I’ll admit it; I’m a car seat freak. I truly believe in keeping my kid properly buckled as long as I can, and I wish everyone else would too. Daniel was rear-facing until he was 4 1/2. Noah’s 8 1/2 and still rides in a booster, because he can’t pass the 5 Step Test yet.
I can’t tell you how angry it makes me when I see improperly restrained kids – babies turned forward facing too early, toddlers in boosters, and preschoolers in no seat at all. It makes my blood boil. I just don’t understand it. Don’t these parents want their children to be safe? I’m sure some of them don’t know any better. But I know there are plenty who know what the best practices are – I can only assume they just don’t care.
If you know your toddler is 5 times safer rear facing than forward facing, and they still fit within the rear facing limits of the seat, why would you turn them around? If you’ve been told that a 3 year old cannot ride safely in a booster, and doesn’t have the bone strength necessary to be properly protected by a lap and shoulder belt, why have them ride in one?
I just don’t understand. This is your child. I hear parents over and over say that they’d do anything to keep their children safe, and yet they don’t. There are so many things we can’t control, so many ways we can’t keep them from being hurt – why wouldn’t you do what little you can to keep them safe? It’s not hard – keep them rear facing until they reach the limits of the seat. Keep them in a harness until they can no longer fit in one and can ride safely in a booster. And keep them in a booster until they’re properly protected by a seat belt.
It’s not like it’s a disputed fact – car seats save lives. Look around on the internet, and you’ll find tales of children who were in horrific crashes – children who were properly restrained, using best practices, who walked away from the crash without so much as a scratch. And you’ll find tales of children who weren’t restrained with best practices, who were horrifically injured and even killed in similar crashes.
Could you put a price on your child’s life? $100? $1000? The sad thing is that for less than $100, you can get a high quality car seat that will protect your child. There are $40 car seats that will allow a child to rear-face to 40 lbs. There are $80 car seats that will keep them in a harness until they’re 50 lbs*. And there are boosters that will fit them until they can safely ride without for $13.
Please, protect your child. Keep them safely buckled as long as you can.
* or until outgrown by height.