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Installing someone else's child's car seat in your car... WWYD?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
My friend has an almost 3 year old who I have recently offered to watch one day a week. She has a britax marathon that she said I can install in my car and leave it there while I'm here (I'm on vacation at home, so I'm only here till the end of August, so I'm only helping her out while I'm here).

The issue is that I KNOW he is forward facing, but in my car I am just not comfortable with it. I know he's not over 35 pounds, either (per the "my child weighs such-and-such conversations".. lol ).

If we were ever in an accident I would obviously feel TERRIBLE to begin with, but even more sore if he sustained injuries that otherwise would not have happened with him rear facing (like the skull coming off the spine in that one video, comes to mind).

So do I insist that he ride rear facing in my car? Or do I let her make the call?What if she says he doesn't like to ride rear facing? Should I insist on trying it first? My hope is that if that's the case, he'll do it because my DD is rear facing, so he might go along with it knowing that she's right beside him looking in the same direction.

If another child was going to ride in your car, would you insist they sit rear facing while in your care?
post #2 of 46
If he meets the minimum weight requirement (20 pounds), then all you can do is talk to the parent and reiterate the importance of keeping him rear facing to the weight limits of the seat, and hope she makes the call to do so. If not, then I would have her sign something stating that she prefers he ride forward facing in your vehicle while in your care and vehicle.

DC
post #3 of 46
I think that in cases like this, you should go with whoever is being more strict about safety. If the mom wanted the child RF, and the DCP thought he was old enough for FF, he should go RF. If the mom is comfy with FF, and the DCP wants him RF, then he should go RF in the DCP's car.

I guess, ultimately, you can't go against her wishes, but you CAN say that you're not willing to drive him unless he's RF.

How about telling her what you posted here: "I don't feel comfortable letting him ride FF when IMO he should still be RF. I'm willing to install the carseat properly and deal with any tantrums he may throw over not riding FF. Is that OK with you?"
post #4 of 46
I'd do the installation, rear facing, and then, if she says anything, just say "oh, is he 33 pounds already?". If she says no, but he rides FF, tell her you're just not comfortable with him riding FF until there is no other option, because it's so much safer.

If I were driving someone else's child there's no way I could bear having them in anything but the most safe seat. What if something happened?

Quote:
I think that in cases like this, you should go with whoever is being more strict about safety.
I like this logic
post #5 of 46
I can't tell from you're post if this suggestion is even practical, but maybe it would be best to plan activities that don't involve driving. It would spare you from worrying about conflict with your friend, and would avert a huge range of potential safety issues and injuries.
post #6 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
I can't tell from you're post if this suggestion is even practical, but maybe it would be best to plan activities that don't involve driving. It would spare you from worrying about conflict with your friend, and would avert a huge range of potential safety issues and injuries.
That's what I originally suggested. I didn't want to have to install and uninstall a seat every week for just one day, but it turns out she has a spare anyway so I can leave it installed. I was hoping not to have to worry about it, and there's a ton of stuff to do around here within walking distance.

I think I'm going to just do like Ruthla suggested and tell her up front that I'd prefer him to be rear facing. He's at an age where it might be fun and different, especially if it's something he only gets to do while at my house. Right?
post #7 of 46
I think it's the mom's call. She's not asking you to break the law. The child is well within the guidelines to FF. If you don't feel comfortable complying with the mother's very reasonable request, then you probably shouldn't watch the child.
post #8 of 46
I have a question- how do you FIT a child who's that big (almost three- much taller than an infant) in a rear-facing position? I've never heard of that. As soon as my son was 20 pounds and a year (or whatever it is- it's been 11 years since I had to remember), I flipped him to forward facing. He wasn't a tall baby- he was average, but his legs and feet would get all crunched up and he was miserable.

That being asked, if he's within the law's requirements, I don't think there's anything you can do about it but to tell his Mother that you're not comfortable with him forward facing. Maybe you can make it a game with the little boy and your daugher- count birds our the rearwiew window or something like that?
post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I think it's the mom's call. She's not asking you to break the law. The child is well within the guidelines to FF. If you don't feel comfortable complying with the mother's very reasonable request, then you probably shouldn't watch the child.
:
post #10 of 46
I think it's the mom's call, too, unless you haven't talked to her about carseat safety and your opinions. If you haven't, now is a great time . If you have already discussed it and she still chose to put her child forward facing, she's made her choice. Although, since she's not going to be in the car with you, I don't see any harm in just not mentioning it and turning the seat around when she leaves.
post #11 of 46
HOw much DOES he weigh? That affects my answer. If he's at least 30 lbs, I would simply express my views that I would prefer him rearfacing and see what mom says, but her opinion would be the be-all and end all on the matter.

If he's significantly less than that...say 25 lbs....I would argue my case much more strongly. In this case I would say that you as the driver have some pretty strong leeway...not to mention liability.


To the person who asked, 20 pounds and one year is the BARE MINIMUM for safety and certainly not Best Practice. At that age and size, the baby is still at EXTREMELY increased risk for serious if not fatal spinal injuries in a forward facing collision. My son, 2.5 recently turned forward facing at 33 lbs and 38 inches. He was more comfortable rearfacing than forward facing (his legs didn't dangle). For the most part, parents who say that their children were 'uncomfortable' are simply interpretting their own prejudices on a perfectly happy kid.
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
I have a question- how do you FIT a child who's that big (almost three- much taller than an infant) in a rear-facing position? I've never heard of that.
It's really quite easy. They're very flexible. Dd either crosses her legs or leaves them folded like a frog or hangs them over the sides.

She's rf. Almost 3. About 36in and about 30lbs

-Angela
post #13 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I think it's the mom's call. She's not asking you to break the law. The child is well within the guidelines to FF. If you don't feel comfortable complying with the mother's very reasonable request, then you probably shouldn't watch the child.
There has been no "request" made. I'm simply wondering how to approach the subject when she shows up with a seat and wants to install it forward facing in my car.

I would also rather find an amicable solution to the problem, such as trying him rear facing or agreeing to do local activities without a car, instead of going back on my offer to help a friend.

If SHE decides to not let me watch him after I suggest that we try him rear facing like my daughter, then that's her prerogative. But I'm not going to initiate it, I just won't put him in the car.
post #14 of 46
If you can't respect the moms descision to turn him around (which is an ok thing to do at three years old. it is not like she is asking you to turn her 3 month old forward facing) it is probably best he not be in your car.
post #15 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
How much DOES he weigh?
30 pounds.
post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
30 pounds.
At 30 lbs and three years, I would be comfortable turning him forward facing for the occasional trip in your car.
post #17 of 46
Remember that it is the factor of AGE (physical maturity) that is the most important determining factor when considering general readiness to forward face. The seat manufacturers have begun manufacturing seats to higher rear facing weight limits with the knowledge that the heavier, the statistically older the child will be. Think of the days not too long ago, when all seats only RF to 20 pounds. With the advent of time, statistically children were hitting the 20 pound mark BEFORE their 1 year birthday, so seat manufacturers ramped up the RF weight limit to accomodate the weight of children today.
I gave the input I did because # 1, she stated the child is 3 years old which far surpasses the minimum RF age recommendation. If he met the other minimum recommendation which is 20 pounds, then it is perfectly acceptable for him to remain FF as he is presently riding. Since the OP is uncomfortable, she should discuss the benefits of RF with the parent and and if the mom still wishes for her son to be FF, short of refusing to care for him, the only other thing that would "protect" the OP from a legal standpoint if something were to happen, would be a paper trail, hence my recommendation to have the mom state her wishes in writing. IRL I talk with many parents and caregivers who arrive at my checkpoint and after some discussion, leave with their child still in the RF position when a few minutes earlier they were telling me their child was 1 year and 20 pounds and is ready to FF now. Most times it is only access to education that empower the parent or caregiver to change their mind and make a different choice.
FWIW from a liability standpoint, all CPS techs and instructors are to plainly state that a parent refused a recommendation at the fitting stations on the checklist, and the parent must sign it.

DC
post #18 of 46
ds is 20 pounds and 10 months? he is 30 inches and he is already cramped I am going to turn he around when he is a year and 33 inches. I have been a nanny for fifteen years and never in my life have I heard of keep a toddler rear facing. In Ma if the child is one and 20 pounds everyone turns them around. The kids love the social interaction. Looking at a blank seat is really tough for a toddler. I can see if the child is not yet one and is 30 pounds but three years old. It sounds quite severe. If you do not feel comfortable with the norm than don't watch her child. Your anxiety from the issue while driving is much more dangerous than a three pound dif. in opinion. It is not worth a debate with your friend.
post #19 of 46
Here's what I'm missing:

To me, daycare does not imply driving around. As a mother who uses daycare, I would strongly prefer that my dcp not transport my children in her car. I had a dcp who drove the kids around a lot, and it made me crazy (I like to actually know where my children are, and not have to go hunting if I try to pick them up earlier than expected. Among other things.) As I read your post, you've committed to helping your friend one day a week. Where in the course of all this have you stated your commitment to driving your friend's child anywhere?

If it were me, the friend would be welcome to install her seat in my car any which way she chooses, as she seems to feel that you should have a car seat available for her child. If she installed it in a way I wasn't comfortable with, I just wouldn't drive. If the occasion arises where driving is absolutely necessary, you can always turn the seat rf (to satisfy your safety concerns - I wouldn't suggest it for any other reason) and make an excuse later if she asks.
post #20 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanx everyone. I'm going to bring it up when she gets here, but I'll leave it up to her.
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