by Starr Bragg a former Yankee, living in a small town in Tennessee
My husband and I are going to have our first child sometime in December, and the only thing that I am dreading is the car seat. I don't own a car seat right now, but I have done enough babysitting and carpooling to know that the car seat will be a thorn in my side … for what looks like is becoming a longer and longer amount of time.
They are now saying (the media, government, and mostly "Boost America") that keeping your child in a car seat until they graduate from toddlership is not enough. It seems that any child under 8 years of age (or is unfortunate enough to be less than 54 inches and less than 80 pounds) is now in grave danger and requires a booster seat while riding in a car. If anyone doubts this information just go and visit the "Boost America" website. Rhode Island is the 9th state to push this into practice. I fear it will be just a matter of time till it reaches Tennessee and the rest of the U.S.
Can you imagine the children (especially the older ones) who are going to protest against their parents? I for one would have thought my parents crazy if they had tried to put me in a booster seat at the age of…well from about 4 years old and up. I can hear myself saying "What? You mean you want ME to sit in a booster chair…the kind that you get at Shoney's restaurant when you are 2 and can't reach the table?!?!"
It is bad enough when your infant can't see you (riding backwards), and you can't see them. I have seen many cars swerving (quite dangerously so) on the road when a mother is trying desperately to find a pacifier, pick up a toy, or in some other way calm a child. Just last week my sister and I witnessed a woman (that we thought was drunk) swerving like a mad person. A policeman thought the same thing we did and pulled her over. When we drove by her we saw that she was struggling with a child in a backwards-in-a-car-infant-seat. I'm sure that she was not having a good day at all. (She would have been a really good add for "Calgon Take Me Away".)
I'm really sorry for the parents who have lost small children in car accidents. I think that we should all use our heads when it comes to keeping our children safe, but there are children who die in car seats too. The media will never tell us about the ones who might have lived if they hadn't been in a car seat… or seat belt. I think it would be nice if we, as the parents, could make decisions about our child's safety…all by ourselves. I'm sure that some parents who have "hyper" children would absolutely want their kids restrained…even to the age of 8…and by all means, please do so. Yes, I would probably use a car seat even if the law didn't exist, but wouldn't it be nice to have a choice in the matter?
Would we even have to worry about auto accidents if people would actually obey the laws already in existence? (Just a few examples for those of you who aren't aware of those laws: no tailgating, no traveling at excessive speeds, pay attention while driving, and don't drive drunk.) No, the laws that we have (as usual) are not enough. We don't obey the ones already in existence and the government and people with an agenda must have even more control over us. I guess I just resent the government and media getting in bed together on yet one more agenda that some group has come up with. (Just a bit of Libertarian coming out in me.) Anyway, after December if you see someone driving that is swerving about (and it happens to be in Sequatchie County, TN)… it will be me trying my best to entertain and take care of my child in its government approved car seat. But durned it! WE'LL all be safer for it won't we?
Starr Bragg [send her mail], a former Yankee, lives happily in a small town in Tennessee.