I'm learning that there are two kinds of parents. There are those who stay informed on the latest recalls and recommendations along with those who hear from friends and make positive changes to keep their kids safe. And there are those who put their fingers in their ears and say "la la la la I can't hear you" to any new thing they hear.
I've seen this way too many times with car seats. Specifically keeping kids safe and safer thanks to new discoveries in car seats. Particularly when new car seat recommendations are given out.
We have to be open as parents. I've learned this. We have to listen to each other and not feel if someone has important information before you, then that means they are a better parent or that you shouldn't learn from others. Even if that parent is a newbie.
The good news is more parents are listening. And more are following the newest car seat rules ... but we should ALL be. The stats are eye-opening.
One year ago the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated the car seat recommendations to keep kids rear facing until 2 years old and older children between 8 and 12 years old should remain in boosters until 4 foot 9 inches tall.
AAA (American Automobile Association) reports that over 90 percent of parents with a child under 13 knew of the new guidelines and most were told by their pediatrician. Thirty-five percent changed the way their kids were secured in the car.
Still there were some discouraging details that emerged: One common response to why parents didn't keep their child rear facing until 2 (or heed the advice and change the under 2 child's seat to be rear facing after they had been forward facing) was that the child didn't want to rear face so they felt the recommendation was unnecessary.
This is about kids' safety. There are a lot of things my child doesn't want. My daughter doesn't like holding my hand when we cross the street, but this isn't up to her -- it's not negotiable. She must hold my hand in order to be safe. I feel the same should be the case with car seats. The benefits to keeping your child in a rear facing car seat are too great to ignore -- kids are five times less likely to be injured in a crash when they are properly secured in a rear facing seat. And if you need proof that taller kids can rear face, click at the end of this sentence for proof that older and taller kids can rear face.
The same "excuse" was given for boosters. Jill Ingrassia, managing director of AAA Government Relations and Traffic Safety Advocacy, says: “Seat belts are designed for adults and do not typically fit children until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall. Graduating a child from a booster seat too soon may result in injury, or even death, in the event of a crash.”
If just one parents reads this and makes their child safer in the car, then that is one more child safer in the car -- which is fantastic.
Check out our excellent car seat safety guide for more details. And certified child passenger safety technicians are available to help parents with their car seat installation through local AAA offices by visiting www.seatcheck.org or calling 866-SEATCHECK.
Did you know of the recommendations? Are you following them?
Image via Neeta Lind/Flickr