We have been dealing with car seats for 10 years at our house and we are all sick and tired of them. Safety latching three car seats in and out of cars for years has taken its toll. Five-point harnessing three infants into their rear-facing seat was a bitch. The act of contorting your adult body into positions that only the most experienced yogi should attempt in order to get that harness hooked and tightened to safety perfection has taken years of my life.
It has quite possibly contributed to my husband’s slipped discs in his neck (along with the time he reached under the crib to retrieve a binkie). The car seat installation process led to a full-on manly meltdown in Maui a few years ago at which time I vowed to never travel to any destination which would require car seat maneuvering. And we haven’t.
The car seats have been spilled on, peed in, barfed on, crayons have been melted inside for a permanent colorful waxy residue, and there may be things growing inside the “snack compartments” that should not be. I gave up cleaning car seats years ago and I’m hoping that my children have built up a healthy immunity because of it.
Oh I know how wonderful car seats are. It is said that they have saved countless lives. The safety of a car seat is priceless, according to general consensus.
SuperFreakonomics authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner claim that children over the age of 2-years-old are no more safe in child car seats than they are in regular lap and shoulder belts. The authors even conducted their own crash test and found that with 3 to 6 year olds, seat belts work as well as car seats. But a statement from the Center for Child Research and Injury claims that parents need to know that children are far less likely to be killed or injured in a car crash when harnessed in a car seat.
The car seat was introduced to our culture in the 1960s but only the paranoid parents actually used it. Most parents just put their kids in the backseat. Kids were lucky if they even got seat belted in. I will not name names, but I do know of some parents of the 1960s generation who would put their kids comfortably bundled in blankets onto the floorboard of the car to sleep while driving.
Today Americans spend $300 million on car seats. Children have an average of three car seats during their childhood. Many parents have to purchase new cars like minivans just to fit their bulky car seats inside. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTRA) says that more than 80% of car seats are installed incorrectly. One time when my oldest daughter was about 18 months old I was driving around town in my sleep-deprived stupor when I heard a strange grown in the backseat. I turned around to find her perfectly latched into her carseat, but the carseat was on its side and so was Ava. Apparently I had forgotten to latch the carseat into the car.
I can tell you we have dumped thousands of dollars into carseats. The triplets are almost 7-years-old now and we are just getting rid of them to move on to the high back booster. Three high back boosters were ordered from Amazon and the kids awaited their arrival like it was Christmas. The booster looks a lot like the car seat but here is the main discriminating difference that is important from a parent’s perspective: you do not have to latch these bitches onto the car in three different places.
We conducted our own car seat crash test. This particular crash test has never been done before. The first ever throw the car seat from the balcony event. Don’t try this at home.
The car seat was unscathed.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.