Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm stepping on to my soapbox now

Yes, I am a semi-crunchy mama. What, you might ask, does "semi-crunchy" mean? Well, I'm not completely crunchy (as in granola) as in all things natural/organic/etc. for my kids.

I am a CD, BF, BW mama. Confused now? I am a Cloth-Diapering, Breast-Feeding, Baby-Wearing Mama. All things considered crunchy. However, I'm not a big organic person (I don't feel it necessary to pay for that label on all my products and I don't think all the additives have harmed me that much), I don't avoid vaccinations, I don't co-sleep, and I don't plan to home-school my children. Hence, why I'm only SEMI-crunchy.

All those things, I CHOSE to do, for my sake and my childrens. And for the most part, I try, I believe I REALLY try not to pressure others to do those things unless they feel comfortable doing them. I will encourage/educate people on the benefits, but if you say no, that's your choice. For me, the cloth-diapering is mostly about saving money and being green, and the breast-feeding is about doing something natural, increasing my childrens' health (and possibly intelligence) and saving money. I think both are smart and easy ways to benefit your child, your savings account, and the earth, but I realize it's not for everyone.

But now, I must step on to my soap-box about a topic that has slowly become near and dear to my heart: car seats.

5 years ago, when T was born, I went to BRU and got a car seat. I paid a basic amount of attention to how big he could be when in it, and what the ratings were (from consumer reports and parents in general), but I didn't pay much more attention than that. As directed by my pediatrician (a person with a medical degree, but not a CAR SEAT technician), I waited until he was both 1 year old and 20 pounds (for T, that was not until 17 months old) and then I turned him forward facing. The seat I had him in at that point, is a standard convertible car seat that would hold him in a 5-point harness until he was 4o pounds or a certain height. At that point in time, that seemed like ages away (and very big) and I wasn't really concerened about what I would do then.

Ditto the story for Blake... except he was 20 pounds by the time he turned 1, so he was moved to forward facing at age 1.

But slowly, through a good-friend of a good-friend I have come to change my stance on car seats and my understanding.

At age almost 5, Trev is still in a 5 point harness, and he is in a car seat that he can be harnessed until he is 65 pounds (which is ages away for him since he is a mere 37 now). Blake is in a seat that he can be 5 point harnessed until he is 65 pounds. Izzy is rear facing, and will be until she is 35 pounds, the rear-facing limit of most car-seats (and based on my kids, that will be about age 3-4).

Why? Because of this. A little boy named Kyle. It scares me to think of this happening. And I am not one who gets freaked-out and worked-up about things... I take life as it comes and I live by the phrase "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". But in this case, I make a BIG exception.

I think this is on my mind at the moment (when I should be sleeping) because SO many of my friends are having babies in the next year. And I'm sure most of them know only the bare minimum (just like I did) and will not have all the information (because you have to go LOOK for it, it's not pushed at you enough, IMO). And many of my friends, have their 2 and 3 year olds in boosters, because they are over 40 pounds. So here's the data for those of you, like my hubby, who need facts, about why 5-point harnesses and rear-facing are safest.

And so I find myself unable to sleep tonight, because I feel I'm not doing all I shoudl be doing to encourage parents to keep their children rear-facing and in 5-point harnesses for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!!! (Angela, I need a magnet or two!) Because, if I ever have to find out that what happened to Kyle, has happened to one of my friends children, I will never forgive myself for not speaking up.

If nothing else, go read the links that I have included here, and educate yourself, before you make a decision. Go talk to a Child Passenger Saftey Technician vs your pediatrician. I love my pedi and value her medical knowledge, but few of them are very educated on car seats and they only tell you the minimum requirements.

And for those of you who want to talk about cost, because yes the boosters are cheap and the 5-point harness seats for kids up to 65 or 80 pounds are not, think about how much that seat costs you for every day of use (4-8 years times 365 days/year) .... it's pennies, and think about how much your child's life is worth.

Okay, i'm stepping down off the soapbox now.... I'm going to bed, and hopefully to sleep.


Linda N. said...

Kyle's story had me in tears. Thanks for sharing this info, Tegan!


Jillian said...

Oh, I love listening to you on your carseat soapbox;) I almost had a heart attack when Scott's co-worker came over with his very exp. Odyssey and expired carseats that were strap twisted and very loose for his 4 yr old twins!

Angela said...

Jillian seriously you need to become a tech. I'll watch Ty and Hayley for you so that you can go to class...LOL!

Tegan I had no idea you had become so passionate. So who set you off...someone at GA or another one of your neighbors...LOL!