did the home visit. I'm pretty sure that it's standard in Alberta. There's no reason why mom's shouldn't know this stuff.

In conclusion, stop bragging about how big your kid is and that he/she's able to switch over to a "big boy" car seat at 6-12 months and do the right thing for your child.

I'm glad I got that off my chest. Thanks for listening.

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