Baby On Board!



Did you know that vehicle accidents are the number one killer of children ages 1-12? Honestly, I didn't even know until I was looking into car seat safety awhile back. It is hard to think about because being in a car is something that has become second nature. I could not imagine a world without automobiles, but it is undeniable that there are dangers that come along with the luxury.

As a parent, it seems that there are a million decisions to make, and everything is continuing to change generation to generation. My mother became a grandmother only eighteen years after giving birth to me, and by then, everything had already changed. Granted, there are always things that seem to come natural to a mother, but there are also things that as a mother, we would never think about. We don't naturally know which infant sleeping position reduces the risk of SIDS or how many wet diapers a newborn should have per day. These are things that we are taught. These are things that are researched by scientists and doctors and experts who know what they are doing.

It can be hard as a mother to realize that you do not always just know what is best for your child. I know that is was hard for me. I was the mother who read every single book and pamphlet that I could get my hands on. But even then, I didn't know everything. One thing that I never really gave too much thought about was car seat safety. It didn't seem like a big deal to me if the chest clip wasn't at armpit level or that my two year old was forward-facing. But in all reality, I was putting my child in danger.

As a mother, that is really hard to admit. It is hard to admit that you were wrong when it comes to raising your children, especially their safety. I think that is why people have such a strong reaction either way when it comes to car seat safety. Here is something mothers (and people) should consider their mantra: When you know better, you do better.

Mistakes happen. Nobody is perfect. And it is impossible for a mother to know everything. So when it was brought to my attention again and again, I began to do research on car seat safety. I wanted to educate myself, so I could make my own informed decision

3 out of 4 car seats are not used correctly

If you are unsure how to install your child's car seat or how to properly buckle your child in, there are individuals who will help you for free. Contact your local police station and see if their traffic officers do car seat installation. They have had training and will assist you. You can also go here to locate a Child Car Seat Inspection Station near you.

It is really hard for me to post these pictures to my blog, because I just know people are going to judge me. My son is obviously not buckled correctly in any of these pictures, and I'm so thankful that we weren't in an accident. But I think it is important to state I just didn't know better at the time. It isn't as if I just didn't care about my son's safety or anything close to that. I just did not comprehend the danger that I was putting my child in.

I let my little guy get into the habit of pulling the buckle down, and this is what happened every time we got into the car. When I think of what would probably have happened if we had been in a car wreck while his buckle was down like that, it horrifies me. How could I have been doing that? How could I have been taking that risk?

But once I knew what I was doing was wrong, I changed my ways.

Rear-facing is 5x safer than forward-facing

I saved up my money and purchased the Evenflo Symphony 65 e3 convertible car seat. Now, my four year old son is rear-facing. Oliver is extremely small for his age, though, at only 37lbs and 38" tall. This particular seat allows for rear-facing from 5-40lbs, forward-facing with a 5-point harness from 20-65lbs, and a belt-positioning booster from 40-100lbs. In reality, you could buy this seat for a newborn to use until they reach 100lbs.

I have seen people really, really question the new recommendations for extended rear-facing. Here is the thing: these recommendations come from researchers and experts whose entire job is to figure this kind of stuff out. As parents, this really is not in our job description. You aren't going to perform experiments with crash-test dummies, and even if you did, do you think you would be able to understand the results? We are lucky to have this kind of information just given to us.

Where do his legs go? As you can see in the pictures, Oliver either crosses his legs or puts them against the backseat. He is comfortable and never complains.

Won't his legs get broken in a crash? Who is to say his legs would not get broken if he was forward-facing in a crash? He could have his legs against the drivers seat or something like that. I am not an expert, but according to Carseat.Org, leg and foot injuries are more common with children who are forward-facing. Also, the main concern with a child is their neck and spine not their legs.

Bulky coats or snowsuits should not be warn

This is honestly something that I never would have come up with myself. But once I did the research and realized how dangerous a simple coat was, I did things differently. I always take my son's coat off before he is buckled in his seat. Once he has been buckled in, I have him put his arms through the coat backwards. It is easy and he stays just as warm as he would with a coat on. But now he is safer. If you have a younger one, there is always blankets!

Why is it unsafe? In the event of an accident, your car seat will compress the coat. Therefore, even if you think your child is buckled in tightly, the coat is acting as a barrier between the child and the car seat, which disappears the moment a crash occurs. Here is a video that explains it a little bit more:

At the end of the day, it is each individual parent's decision to make. So I implore everybody to keep an open mind and educate themselves before they decide about car seat safety. Do not be too stubborn and proud to admit that you were wrong and to change your ways. I know it is difficult to admit that your mistake could have greatly injured your child. Trust me, even writing this blog made me feel so ashamed that I used to drive around with my child improperly buckled like it was no big deal. But the biggest part of growing up and being an adult, is being able to learn from your mistakes.

Win a free car seat?

21st Century Insurance is currently holding a Baby on Board contest. They are trying to increase awareness on car seat safety, while giving away a car seat to one lucky person every week. The grand prize winner will also take home $10,000 cash for a baby's room makeover. 

Entering is simple, you can either go to their website or Facebook page for more information. They are asking individuals to use their creativity to make their own "Baby on Board" signs and submit them via email. What a fun, easy way to get a new car seat that will keep your little one safe and sound!

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