Thursday, October 25, 2012

Car Seats are a Nuisance

I hate my car seats. I hate using them. I hate the buckle-fest that goes on every time I have to take my kids anywhere. I hate waiting for them to climb in or wrestling my toddler into his seat. I hate moving car seats. I hate playing around with them to find the best fit. I hate that we own upwards of seven car seats for three kids. I hate that I can't just hop into someone else's car with my kids unless I lug around 50 pounds worth of car seats, too.

There, I said it.

I hate it. It's a PAIN IN THE BUTT.

But you know what would be worse?

My kid being paralyzed because he was forward-facing at too young an age.
My kid being ejected from his seat because he wasn't buckled properly.
My kid suffering internal organ damage because the seat belt didn't sit across his hips and collarbone like it was supposed to.
My kid dying because I was too lazy to use his car seat properly.

The worst words I could ever imagine hearing would be, "If he had been in a five-point harness, he would have survived." The best words I could imagine hearing in the face of a terrifying car accident would be, "If she hadn't had him buckled safely in a good car seat, he probably would have been killed."

I was talking to my mom about how I never really knew heart-stopping, gut-wrenching fear until I had kids. Just the other day, I saw a discussion about kids wrapping their seat belts around their necks out of boredom and then being choked by the belt because the seat belt locked and they couldn't unwrap it. Later that same afternoon, I looked in my rear-view mirror to see my six-year-old playing with his seat belt, and my heart just about leaped up into my throat. How timely that I had just read all about this kind of tragedy!

The thought of my baby's sweet, pudgy neck being broken because I was impatient for him to face forward means I will spend those hours finding just the right car seat with just the right fit. The thought of my three-year-old's body being flung through the windshield because I didn't take the time to tighten his harness properly means I will always double-check that he is buckled correctly. The idea that my robust six-year-old could be killed by the very seat belt that was supposed to save him means I will find a way to fit his booster seat between his brothers' car seats, or let him sit in the third row, even though it's a pain to choose between trunk space and seating in my car.

So, yes, car seats are a nuisance. They are annoying. I'm a bit sick and tired of the whole car seat era (which will be going on for quite some time, yet!). But, really, I think it's a small price to pay to keep my kids safe in the car, don't you?

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