the issue of infant carseats in our country - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(without it getting heated, please, I really have questions and I'd like to talk about them)

This is the thing.. I was talking to a friend the other day, she is from South America (as most of you know, me too) and she has a 2 month old baby. We were at a christening together for a friend's baby (we have that friend in common) and she was asking me all these questions about breastfeeding, cloth diapering, cosleeping, etc.. and I felt that she found comfort in a lot of the things that I told her. She even told my husband and her husband (we shared a table) that I was such a "perfect mom" (yes, I said please, I feel like the worst mom in the world most days lost in my unshowered mind, sleepless body and tons of laundry) SOOOO.. I don't know how she started talking about carseats and how she doesn't ler her baby cry in the carseat while she is in the car but she also doesn't stop the car when baby is hungry. She will sit in the back of her SUV and nurse her baby, while her dh drives. I said...

"ME TOO". (yes, this is the part where your blood pressure will rise, right?)
well, I don't do this now, because my son no longer needs to nurse every hour. But dh and I did this many, many times when ds was under a year. countless times. never in the front seat, always in the back. but we did it. I admit it. so... we started talking about how the only people that WE know that do this, are not from here (from the US) and that it's like a dirty little secret because if you DARE tell anyone here they will automatically think that you're a bad, irresponsible mother.

My question is.. where does this come from? Was there some kind of a campaign in the US to encourage the use of carseats, that it made it so deep in the minds of people that "carseat=good parent, no carseat=bad parent"? I mean, I agree that carseats are SUPER important, but if I had to put that in a scale and compare it to breastfeeding (since THAT is such a choice here) I'd say carseats are less important than breastfeeding, because carseats only save you IF you have an accident. Not breastfeeding is damage one can't repair. And I wonder why not breastfeeding is not at all a reason to judge a mother and think of her as an irresponsible person.

so... this is what my girlfriend and I discussed. I am curious now as to what all of you have to say. My biggest question here is WHAT made people feel so strongly about carseats?

Just for the record, in Chile carseats are not mandatory or required by law (not many people own cars, btw) and I never had one when I was a baby OR when my own daughter was a baby (we lived in Chile until she was 15 months) and it's not an education thing because we were a highly educated family and still didn't think much of not having a carseat. (I do now, though, and both my children have carseats and are always buckled in.. but I don't regret nursing my son in the back seat when he was smaller and couldn't wait)

ok. I guess I'm done. Going to hit the "post" button now. Please remember I'm genuinly curious and don't want to start a big ugly fight. peace and love to everyone!!!
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#2 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 04:30 PM
 
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Don't have much time to post now, I've nursed my babes in the backseat of the car too, but I leave them in their seats. What can I say?, I must have elasti-boobs or something. :LOL

I am too paranoid to take my baby out of the seat while we are driving.

Lisa ~ Homeschooling mama to 9yo ds and 7yo dd both born at home and expecting #3 in November!
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#3 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 04:43 PM
 
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I've done it & worse... You know - I still think I'm a pretty great mom. Yeah - I shot a nasty look at the guy driving his pickup with his 1.5-2? year old in his lap. But - if my son needed to nurse, I nursed him. If he puked in his carseat and it was all over his face and neck/down his shirt, I climbed back there and cleaned him off.

Seriously - you never know what could happen. A plane could have crashed down on us, a bridge could collapse - Whatever....

I did what I needed to do at that time.

: What a relief to say that....

I've never told anyone (well DH was driving, so he knows....)

Laura
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#4 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 04:45 PM
 
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My cousin from El Salvador also takes her daughter out to nurse her while someone is driving. I do not think badly of her nor think of her as irresponsible. I do think it's risky.

I have not and would not take my child out while someone drives. My reason is this. If there was an accident and my child was seriously injured, maimed, or killed I could never *ever* forgive myself. I know I could not live with the guilt I would have. Maybe others could forgive themselves but I know I could not. Ever. The guilt would consume me. So, knowing that about myself I keep my babes buckled in. If they need to nurse I unbuckle *my* seat belt to nurse. Many times have I been bent and contorted into interesting positions to nurse my baby. I can imagine I must have provided entertainment and wonder at passerbys. :LOL More than one person has seen my rear end sticking up in a window or my breast hanging out.

For me the risk does not outweigh the benefit.
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#5 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 04:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kleine Hexe
If they need to nurse I unbuckle *my* seat belt to nurse. Many times have I been bent and contorted into interesting positions to nurse my baby.
Yup. That's what I've done.
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#6 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 04:51 PM
 
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My step-mother is from Columbia. A favorite uncle of hers recently passed away. On the way home from the funeral, several members of her family packed into a car: her mother, brother & SIL and their two kids, a 3yo and a 5 month old, plus one of step-mother's teenage neices. They had an accident. Everyone was injured, some badly. Her brother died because he was thrown into the steering wheel. The 5mo baby also died because he was thrown into the dash board. The strongest arms in the world will not prevent a baby from being torn out of your arms in an accident, or crushed between your body and the seat in front of you.

When I went to India and Abi was 12-15 mos old I brought her infant carseat with us. Everyone complained that it took up a whole seat, why couldn't I just put her on my lap where it was more comfortable. But I never waivered even when we had to rent an extra car for a road trip b/c of the carseat. It's my child's life we are talking about.

And so what if you unbuckle yourself to nurse your strapped-in baby? If you have an accident your unrestrained body going 45 mph can crush your baby. If your baby survives the accident, will you? Do you want your baby to grow up without a mommy?

I have pulled over to feed my babies, and I have also had to let them cry at times when I couldn't pull over. Crying is better than dying.

See this videoclips if you need more convincing:
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/inju...les/video.html

I am not judging, but I just wanted to give some food for thought.

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#7 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 04:53 PM
 
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Well babies don't sit in car seats in limos or in taxis or on buses either. I think the carseat thing is yes a safety precaution and yes it does save lives but we don't all wreck everyday.
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#8 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 04:54 PM
 
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I can see why carseats are a huge issue (up there with the most important issues) in parenting. In North America, we live in a car-based society. Therefore, we have many laws around car use etc. that other countries that are not so car-oriented may not have. People here spend a huge amount of time driving from one place to another every day. So it goes without saying that their babies spend a lot of time in a carseat. Carseats are an easy way to add a measure of safety to the lives of our babies. They are easy to come by and simple to use.
I, too have nursed my baby in the car. The feat of acrobatics involved in that should win us a medal!!
I have also moved my baby into a sling to nurse once or twice in the car. I wasn't the one driving. This was while driving on a tiny island, very slowly where there are maybe five other cars in total. I would not recommend it but sometimes desperate times....
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#9 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:01 PM
 
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No judgement here. It is your choice to remove your child from the only safety it has should you be in a wreck. I do not mean this snarky, but if you can deal with the emotional ramfications to watching your child thrown from your car or around your car like a rag doll, and listen as some hospital employee tells you your baby is dead, then go for it. I would be RICH if I had a dime for every time I have heard the argument...but they never used to have car seats and all of those people made it ok; or I am a very safe driver and nothing will ever happen etc. etc. With the advent of time brings technological advancements and knowledge. Knowledge and tests and results and devices which keep all of us more comfortable, safer, healthier, and wiser. I would never beget a babe his nourishment. BUT I do find any logic that dictates you HAVE to feed your child while driving and remove them from their safety seat, as irresponsible at best. If it is that important (and it is) you have some very easy remedies...one, try to feed the babe before leaving, and if that is not possible, then pull over and feed your baby safely. Please do not justify the incredible safety risk with the need to feed. If after all we do for our children, it becomes a mute point if your child is dead.

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#10 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:05 PM
 
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I have never, ever unbuckled a child from a carseat while the car was moving.

When Leah was an infant I used to bend over her carseat to nurse her- she was strapped in and I kept my lap belt on. I would never do that now, knowing what I know now about carseat safety. Infant seats are meant to hold the weight of a baby, NOT the weight of a baby plus her mother!!!

I kept Jack rearfacing in his carseat until he was 2.5 years old. Kids are safer backwards. If I see a baby in an infant seat/carrier thing, I usually gently educate the parents about the size limit if their baby is close to the maximum (there needs to be an inch of carseat above the baby's head.) I usually just smile at the baby and say (along with the usual what's your name, you're so cute, etc.) "You're almost too big for that carseat!!" If a parent strikes up a conversation with me I'll tell them that my son outgrew his infant seat by 4mo and I had to use a convertible seat. I don't do this in a "preachy" way, just in a "Wow, they grow so fast and outgrow everything so quickly" kind of way.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#11 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cortsmommy
Well babies don't sit in car seats in limos or in taxis or on buses either. I think the carseat thing is yes a safety precaution and yes it does save lives but we don't all wreck everyday.
Kids should be in car seats even in limos and taxis. As for buses...this is a whole other enchilada....an abridged explaination is that buses are the SAFEST form of ground transportation. Why? Buses are larger and heavier than most vehicles, crash forces are distributed differently (evenly), the occupants experience these forces differently, they are statistically the lowest "risk" mode of travel, and they are conspicuous as hell.
In additon, buses are designed with the theory of "compartmentalization" which combines energy absorbing seat backs, and narrow spacing between occupants which offers a "compartment" size space for the occupant. It provides passive protection. Think of an egg in a carton.

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#12 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lisalee2
I've nursed my babes in the backseat of the car too, but I leave them in their seats. What can I say?, I must have elasti-boobs or something. :LOL
:
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#13 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:13 PM
 
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If they need to nurse I unbuckle *my* seat belt to nurse.
I don't understand the reasoning behind this. Your body, now unsecured, becomes a danger to your child if you were to be in an accident.
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#14 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:16 PM
 
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If babe is really hungry and needs to nurse, why not just pull over?
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#15 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by USAmma
My step-mother is from Columbia. A favorite uncle of hers recently passed away. On the way home from the funeral, several members of her family packed into a car: her mother, brother & SIL and their two kids, a 3yo and a 5 month old, plus one of step-mother's teenage neices. They had an accident. Everyone was injured, some badly. Her brother died because he was thrown into the steering wheel. The 5mo baby also died because he was thrown into the dash board. The strongest arms in the world will not prevent a baby from being torn out of your arms in an accident, or crushed between your body and the seat in front of you.

When I went to India and Abi was 12-15 mos old I brought her infant carseat with us. Everyone complained that it took up a whole seat, why couldn't I just put her on my lap where it was more comfortable. But I never waivered even when we had to rent an extra car for a road trip b/c of the carseat. It's my child's life we are talking about.

And so what if you unbuckle yourself to nurse your strapped-in baby? If you have an accident your unrestrained body going 45 mph can crush your baby. If your baby survives the accident, will you? Do you want your baby to grow up without a mommy?

I have pulled over to feed my babies, and I have also had to let them cry at times when I couldn't pull over. Crying is better than dying.

See this videoclips if you need more convincing:
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/inju...les/video.html

I am not judging, but I just wanted to give some food for thought.


I am sorry about your loss.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#16 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shonahsmom
If babe is really hungry and needs to nurse, why not just pull over?
That is what we do.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#17 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:24 PM
 
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I can't remember now why we didn't pull over. Probably something to do with no safe place to pull off, young flustered parents, someone had to go to the bathroom, or something equally as mundane-sounding now. But in the moment I'm sure it was valid. Why else would I be yanking out my go-go gadget breast and straddling the back-seat of my car to appease the screaming infant. I think that when I a was a new parent, I could think of nothing else while my baby cried.
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#18 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisalee2
Don't have much time to post now, I've nursed my babes in the backseat of the car too, but I leave them in their seats. What can I say?, I must have elasti-boobs or something. :LOL

I am too paranoid to take my baby out of the seat while we are driving.


IF I WASNT TOTALLY BROKE ID DDDDC YOU IN A MINUTE............ELSATI-BOOBS :LOL :LOL :LOL :LOL :LOL :LOL :LOL

I have stopped the car but I dont think we ever did it while driving, I know my mom's friend would sit next to the car seat adn lean over but shes got HUGE BOOBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WE have captains chairs where ds2 has his car seat so I can't reach that far
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#19 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:29 PM
 
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No judgment...but I would not ever take my child out of a carseat in a moving car.
You don't know WHEN an accident will happen.
I don't see why you can't just pull over?

We have a chance to make the car a safe place for our children, why not use it?
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#20 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:30 PM
 
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I'll just tell one story. When I was a volunteer fire fighter I attended an accident where a baby and his father were both killed. The damage to the car amounted to a grand total of $300.00, the accident was to say the least, incredibly minor. When I pulled up on it I couldn't figure out why on earth we'd even been called, then I saw the the front seat. Mom was nursing baby in the back seat out of his carseat. Dad breaked hard as traffic in front of him slowed down because of a stray dog in the road. He barely hit the vehicle in front of him. Baby went flying out of mom's arms, into the back of daddy's head, breaking dad's neck and killing him instantly, baby then continued to travel to the dashboard where he sustained lethal head injury.
That mother was left without her husband and her child....all so the baby wouldn't be hungry until it was safe to pull off the road.
I may be willing to leave my babe in the carseat while I walk 8' to the ATM, but I'll never have her unrestrained in a moving vehicle.
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#21 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:33 PM
 
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I have not and would not take my child out while someone drives. My reason is this. If there was an accident and my child was seriously injured, maimed, or killed I could never *ever* forgive myself. I know I could not live with the guilt I would have.
That's why I never take them out of the carseat.

I know where the OP is coming from. I haven't had an accident since ds1 was born (and only once in the 10 years I had been driving before then), so theoretically I could not have used a carseat this entire time and he would have been just fine. But I just can't take him out, for the reason I quoted above.

I have spent many hours nursing a baby pulled over on the side of a road or a freeway exit.

I don't think someone is a horrible parent for taking their child out of the carseat. I just think they are much less risk averse than I am!
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#22 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shonahsmom
If babe is really hungry and needs to nurse, why not just pull over?
That is usually what we do...my DH is a stickler for seat belt safety and generally speaking would have a fit if I unbuckled while on the highway.

That being said, I have unbuckled *myself* so that I could nurse the baby. We were stuck in a nasty traffic jam while visiting family in Chicago. Pulling over just wasn't really possible in this case, the baby had been crying for a while already, and it looked like we were going to be stuck for quite a while longer.
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#23 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:36 PM
 
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The one time I have had to lean over DD to feed her (or else let her scream) was in a gridlock traffic jam last summer. It took us 20 minutes to get to the next exit.

DS 6 DD 8
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#24 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:37 PM
 
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I think there is room for a little flexibility with car seats. There is a difference between taking a taxi for 10 blocks in downtown Manhattan and driving on a highway for miles.

And, yea, I think there may be a cultural thing going on as well. It seems that, in cultures that aren’t so dependent on private cars, car seats are less of a focus. Makes sense.

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#25 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:41 PM
 
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hey i nurse my baby without ever removing her from her carseat. i just loosen my seat belt a bit (at first i woudl just remove it altogether, but later learned how to keep it on) and sit up on my knees and lean over and pop in the breast.
of course now that she is in a frotn facing carseat this is not possible, but she is old enough to eat other food or wait till we can stop, so that is okay.

oh and about other countries, e.g india ... we travel more in buses and trains anyway, because that is much *faster* than cars. i was also upset by lack of carseats in india but then realised that road traffic is so slow compared to that in the US. anyway, i did my best to avoid cars.
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#26 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:54 PM
 
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Well babies don't sit in car seats in limos or in taxis or on buses either. I think the carseat thing is yes a safety precaution and yes it does save lives but we don't all wreck everyday.
No, we don't all wreck every day but we never know when we are going to wreck. That's why it's an accident and not an on purpose. :LOL And yes, our parents probably didn't use car seats but also back then most cars were about the same size. Or at least when I was growing up. There wasn't the liklihood of a little mini cooper type car getting into an accident with an Excursion or Hummer. To me, it just isn't worth my child's life.
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#27 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 05:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dallaschildren
Kids should be in car seats even in limos and taxis.
Ideally yes but you don't see New Yorkers lugging car seats around the city. I was just pointing out that not everyone uses car seats even in this country.

Now personally I pulled over to nurse my son and never took him out of the carseat while driving. However I have a family member who thought it would be great to take my son on a tractor ride, and my son's dad once pulled Cort out of his carseat and let him sit on his lap once we hit our neighborhood. I raised some hell that day and of course I was "overreacting." However I did not want Cort do be thinking he could ride outside his seat.
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#28 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 06:05 PM
 
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Riding unrestrained is the single greatest risk factor for death and injury among child motor vehicle occupants. Among children ages 14 and under killed in motor vehicle crashes as occupants in 2002, 50 percent were not using safety restraints at the time of the collision.
http://www.safekids.org/tier2_rl.cfm?folder_id=3120

I cannot bear to hear my baby cry but I would much rather he cry for five minutes so I can pull over in a safe place than be dead forever. You do not know when you will be in an accident. There are far too many sad stories like shannon0218 posted on the news. Horrible accidents that could have been easily prevented where an innocent child is dead. Those children did not know that being properly restrained would have saved thier lives and did not have the voice to tell their parents that they wanted to be safely restrained.
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#29 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 06:12 PM
 
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just my own experience;

We always pull over to nurse....always. It's a risk that I don't feel comfortable taking, probably 'cos I have been in 3 car accidents (all as a passenger). My psychiatrist used to be a car seat engineer, and he did all of the testing on unrestrained dummies - the stories he told me were enough to convince me that no matter how upset Charlie was it wasn't a good idea
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#30 of 188 Old 05-20-2005, 06:24 PM
 
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it is an issue of "live and learn" for some ppl.

i was raised with the attitude of "well, i did it with my babies, and it didnt kill them...". this, from my mother.

when ds1 was born, i was very young. i always took him out of his seat. he was HN, now i know he has sensory issues that made it most likely almost painful to be on his back. all i knew then was that his crying was going to be the cause of an accident. the worst i ever did was to leave him in the sling and just get in and drive 30 mins home one night b/c i knew if i took him out and put him in his seat he would go nuts.

flash forward to ds2...same HN's, same sensory issues, but this time i knew better. this baby did alot of crying in the car. i never took him out once.

i was hit by the first wave of the back to sleep campaign. i wish they would do a carseat campaign. it would make a huge difference i think.

Bring back the old MDC
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