Being involved in parenting forums has its ups and downs. On one hand, hilarity and support await for the gal who lives in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t see a lot of other non-family adults on a daily basis. On the other hand, I sometimes feel like banging my head against a brick wall when people argue with me about car seat safety. The following message was my frustrated attempt to explain why I just.can’t.let.it.go when people challenge me on car seat issues. The discussion was about expired car seats (yes, they expire), but it has applications to other safety issues, as well.
There are many good reasons for replacing a safety device before it’s absolutely on it’s last unsafe breath.
The thing that gets me is this. Vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for kids overall (there is a window for newborns when congenital problems are a bigger risk). I’m going to be harsh for a moment here, not because I intend to sound cruel, but because there aren’t many other ways to say it. We know that a lot of kids are still dying in vehicle crashes. We also know that a great many parents are using their car seats incorrectly in some way, or many ways, including using them past the expiration date. I did that, too, before I knew better. But now that I know? I will do everything in my power to shield my child from this one thing that I have the ability to provide significant protection against. If people would argue less over what CPSTs and car seat safety organizations are saying, and instead put that energy into following the advice, it’s highly likely that we would see a reduction in the numbers of children who are seriously hurt or killed in vehicle crashes.
People get hypervigilant about their child’s online safety, or whether or not to vaccinate, or whether or not to send them to public school, or whether or not to let them watch TV, or any number of other issues. And it’s not that those things aren’t important. They are. But why do people get so excited over those issues and then argue over a car seat expiration date when statistically, their child is far more likely to be affected by its safety than any of those other things? To me, it’s like ignoring the elephant in the room in favor of screaming at the mice.