Persephone: Parent

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Driving Master Elvis

on March 4, 2014

We’ve been a carless family since before Elvis was even considered. I attempted to start driving lessons years and years ago, but I got bored. Even now with Elvis, I have never felt like I have missed out on anything because neither hubby or I drive. But my husband wanted to learn to drive.

And he passed this week so has literally gone and bought a car.

And now the debate over car seats has started!

When we were organising everything pre-birth, we knew that we needed a car seat to bring Elvis home from the hospital, but because neither of us drive, we really did not see the point in spending much on a car seat. So we bought a travel system pushchair that came with a 0 range car seat (up to 29lbs). Theoretically this would have taken him to over  a year. Whilst he has already reached the lower limit for a stage 1 seat, I really don’t want to buy one yet.

Stage 1 covers 20lbs to 40lbs and should last until roughly 4 years of age, or you can get a 1, 2, 3 which covers 20lbs to 80lbs, 11 years old. Obviously I want to buy a 1, 2, 3 and kind of don’t mind how much we spend as it will last a long time and be one of the most important things that we will buy. However, I don’t want to buy one yet.

Hubby does.

He says that he wants to be able to see our son without the use of mirrors when they’re out driving. I say that rearward is the safer option for as long as possible. I then said, until he gets to 29lbs, I will always be in the car so that I can be in the back and hubby doesn’t have to be concerned with Elvis at all. Seeing as he’s a brand new driver, this would probably be the better option anyway!

He questioned why rearward was so important, so I googled.

It’s been bugging me recently when overhearing some mums discussing changing their child’s car seat when their child is not even ready. I’ve heard two mums say that their babies’s legs were too squashed and it made them uncomfortable. Now, from what I read, as long as the head is still within the seat, screw the legs. If there were a crash, would you rather the squished legs get broken on impact, or the neck? Both of these babies do not reach the weight limit needed for a stage 1 seat.

At least Elvis has reached the correct weight. But I needed further evidence of why it is so important to remain rearward. I mean, other European countries remain rearward for 4 years, America for 2, yet we do until about 9 months? Although our car seat laws are changing within the next few years.

From this website I found the following information: If you’ve looked at the page, the first image, which shows the body proportion weight/mass wise over a person’s life, is a very similar image in our school textbooks to teach our teenagers about how the body changes, to teach how a baby’s main mass is their head, an adult’s not so much. In a forward facing seat, this massive weight of a head would be flung forward whereas in rearward, it would not. Think about when you as an adult are in a car and it suddenly stops, your head jars forward. Then think about how floppy a baby’s head is when they’re asleep, it falls forward far easier and more than an adults (although I quite like the sleeping head bobbing situation I have on a train!)

That’s not even taking into account the physics of bone density, or the science of pressure of the straps. The website explains it all, but I really just think the head/mass/proportion aspect is enough to stick with rearward for as long as possible. Obviously, if the baby is under the weight, but really tall then their head wouldn’t be protected, and no one wants to consider having a crash, but you always have to think of the what ifs.

I, personally, really do not understand a parent who does not do the research on car seat safety, but does on the chemical make up of formula, or a parent who knows all about car safety, but opts to not do it. The baby might be young, but if the parents don’t follow rules, why should they ever?

~ P

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