Wednesday, March 24, 2010

About Car Seats

Read this elsewhere, and found it interesting. MckMama has posted a handful of times before about car seat safety (**warning: actual link, don't click unless you absolutely must!**) and how important it is to her. Relevantly, she has said the following about rear-facing:

Ok - so junior is getting big in his car seat. Well, how do you know if the infant seat has been outgrown? Junior has either reached the maximum weight limit for the seat, OR there is less than 1 inch of hard car seat shell above his head. Leg length/legs touching the vehicle seat back are not a concern, nor an indicator of the seat having been outgrown. Some people chose to move their infant over to the next stage of seat (the convertible seat) once the combination of Junior and the infant seat gets too heavy to lift. You can of course continue to use the infant seat until it is outgrown by weight or height and leave the seat in the vehicle and just put Junior in and out of the seat in the car.

So onto the convertible seat, so named because it can convert from a rear-facing to a forward-facing seat. First, an important note about rear-facing and this can get a little technical, but I'll try to keep it light. The statistics are that rear-facing is 5 times safer for your child than forward-facing. Because a picture (or in this case, a video) can tell a thousand words, here is footage of a rear-facing crash test - - notice how the child's head and neck stay in alignment and the car seat absorbs the forces of the crash? Let's look at that again from a different angle - Now compare that to a forward-facing crash test - In that video, you can also see a rear-facing seat in the background. Notice how the head and neck are violently thrust forward in the forward-facing seat? That will stretch the spinal chord of your child and it could cause enough stretch to cause paralysis, or worse, death. Not to be alarmist, but the spinal chord can sever from the brain stem - this is termed 'internal decapitation'. K, so it is safer to rear-face for as long as possible. Thankfully, your convertible seat will rear-face to between 30 and 35lbs, and Graco has released a new seat called the My Ride 65 which rear-faces to 40lbs - Again, the harness should be in the slots at or below the child's shoulders when rear-facing. The child should rear-face until they reach either reach the max. rear-facing weight limit of your seat, or there is that 1 inch of hard shell above their head. DO NOT LISTEN to anyone who tells you to forward-face your child prior to these limits being reached. Again, legs touching the back of the seat is not a concern nor an indicator of needing to turn a child forward-facing. Here is a 3 year old, 28lbs, sitting very comfortably rear-facing -

So technically she has one child- Stellan - who, by her standards, absolutely should be rear-facing, and more realistically two children who should be rear-facing, unless Small Fry is a Mega Two-Year-Old. With that in mind, can any parents with rear-facing children tell me how many times their child has been able to throw things and hit their parent who is driving?

From Twitter:
The younger half are in bed after an evening outing (during which Stellan threw raisins at me as I drove) and some outside play time.
about 19 hours ago via web

For the sake of saving the naysayers' time, let me add for you, "yadda, yadda, small potatoes, who cares, blah, you guys suck." It's another example of not walking the walk.

If that doesn't concern you, how about this quote (again, another live link):
"I sometimes leave some or all of my kids in my car when I run in to do a quick errand somewhere. Gasp, snort, faint. I know. It's terrible, really. I never would ever have even dreamt of doing such a thing when I only had Big Mac. Or even when I had both boys. I would glare the most condemning eyes at a parent if I ever "caught" one committing such an atrocity (which I only did see once, actually). But when Small Fry came along and my children outnumbered my arms, I began to perfect the art of running an errand with kids in the car. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I could go on and on about how I do this safely and appropriately, but I seriously doubt that any of my Highly Upstanding Blog Readers would ever do such a thing at all, safely or not, so I won't waste my breath."