I have four children ages 4 to 11. I still have all of them in either in car seats or booster seats because they don't quite meet the standards for using a regular seat belt. Sometimes the kids at school tease my children because they still have to use car seats. I don't get it. The rules are quite specific for car seat usage yet I see small children who don't meet the criteria to do away with a car sear riding in the back seat and even the front seat. I even know a few APD families at the school whose parents let their little ones ride in the police cruiser without anything. I'm just amazed how parents just don't seem to care.
The law in New Mexico requires all children up to their 7th birthday, regardless of weight, and all children less than 60 pounds, regardless of age, to ride in a child safety seat (car seat or booster seat). The law also states that children ages 7 to 12 must ride in a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits them properly.
Kids should ride in a back seat until age 13
This drives me crazy. It's a conversation I have at least once a month with my parents, because they're concerned that my two year-old is still facing backwards in a carseat made to do just that up to thirty pounds. They try to make me feel bad because they think his legs are cramped, even though he's never once complained about this. I try to explain to them that we *could* turn him around, but it's safer if we keep it the way it is for as long as possible. Then I get the general attitude from them that I'm being over-protective and that I certainly survived childhood without such restrictions. And I think to myself, sure, and most cars weren't required to have seatbelts until the late '50s/ early '60s, and we have a family story where my grandmother rolled her car with her unrestrained baby (my dad) sleeping in the backseat, but I'm sure my parents aren't going to advocate that we all stop wearing our safety belts just because my dad survived! But I keep it to myself, smile, and try to explain that the carseat situation is what it is for my son.
It's only really important if you want your children to actually survive a car wreck. Otherwise, let 'em roam free..
As a kid my parents had a Ford Galaxy XL fastback with a rear package tray large enough for me to lay on it. I remember heading up to my grandparent's place for Xmas well after dark when I would lay under that massive sheet of tempered glass and look up at a sky littered with stars. I remember it quite fondly but in the event of any turbulence my little butt would have been flung forward in the car, likely injuring or debilitating the driver and other passengers. Let's just say I figure I learned my lesson and now won't start moving until everybody is buckled in tight.
jimmy- I worked over 20 years in neonatal and pediatric intensive car, including 5 years as a flight nurse for an emergency helicopter attached to the hospital I worked out, when needed to transport from smaller hospitals without PICUs and some accident scenes. I also worked with the State Police on a project to educate parents to use car and booster seats. I guess that does not happen anymore- maybe it is assumed people know better. Obviously not.
You are doing the right thing and I have seen first hand, both in emergency rooms and at accident scenes, what happens to a child not properly restrained or sitting in the front seat when they are too young and having the airbag deployed. Maybe the parents of the kids doing the teasing need a little education and a reminder about teasing. A cop friend of mine had a great video of a watermelon being dropped from a second floor window. The watermelon landing on the pavement is about what happens to a child's head in a car accident at about 40 mph, when not restrained properly. There is no going back from an accident like that.
And please report the APD families. They really should know better. Maybe the principle at the school would like to entertain the idea of a little parent education.
"It's only really important if you want your children to actually survive a car wreck. Otherwise, let 'em roam free.."
Jimmy~ Drop your kids off a block or two earlier, maybe?
I feel sorry for your kids getting teased by the other children, but they are more safe like this. You are doing the right thing. I remember when I was a kid I also had to wait until I was 13 before I was allowed to sit at a front seat (and I was very proud then :))
safety is more important than coolness ;)
My very small 10-year old was also teased for still being in a carseat. I found one that looked "cool" enough but still has high safety ratings. It has a high back and reading lights, which apparently made it just acceptable enough among fifth graders. I have fond memories of playing in the back seat of a big ol' '70s car, too, but we were just lucky that we were never in an accident. (Jimmy, if you want the model name of the car seat we're using now, reply and I'll look it up. Sorry, it escapes me now.)
We've been getting this a little from our youngest (6). What I tell her and her brother (11) is that they should understand that not doing this and having an accident could mean a VERY SERIOUS injury and maybe even death. Its not like falling out fo a bed or skinning a knee. The consequences are serious (and I tell them this about crossing the street as well) and I would be a BAD PARENT if I did not insist on it. They usually understand this, especially if I ask them if they really think I would be doing my job if I allowed them to go without.
The issue with the booster, of course, is that it changes where the cross belt touches the body. Without a boost, one risks serious head/neck damage or worse.
My father was in the air force back in the 1950s and was involved in developing the federal seatbelt guidelines that were subsequently required for all cars sold in the US. This was down south at White Sands. He got out in 1958, took a job in Massachussetts, and packed up their little TR3 (a 2-seater) and drove across the country WITH MY INFANT BROTHER LAYING ON THE PLATFORM IN THE BACK! No restraints, not even a seat. Just laying there with pillows packed around him and diapers stuffed into the air gaps where the windows didn't seal.
Times have changed, but we're safer for it. Plus there are a lot more cars on the road these days. Big, heavy cars. Your kids will survive the ridicule, but they may not survive an accident if they aren't in their car seats.
I read this thread yesterday, and then got behind someone in line for the drive-thru teller at the bank in a Mercedes SUV (natch) who was allowing her two children to bounce around in the backseat like ping-pong balls. No restraints in use at all that I could see, given that the two little girls appeared to be wrestling each other and attempting to throw each other into the back cargo area. I am sure the Mercedes mom will be super-happy when the two little girls heads look like crushed ping-pong balls, after the accident where she rear-ends someone because she was too busy talking on her cell phone while driving.
Bah, what's the worst that could happen? My crazy old uncle Joe refused to wear his seatbelt. He kept a pillow next to him in the passenger seat. "If I ever get into a wreck," he'd say, "I just grab it and put it in front of me like this. No problem."
He also didn't have a front door on his car; he cut a screen door in the right shape and duct taped it on.
I don't think I have to say it, but a man with that sort of resourcefulness and ingenuity is no longer with us.
I remember being a kid and standing up on the bench seat of my family's old Chevy Nova. We didn't wear seatbelts but I got clotheslined or elbowed everytime they threw an arm out to catch me. That was also when cars weren't made of plastic.
I used to ride facing backwards in a Pontiac LeMans station wagon with my brother---boys were forced to sit in the back. Lets just say if we had every been rear ended, I don't think we would have come out of it unscathed.