As the mother of two boys (one is 7, the other is 17), I'm no stranger to the world of car and booster seats and respect the importance of ensuring all passengers are safely belted into any moving vehicle. I'm frightened by the footage I've seen that demonstrates the impact of airbags on the human body, and even more fearful of its powerful force on my offspring.
I've written enough articles on Car Seat and Booster Seat safety to educate a driving school on the topic. In my mind there is no excuse for NOT BUCKLING kids into the car.
I recently followed and reported a taxi driver in Encino who had a young boy (maybe five or six years old) not just IN THE FRONT SEAT, but HANGING OUT OF the passenger window like a dog enjoying the breeze. The driver told me it was none of my business, but his employer took it very seriously when I called in his car number to report his dangerous driving. And in case you're curious, there was no other passenger in the car, so it was either HIS OWN KID, or he was transporting the child as a paying passenger.
I also remember the time a few years ago when I stopped a woman on her way into the Reseda preschool my youngest boy attended. It was clear to me that her small charge was out of the car too quickly to have escaped the treachery of the buckle release with his little hands. Sure enough, when I peeked through the window I could see the rear passenger seat buckle hidden under a blanket and the latches on the required car seat still snapped into their connections. That four-year-old was rattling around in the back seat like a sack of groceries.
With the authority of a pompous automotive journalist and self-righteous mom, I reminded her of her responsibility to ensure her child's safety and scolded her for not properly protecting her child. When she told me she was the Grandma, I reminded her that the parents of that child would be shocked and disappointed if they were to learn how Grandma had carelessly placed their treasure in such danger. She didn't seem concerned at all by my tongue-lashing.
Look people: It doesn't matter whether you're driving down the driveway, down the block, or to Grandma's house in the Inland Empire: never overlook the 30 seconds it takes to secure your children properly. It sets an example to them that you value their safety and love them enough to protect them however you can.
Want more education on how to use your car seat or booster seat correctly? Then check out these articles on seatbelt, car seat, and booster seat safety that have been published at AskPatty.com:
- The Armrest is NOT a Place to Seat your Child
- New Questions on Booster Seat Safety
- Booster Seat and Seat Belt Safety Reminders!
- National Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign
- Is Your Child's Safety Seat Installed Correctly?
'Nuff said. (Climbing down off my soapbox now...)
By Brandy Schaffels
Expert Car Seat Installer
A similar version of this story appears at AskPatty.com