Childrearing

Bending Car Safety Rules For Your Kid Makes You A Lazy Parent

By  | 

crying-toddler-car-seatHave you ever skipped putting your child in a booster seat because it was too much trouble, or just held your infant in your arms instead of fastening her in your car seat? Did you turn your baby’s car seat forward instead of rear-facing at his six-month birthday (or never face it toward the back of the car at all)? Congratulations: you have just bought yourself a ticket in the “My Child Will Wind Up On the Side Of the Highway After an Accident” lottery!

The (not-so-)good news is that if you’ve ever recklessly bent car safety rules for your children to save time or hassle, you’re not alone: somewhere around one in five parents admit to having joined you in endangering their kids on the road. That is not a comforting statistic. And if you ask parents what they’ve seen other moms and dads doing, the number jumps even higher:

[T]hree times as many parents — a full 61 percent — said they had seen other carpooling parents “bending the rules,” according to a report released Tuesday by Safe Kids Worldwide. The report, which was funded by the General Motors Foundation, was based on an online survey of 1,000 parents of children ages 4 to 10.

Of course, everyone has what they think is a good reason to forgo the seat belt or to leave the booster seat in the other car. The problem is, none of those good reasons are really good enough to justify putting a child’s health and safety at risk. Sure, maybe your four-month-old cries when she’s in a rear-facing car seat; but chances are there will be a lot more tears involved if she winds up with a double femur fracture after going through a car crash while facing forward. And maybe you felt it was worth the time saved to just hold your child in your arms for that quarter mile drive around the corner to the drugstore; but the car running the red light at the intersection isn’t going to make sure not to hit you based on the length of your trip.

No one walks out the door thinking, “You know what? I bet I’ll get in a car accident today.” And yet, that’s exactly what’s going to happen to someone. Several someones, in fact. Don’t take the easy way out when it comes to your kids’ car safety, because you never know what the worst case scenario is going to be. If you’re skipping car safety standards because you’re in a rush to get out of the house in the mornings, make the time. If you’re not properly restraining your kid because it’s easier or it makes her less whiny, you’ve got to sack up and deal with her car tantrums to keep her safe. And if you just weren’t aware of car safety rules, well: rear-facing seats till age two. Forward-facing car seat until age four and forty pounds, or if your kid gets too tall for the tallest shoulder-strap setting. Booster seats till eight years old or 4’9″ tall. So now you know, and know this too: bending the rules is for cookies before dinner or opening a present on Christmas Eve. When it comes to car safety, some rules weren’t made to be broken.

(Image: bokan/Shutterstock)