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ILs drove nephew home w/o car seat

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

OK, so the family was out to dinner, and my SIL left early, leaving my MIL in charge of her son (6 y.o).  MIL has car seats.  However, she forgot they were in FILs truck and she had no car seat.  I told her she needed to call SIL and have her come back, but she chose to let him sit in the middle seat with no car seat, and then she did not tell SIL that he had ridden home with no seat.  When she found out, she was not happy, but chose not to confront her mother.

 

So when we got home, I talked with DS about how he could never ride in a car without a car seat, and he told me that G-ma had let him & his cousin ride in the back of her car with just seatbelts at the lake.  I re-iterated that this was not OK, and if anyone ever asked him to ride in a car without a car seat, he needed to get permission from mommy or daddy first.  DH talked with her and explained he did not want Alex in a car w/o a car seat.  But she seems more concerned with convenience that safety.

 

Any suggestions?  He loves visiting Grandma, but this is not the first time we have clashed on car seats.

post #2 of 25
Quote:

Originally Posted by anj_rn View Post

 

So when we got home, I talked with DS about how he could never ride in a car without a car seat, and he told me that G-ma had let him & his cousin ride in the back of her car with just seatbelts at the lake. 

 

Ever? I think this would go better if you explained at what age/weight he will not be in a car seat.

 

As far as grandma goes, I think you need to not put her in this position again. She is from an entirely different generation and putting a 6 year old in a car seat seems ..... silly? pointless? over the top?..... to her.

 

In addition to not following your safety rules, it sounds like she encourages your child to keep secrets from you, which is really dysfunctional behavior. They can spend time together, but she needs to not be in a position to drive him around.


Edited by Linda on the move - 7/12/12 at 12:28pm
post #3 of 25

In my state, she would be breaking the law.  In my house, she would have broken my trust and I would not let her be in a position to transport my child again (easy for me to say, I know).

post #4 of 25

I think it's asking a lot of a 6 year old to monitor his grandmother - I see the theory of it but in practice, it's really hard. So his grandmother says "ok kiddo, let's just go with the seatbelt" and he says "grandma, I'm not supposed to" and she says "oh, your mother never has to know." And now what is he supposed to do? Few 6 year olds would be able to stand up to this.

 

My trust in grandma would be lost. She's done it to your son and she's done it to your nephew even against counsel, and she didn't regret it. So much for trust. I don't see any reason you need to cut her off from seeing her grandson, but she would have lost her driving privileges with me. And that would be something I would have to enforce myself, not my son.

 

And you don't need to be ashamed. You can look her right in the eye and tell her that she's broken your trust. That you don't flip out about every little thing but your son's safety is where you draw the line. If she broke the law in your state, I would point that out as well.

post #5 of 25

I would not allow her to be unsupervised with my kids anymore. Not so much just because of the car seat issue specifically, but because of the trust issue. This isn't just about transporting the children, it's about disrespecting my parental decisions and actively undermining them. 

 

I would also explain to the child that he could get very badly hurt if he rides without a car seat before he's big like an adult, and that if anybody tries to get him into a car without a car seat that he is to insist on calling you first so you can make the decision, not him. I would not, however, really expect him at this age to be able to manage that. I would still do my best not to put him in a situation where people might be tempted to transport him without a proper seat. 

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

I think it's asking a lot of a 6 year old to monitor his grandmother - I see the theory of it but in practice, it's really hard. So his grandmother says "ok kiddo, let's just go with the seatbelt" and he says "grandma, I'm not supposed to" and she says "oh, your mother never has to know." And now what is he supposed to do? Few 6 year olds would be able to stand up to this.

My trust in grandma would be lost. She's done it to your son and she's done it to your nephew even against counsel, and she didn't regret it. So much for trust. I don't see any reason you need to cut her off from seeing her grandson, but she would have lost her driving privileges with me. And that would be something I would have to enforce myself, not my son.

And you don't need to be ashamed. You can look her right in the eye and tell her that she's broken your trust. That you don't flip out about every little thing but your son's safety is where you draw the line. If she broke the law in your state, I would point that out as well.

Totally agree with all this.
post #7 of 25

Personally I wouldn't worry about one short ride with just a seatbelt on a 6 year old, if the belt fits right and there's no airbag there, well they aren't far from the age they can go w/o boosters all the time anyway. I know otherwise sane people who pile kids in with people on laps and no seatbelts on sometimes, THAT I'm not comfortable with at all. With the grandparents generation, 20+ years ago all they knew about car safety past infancy was buckle us up. Longer than that and buckles weren't even priority, or even always available. But really if it's important to you or to your sister it's completely right to point out what a problem it is and even never let her drive them again.

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

Personally I wouldn't worry about one short ride with just a seatbelt on a 6 year old, if the belt fits right and there's no airbag there, well they aren't far from the age they can go w/o boosters all the time anyway. I know otherwise sane people who pile kids in with people on laps and no seatbelts on sometimes, THAT I'm not comfortable with at all. With the grandparents generation, 20+ years ago all they knew about car safety past infancy was buckle us up. Longer than that and buckles weren't even priority, or even always available. But really if it's important to you or to your sister it's completely right to point out what a problem it is and even never let her drive them again.

In my state they have to be in a booster seat until age 8.  He just turned six.  I should also add that I live in a large city and that the drive included a freeway, so to me it was a big deal.

 

I agreed to let my husband handle it (as it is his mom), but I am still concerned.  I know there were some concerns about him policing his grandparents, but I am not concerned about it.  He has a strong sense of right and wrong, and will not ever agree to keep a secret from mommy or daddy.  I would love to revoke driving rights, but that really is not feasible without creating a major rift in the family.  I think I will just try to avoid situations where she will be driving him, or make sure she has a seat with her.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by anj_rn View Post

In my state they have to be in a booster seat until age 8.  He just turned six.  I should also add that I live in a large city and that the drive included a freeway, so to me it was a big deal.

 

And regardless of the law or the calendar, very few children fit without boosters until they are around 4'9" (and sometimes taller).

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

 

And regardless of the law or the calendar, very few children fit without boosters until they are around 4'9" (and sometimes taller).

 

Yes. In my state, it is not required that a 6 year old be in a booster seat, but it is "highly recommended." 

 

But I think the key point for the OPer, is that this is the parents' call. The question really isn't about whether or not the child needs the extra protection of the seat, but how to deal with a grandparent who disregards the parents' standards for safety. 

 

The bottom line is that even if the parents were being over protective (which is obviously not the case) it is still their kid and their decision. And grandparents just have to suck it up and deal with it.

 

The safety guidelines keep changing, and it is difficult for people who have lived their whole lives *and successfully raised their own children* with one set to standards to jump into a different set and buy into them. None the less, the really do have to if they want to be trusted with the care of the child.

post #11 of 25

It is physically impossible for a seatbelt to fit a six year old correctly.  Furthermore, he is NOT just a few years from not needing a booster.   children need boosters until they fit the adult belt correctly, generally between 10 and 12 years old.  Furthermore, 'a few years' is the difference between life and death in a crash.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

Personally I wouldn't worry about one short ride with just a seatbelt on a 6 year old, if the belt fits right and there's no airbag there, well they aren't far from the age they can go w/o boosters all the time anyway. I know otherwise sane people who pile kids in with people on laps and no seatbelts on sometimes, THAT I'm not comfortable with at all. With the grandparents generation, 20+ years ago all they knew about car safety past infancy was buckle us up. Longer than that and buckles weren't even priority, or even always available. But really if it's important to you or to your sister it's completely right to point out what a problem it is and even never let her drive them again.

post #12 of 25

I really wouldn't stress about this.  Just tell your MIL you wouldn't be comfortable with your children riding without a carseat and it's really important to you.  crisis solved!  We all need to do what we feel is right for our children and our family, and this is something that is extremely important to you, so express that to any of your childs car takers.  

post #13 of 25
Grandma would have broken the trust for me


It takes one accident to kill a child, and most accidents occur near the home, so length of trip should not be a dermining factor.

Your MIL has made it clear that she views carseats as unimportant. All the words in the world will not change that. Simply do not allow unsupervised time with your ILs.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Grandma would have broken the trust for me
It takes one accident to kill a child, and most accidents occur near the home, so length of trip should not be a dermining factor.
Your MIL has made it clear that she views carseats as unimportant. All the words in the world will not change that. Simply do not allow unsupervised time with your ILs.

We need to be a little forgiving of the grandparent generation.  I'm 31 and I never rode in a car seat, so there is a real lack of cultural awareness for my parents and my grandparents.  If we start to assume the best ppl will amaze you!  Just have the conversation with MIL

post #15 of 25
For me, my child's life is too important. What if she says "sure, sure", but drives without the carseat anyway. And what if they end up in an accident. And what if your child is permanently disabled or dead. How would you feel then?

Forgiveness is about the past. I'm not suggesting anyone respond in an angry way. I'm sorry if my tone implied that. I'm simply saying that neither in-law should be trusted enough to possibly drive somewhere with the child not in a carseat.

I grew up not using any kind of seatbelt until my teens. Would I understand an older person having a different view? Sure. But that doesn't mean I should gamble on my childs life.

So, to be clear, I'm suggesting nothing be said to them, but just don't leave a child alone with them, so they can't take an unnecessary chance.
post #16 of 25

I anticipate you charge to not put her in this position again. She is from an absolutely altered bearing and putting a 6 year old in a car bench seems

post #17 of 25

My mother in law has not used car seats for my niece and also used  a recalled and broken seat made ins 1992 for the same kid. She is 10  months older than my 4 year old and this was 2-3 years ago.

 

She started to make comments about my seats. Made fun of me for having my yo harnessed and my two younger ones rear facing. Said my seats were "over the top."

 

Grandma didn't see her kids for about 4 months until she finally realized this (and other things) was a deal breaker for me. She is still not allowed to ever drive my kids around, for the foreseeable future. She thought she was being funny and didn't see the need for seats. I don't care if she sees the need for them now. She knows we use them and if she wants to see my kids she will keep her mouth shut. The last thing I need is a sensory  ADHD kid telling me he won't sit in his seat  because Memaw says they are stupid. I have enough stuff to worry about and her judgement about one more thing in my life.

post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Grandma would have broken the trust for me
It takes one accident to kill a child, and most accidents occur near the home, so length of trip should not be a dermining factor.
Your MIL has made it clear that she views carseats as unimportant. All the words in the world will not change that. Simply do not allow unsupervised time with your ILs.

I think that's a little harsh in a general way.  My parents certainly respect my choices when I bring it to their attention.  I'm not adversarial, I just state my position and ask that they respect my wishes.  They've respected my wishes on a wide variety of choices - from vegetarianism to not force-feeding DD religious stuff.  We don't have enough info about OP's parents to come to the conclusion that they are unreasonably or purposefully negligent.  Maybe not thinking things through, but I think that can change.  If not, then respond appropriately.  

 

I agree with previous posters that older generations are less apt to be aware of the importance of certain protections.  Riding with carseats and smoking in front of your kids are prime examples of things that didn't pass the radars of my parents' generation, but education and reminders do a lot.  By the time these laws and protections came into being, the older generations were not paying very much attention, and why should they?  Parenting and safety issues associated with that was not something that they really had to think about.  Not everyone is uncaring and negligent, and will respond when discussed with intelligently.  With all the problems I have with my parents' views, I do highly value their ability to respect what I have to say.

post #19 of 25
Sorry, but my experiences have been different. I had issues with both my own parents and my in-laws. They deliberately went behind my back to violate my wishes (something my parents typically did with me my whole life) just to 'prove' to me how wrong I was. Therefore, on a matter of my child's safety, I would err on the side of simply not allowing them to drive my child/children anywhere at any time. If you have more reasonable and reliable people in your life, I'm glad for you (and jealous, too). I did not.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Sorry, but my experiences have been different. I had issues with both my own parents and my in-laws. They deliberately went behind my back to violate my wishes (something my parents typically did with me my whole life) just to 'prove' to me how wrong I was. Therefore, on a matter of my child's safety, I would err on the side of simply not allowing them to drive my child/children anywhere at any time. If you have more reasonable and reliable people in your life, I'm glad for you (and jealous, too). I did not.

I'm sorry about that, I am.  You know, MDC has been an education for me in a lot of ways because I've always assumed that people behave reasonably.  I hear some stories here that are the opposite and I appreciate your views.  It is hard for me to wrap my mind around people who are so uncaring and unforgiving, and a-holey to boot.  Maybe I've lived in a giant bubble, I don't know.  What kind of people would be vindictive too?  Still trying to understand that and perhaps I never will.  greensad.gif

 

An FYI:  my parents are nut cases on some things.  DH's now deceased parents were too.  They were never mean, though.  

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