Here I am again, in the late night hours, when my head should be on the pillow. Tonight the fault is my own, and a new blog I've been reading. Over an hour ago, I started reading this post, and all the comments following it....and here I am, unable to sleep.
[There are so many levels to this conversation and points that have been made that are swirling around in my brain. I will have to come back to this point another night and go down the other paths.]
Car seat safety is important to me. VERY important. Quite often I contemplate saying something to a parent who I see using (what seems to me) an improper car seat, or not using one at all, or using one incorrectly. Just today during swim class, I contemplated (for the 5th week) telling a mom that her son was too tall for his infant seat, and that the belt was no where near tight enough to restrain him in the event of a crash.
But now I've read the previously mentioned post, I wonder if I did the right thing by not saying anything. First of all, I'm not known for my tact (in fact, I might be known for my lack thereof at times). What don't I know about this parent? Maybe they tighten up the buckle when they put the seat in the car. Maybe they use the infant seat because they can't afford the next size seat or they are waiting for one to be donated to them. Maybe she keeps meaning to go buy the next one but it's hard to get out to the store with two young kids. Maybe it's just easier to use the seat to carry him in to swim lessons (and this was the last week) and now that it's over she'll move him up to the next one. Maybe if I say something to her, she'll feel like yet another mother is judging her and she'll react with anger (or worse!). BUT maybe she has no idea that he's not as safe as he could be and would welcome the information.
It's that last maybe that tempts me to say something, but the one just before that scares me into silence.
I guess if you are making an INFORMED decision it's different. For example, I didn't realize when I moved Trevor to a forward-facing seat at 15 months (and 20 pounds) that I had any other choice. My pediatrician said I could turn him around. So I did. Now I know that it's safer for Izzy to stay rear-facing until she's at least 2, and 35 pounds (based on my car seat). Likewise, I've learned that T & B are both MUCH safer in a 5-point harness, so that's where they will stay (no matter how UNCOOL Trevor thinks it is compared to some of his school buddies!).
BUT...I had to find this information out on my own. By doing the research and reading and talking to experts (who also happens to be a friend!). It wasn't information that was given to me at the hospital, or the pediatrician's office, or anywhere else. It's very hard information to find if you don't know where to look. And how are you even supposed to know to look??!??! I mean if your pediatrician (a person with a higher education) tells you its safe to turn the car seat around, why wouldn't you believe them?
The lack of information really concerns me in this area.... People are told rear-face your child until they are 1 year old; they see booster seats for children who weigh 30 pounds' so they think those are the best/only choice. But it's not.
I can understand that it's not my right to make the decision for you, or my right to judge you for the decisions you have made (I'll try not to at least, but I'm still working on that one!). But I want to help you make the best decision for your child and make sure you have all the information before you make that decision. Is that wrong of me? Is it wrong that I want to help keep a child safe because they can't make those decisions on their own??