In April 2012, I wrote a column noting my decisions to have my babies as close and visible to me in a vehicle as safely and legally possible — like putting my toddler in a forward-facing car seat the minute he was ready to be there.
If you read that column you’d find that my ramblings were less about car-seat safety and more about parental decision-making and standing on my liberty to make autonomous, sound decisions for my family.
In general, I am frustrated when broad-sweeping laws trouble mindful parents rather than actually address whatever population or issue they’re designed to address.
Boy, did I hear it from some people after that column ran. I mean pretty harsh accusations — like I didn’t care about my children and wanted them to die in car crashes. Those kinds of wild allegations were unfair, I know, though they opened my eyes to how mean we parents can be when we’re not in agreement with each other’s decisions.
Ever heard of “The Mommy Wars?” I hate them.
But I’ve recently been thinking about that column, car-seat safety and about parenting, childhood injuries and deaths. That column, though accurate in most sentiments, was short-sighted and averted the important issue — car-seat safety — that many parents DO need to think about more soberly, me included.
I recently completed a clinical rotation on a pediatric unit at a local hospital, and while I saw no children with injuries from car-seat hazards or car crashes, I heard a lot of stories. I get it, now, why some readers were so incensed at my casual attitude toward car-seat recommendations.
I am sorry.
But guess what? Car-seat recommendations are evolving — an always relevant issue — so I can reiterate them here and remind us all to pay attention. I still have a little one not yet 3 years old and a couple others in boosters. Admission: I look forward to the day when we don’t have to mess with car seats at all, when simple seat belts will do.