February 10, 2013
I have been thinking lately….of car-seats!
Whoa…! Did you just fall out of your chair because of the sheer boredom of our subject? Are you alarmed that the good ole’ blogger Vinma is finally calling it quits and is succumbing to her mid-life crisis?
No, I am not crazy to think of car seats when I should be thinking about my Valentine’s Day plans . Yes, I have nothing better to do, so I decided to think of car-seats.
Okay folks, jokes apart, you and I both know how important are these car-seats in a parents’ and their children’ life, right? It is unthinkable to drive my precious cargo anywhere without the car seats, let alone, even without appropriately fastening the safety belts. After I got pregnant with Kevin, I was in a maniacal state to do all the baby shopping in a limited time frame once the reality of welcoming a little person in our life hit hard in the head. I bought all the beautiful and unnecessary things that he would need- a cute pooh-bear table lamp to be placed in his room, a useless sleep positioner to prevent the baby from rooting around while sleeping (I never used it), a lot many times used bottle warmer, a Mommy Hook to install on the baby stroller that could come handy while I shop with the baby…the stuff I bought are endless.
Then one day, I thought about the really important thing he would require which I haven’t gotten around to buying yet- the travel gear comprising of the stroller and car seat. I started doing some research into this since the concept of purchasing additional safety seats for the babies in the car was very new to me due to my back ground and upbringing.
In India, people would smirk at the idea in a heart beat. I do not blame them because I understand their culture and I was one of their own,once. Babies back home are survivors in my opinion considering the fact that they thrived and survived in the ‘car-seatless’ travelling in all areas of transportation. They, just like adults, moved around from places to places by jumping around in the real ‘car seats’ while seated with their grown ups or hopped up on the adults’ hips- be in the car, or buses or trains.
When it comes to abiding the traffic rules and regulations that needed to be followed while on the road was a ‘No-Rule’ policy in my home country. There is no speed limit posted for appropriate zones, there is no separation between over taking and no over taking zones, schools and residential zones are given no regard what so ever, pedestrians and kids on the side walks or the cows and other domestic animals roaming around on the main road can go to hell if a motor vehicle happen to pass by. And sometimes, even the streets or highways that are stretched down to the designated directions to east and west or north and south go haywire and drivers just take whichever direction that they deem necessary to get to the destination of the moment.
Did you know that even the seat belts for the cars and helmets for the motor cycles were not mandatory for drivers/riders until a couple of years ago? So, would you even imagine the plight of the children there without any adequate safety precautions on the road? I know I am a survivor. But the funny thing is that when I was living in India at the time, it never bothered me at all. The speed of the transport buses, lorries and other huge trucks, the way my Dad drives his car while over taking other vehicles on the road when I was a passenger, the children that I have seen there enjoying the ‘car party’ while jumping and rooting around without anything attaching their little bodies to the seats…it gives me chills now when I remember all this. Hell, I came out in one piece after all those years of ‘car-seatless’ travelling when I was a child living back home. So, this car-seatless life and brain of mine went to shocks and after shocks (pleasantly, I would think) after I started reading and gaining knowledge about car seat regulations in our country and generally, in North America. I felt thankful for all the safety measures that are put in place in keeping our children safe and unharmed in unfortunate situations on the road. Let me high light few important things I learned about this valuable accessory during my research:
- You cannot travel with your baby in the car without first installing him/her into a car seat.
- Up until 20 pounds, the babies will sit rear faced (to minimize the injuries in the event of an accident, god forbid)
- When they turn 20 pounds, you can ceremoniously turn them front faced (YAY)
- Once the children weighs 40 pounds, they graduate to booster seats and they can remain in there until they they turn any where from nine to twelve years old and they are tall enough to come out of the five point harness belt.
- What happens after they are tall enough to get out of the booster? Good Question. Here is the answer: They do not need car seats any more! Congratulations! They can sit like normal people in a normal car seat.
- A child cannot ride in the front passenger seat until at least he/she is thirteen years old- recommended by Transport Canada and Safety Belt Safe USA.
- Now, the most important information I learned in course of time is this: According to Transport Canada and other reputed car seats manufacturers, car seats and booster seats have an expiry date. They are safe to use during six to nine years time frame. The purpose behind the existence of a time line is to impart an awareness that with age, the safety features on the seats might get worn out or a new feature that was installed very recently is unavailable for older models. The expiry date can be found inscribed at the bottom of all car- seats.
I was rather amazed at all the information I gathered from online and other resources on the car-seats. Anyways, the very next day, my husband and I went and bought the Eddie Bauer travel system which was perfect and very durable. When Kevin was born and we were ready to leave the hospital, I remember my husband very efficiently demonstrating to the nurse- in- charge how to properly tuck the baby in the car seat and she gave us a great thumps up! Yes, we were officially discharged from the hospital with this one last step and we went our merry way home with our little bundle of joy!
Kevin, no longer a baby, is done using this car seat now and it is Krista’s turn. Kevin is rather proud of his bigger car seat these days, the one that is front facing and comes with cup holders and all other fancy stuff to keep him entertained in those long trips preventing him from asking us at every stop, ‘Are we there yet?’
What are your ‘car-seat adventures’ with your little ones? Mind sharing?