I apologize in advance for this post. It is not funny, or witty, and probably not even very eloquent. It is serious. I cannot think of a single person I know who I would think needs to read this, but the statistics show otherwise. So please read and share, to help keep children safe.
I was checking Facebook just now and saw a short blurb from Parents Magazine about car seat usage, you can find it here. I am so surprised to hear that a lot of parents will take their babies, toddlers and small children in the car, without being properly restrained. Car seats have never seemed optional to me, so I just don’t understand why someone wouldn’t use them for their children.
Can they be expensive? They don’t have to be
Can they be a hassle to get your kids in and out of? Sometimes
Can they seem like torture devices for your child who doesn’t want to ride buckled up, causing them to scream their head off and you to pull your hair out? Of course
Can they save your child’s life? Yes.
In fact, the CDC says that an age-appropriate car seat can reduce an infant’s risk of death in a motor vehicle accident by 71% and for toddlers by 54%. That is a HUGE difference! This isn’t just a “click it or ticket” issue. This is Life or Death. In a year’s time, over 600,000 children under the age of twelve will ride in a vehicle without an appropriate restraint. No car seat, booster or even a seat belt. Why are we taking these risks with our children’s lives?!
The interesting thing about this article popping up today, and probably the reason I decided to post this, is because of something that happened yesterday actually. My family and I were leaving our local home improvement store, and I started buckling Baby boy into his seat while Blondie played in the back of the truck and Daddy-o returned our shopping carts. As he returned to the truck a man approached us. This man, who identified himself as a former firefighter, told us “Thank you”, and it wasn’t for returning our shopping carts.
He admitted he doesn’t always do that, approach strangers and randomly thank them, but when he saw us putting our precious little ones into their seats he felt compelled to come and thank us for doing that. He told us that a lot of parents don’t, which again, really surprised me. This man told hubby and I that he had been on many calls, too many calls, in which children were injured in a car accident, because they hadn’t been restrained properly. And then, a story that broke my heart, a call 20 years ago in which a new mother cradled her newborn baby in her arms on the ride home from the hospital. As you can imagine, that story ends in tragedy. The man admitted that he has carried that tragedy around in his heart all this time, never forgetting.
Twenty years and he hasn’t forgotten. How much more clear is the memory for the child’s parents? How much more crisp is the regret? I hope that whoever they are and wherever they are, that they have learned to forgive themselves. But I don’t think anyone else should have to forgive themselves. Don’t make the mistake. There is too much in this world that we cannot control, too much out there to harm our precious and innocent children.
Do what you can. Restrain your child. Share the message. Thank a stranger.