The Right Direction

It’s been a rough few weeks.

However, I announced to Facebook this morning that bad things happen in threes – which meant that I would certainly not be struck by lightning on my way to work this morning.  I found little comfort in that as I dragged my sick self out of bed and into the shower. 

Day 4 has been better than day 3.  And 2.  And 1.  And all of the others from the previous month. A step in the right direction on the path to surviving the rest of cold and flu season.

Pneumonia is kicking my ass and the AAP decides to finally step up their game and throw out new guidelines for car seat regulations.  My first fear is that we will have to buy, yet another, car seat.  We’ve already gone through three of them, almost four, and buying another one would not be in my sanity’s best interest.  I don’t know why I thought this initially, but as I read the article, I found nothing in it that surprised me. 

The basic premise:  your child MUST be rear facing until they are at least 2 or as long as they reach the weight/height limit on the seat.  This is now a law, folks, not just a recommendation. 

Before JJ turned a year old, he out grew his infant seat by height.  While he remained under the weight limit, we knew it was time for the car seat upgrade.  Since he wasn’t a year old yet, we opted for a three-in-one seat that could grow with him.  We purchased a Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite seat, with a 35 pound rear facing limit, 50 pound front facing limit, and 100 pound booster limit.  It was huge, but we accommodated.  JJ seemed more comfortable in it, as well as safer, so we were pretty happy.

Then the dreaded realization came in – we couldn’t move that car seat from car to car as easily as the infant seat.  Only a few weeks passed until we realized that we needed, yet another, car seat.  Fun for us.

Luckily for me, the seat that I had my eye on since JJ was in utero had been reduced in price and was more readily available: Safety 1st Complete Air - rear facing to 40 pounds, front facing to 65, but no booster option.  Booster seats are inexpensive anyway, so it didn’t stop the purchase.  Not terribly worried, either – my 11 year old nephew just tipped the scale at 70 pounds, so if we can keep JJ in this harnessed seat until he’s 10, I’m quite happy with that.    It has the cool air bags that help reduce side impact injury.  And it’s red.  We like red.

This new seat fit much better in my 2008 Chevy Cobalt, so the Alpha Omega went in the truck and the Air went in my car, both rear facing.  We were only pseudo-comfortable in the car with the HUGE car seat in the back, but we had at least a few more months before JJ turned 1.  We made do.  We knew JJ was safer that way, anyway.

When JJ did turn 1, I never turned the seat around because of this video.  Try not to cry:  Check out the rest of the website, too.  There are lots of other stories about kids just like Joel.  The website isn’t that “pretty,” but I think it gets the point across.  I didn’t turn JJ around because of Joel.  Joel’s Grandpa had the courage to step out and let his voice be heard about kids and car accidents and the AAP finally is doing something about it.

We did eventually purchase a bigger car and since then, my life has been bliss with all the space.  I realize that option is not available for many people, and we did just get lucky with my new car.  If we had been stuck with the Cobalt for another few years, JJ still would be rear facing until he reached the weight limit of the seat.  Four properly restrained, forward facing kids die every day because of injuries in a car.  I don’t want my child to be one of them.  He’s too busy breaking coffee tables with his face, anyway. 

Yes, I know I preach.  Yes, I know this is not my first (nor will it be my last) tirade on car seat safety.  But parents, the right direction for your small child is backwards and the real restriction should read as this:  if your child is under the weight and height limit for the car seat, face them backwards no matter how old they are.  Do it until they are literally too big.  After that, put them in a front facing 5-POINT-HARNESS until they are literally too big.  No front seat until age 13. Have your car seat inspected every three months (I just had mine inspected two weeks ago.) And for the love of all things baby safety, wear your seat belt as a good example.  You can read up on some more basic guidelines here:

True, it’s been a rough few weeks for me, but these AAP guidelines made my day a lot better.  It’s taken them thousands of deaths to realize that kids are safer rear facing.  Thank you, AAP, for opening your eyes taking a step in the right direction and making this sick, pathetic lady very happy.    

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