When does one call the police on carseat issues? - Mothering Forums
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Parenting > When does one call the police on carseat issues?
annab's Avatar annab 03:50 PM 10-12-2006
If you see a person driving down the road with kids in the car who are young enough to be restrained, but aren't, do you call the police?

I have seen this several times in the last few weeks, and my first instinct is to act in the name of safety and call the cops. But I hate to be the crazy lady always calling the police when I see someone not using carseats.

Thoughts?

MomSquared's Avatar MomSquared 03:59 PM 10-12-2006
I am not one to meddle, or call the police (actually I never have) - but that is the one subject I am not lax on. If I ever saw it (fortunatley I have not) - I would call in an instance.
Babies/kids are not capable of making the safe decision about car seats, that is why we have to.
Oka-san's Avatar Oka-san 04:30 PM 10-12-2006
You know, once I saw something that horrified me. I was behind a pickup truck going at 65 mph down the highway. In the back was a little boy of about age 3 or so, all by himself, standing up. The pickup had no gate in the back, so it was just this tiny little boy standing in the back of a speeding truck, nothing to hold onto but the sides of the open truck bed, not even a gate in the back to hold him in if he started tumbling out. I swear, my blood ran cold. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

So I took down the license plate # and called the police as soon as I got home.

Guess what they said? "There’s no law against letting a child ride in the back of a truck, so there’s nothing we can do." I asked if they could at least contact the driver and explain how unsafe the situation was. Nope. The driver had done nothing against the law.

It really shook my confidence in the ability of the police to actually do something about things like that.
NiteNicole's Avatar NiteNicole 04:56 PM 10-12-2006
Wow. How can that be so? A kid that young would have to be in a car seat, right? That's a law, isn't it? That's horrific. It makes my chest hurt to see people doing that with their dogs.
Piercedboy's Avatar Piercedboy 05:20 PM 10-12-2006
I've done it. I was driving at 75 mph on the highway and had a lady whip past me with about 4 kids standing up in the backseat, and a baby laying on the rear dashboard.
HollyBearsMom's Avatar HollyBearsMom 05:29 PM 10-12-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piercedboy View Post
I've done it. I was driving at 75 mph on the highway and had a lady whip past me with about 4 kids standing up in the backseat, and a baby laying on the rear dashboard.
That would have been my family in the 60's. There were 5 of us kids and my favorite place was the rear dashboard when we went in my grandparents big old cadillac. I liked the "wayback" my folks stationwagon. I would never even consider not using a carseat for my son but I do have to say long trips were much more fun before them. I feel bad for my son strapped in his seat for so long when I used to be able to laydown, color, climb around. Of course I will never tell him that!
jlpumkin's Avatar jlpumkin 05:44 PM 10-12-2006
: That's my secret. Dh actually put local police on my speed dial on my cell.. I use it in 2 instances - if children are obviously unrestraining - riding on drivers lap, leaning out windows, etc. Or young children found wandering the neighborhood and their home can't be located. We spend a lot of time outside so we see a lot.
NaomiLorelie's Avatar NaomiLorelie 05:49 PM 10-12-2006
I'd call for sure!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post
That would have been my family in the 60's. There were 5 of us kids and my favorite place was the rear dashboard when we went in my grandparents big old cadillac. I liked the "wayback" my folks stationwagon. I would never even consider not using a carseat for my son but I do have to say long trips were much more fun before them. I feel bad for my son strapped in his seat for so long when I used to be able to laydown, color, climb around. Of course I will never tell him that!
That does sound more fun than in my family. of course carseats weren't required but my parents were very strict about seat belts. All three of us would be crammed in the back of a very small car and we had to stay buckled up. Talk about uncomfortable. But I'm not really complaining. I love that my parents were about seat belts, whole grain bread, and EBF when no one else was. My mom still gets on me for not always buckling up in the backseat.
annab's Avatar annab 05:55 PM 10-12-2006
I loved the all-night drive from Indiana to Florida every year for spring break. Somewhere in TN, we folded down the middle seat of the station wagon and made a big bed in the back. Wonderful memories that my kids will never know.

OK! You have strengthened my resolve. I am gonna rat them out!
angelpie545's Avatar angelpie545 05:58 PM 10-12-2006
I would. It might offend someone for a day but it might save a life in the long run.
Mommabelle's Avatar Mommabelle 06:05 PM 10-12-2006
It is unsafe and I don't like it, but I see it ALL the time. I don't call the police because I would hate to sic DFACS on an otherwise good family..or in alot of instances the family could possibly be deported. It seems to be a cultural thing alot of the time.
TinkerBelle's Avatar TinkerBelle 06:36 PM 10-12-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommabelle View Post
It is unsafe and I don't like it, but I see it ALL the time. I don't call the police because I would hate to sic DFACS on an otherwise good family..or in alot of instances the family could possibly be deported. It seems to be a cultural thing alot of the time.
I wouldn't want to have anyone deported either, but you cannot use culture as an excuse to break the law. There are some ways that people who move to other countries have to assimilate. I mean, I would not move to France and not expect to have to obey their laws.
mamma.mia's Avatar mamma.mia 06:42 PM 10-12-2006
: I think I'd call the police right away. That's 100% inexusable! :
MomSquared's Avatar MomSquared 07:00 PM 10-12-2006
In my neck of the woods, it is illegal to ride in a vehicle unrestrained (back of the truck bed for instance). Especially now with the "click it or ticket" campaign.
Joannarachel's Avatar Joannarachel 07:05 PM 10-12-2006
I am absolutely : that there are still places where it's legal to ride in the bed of a pick up.
newmommy's Avatar newmommy 07:20 PM 10-12-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommabelle View Post
It is unsafe and I don't like it, but I see it ALL the time. I don't call the police because I would hate to sic DFACS on an otherwise good family..or in alot of instances the family could possibly be deported. It seems to be a cultural thing alot of the time.
:
angelpie545's Avatar angelpie545 10:04 PM 10-12-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommabelle View Post
It is unsafe and I don't like it, but I see it ALL the time. I don't call the police because I would hate to sic DFACS on an otherwise good family..or in alot of instances the family could possibly be deported. It seems to be a cultural thing alot of the time.
You do bring up a good point. It seems like DCFS will look for any reason they can to take kids into custody.
Jessy1019's Avatar Jessy1019 12:13 AM 10-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommabelle View Post
It is unsafe and I don't like it, but I see it ALL the time. I don't call the police because I would hate to sic DFACS on an otherwise good family..or in alot of instances the family could possibly be deported. It seems to be a cultural thing alot of the time.
That's how I feel, too, although it's less cultural here. I'm not going to sic CPS on a family over a car seat.
NaomiLorelie's Avatar NaomiLorelie 12:15 AM 10-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessy1019 View Post
That's how I feel, too, although it's less cultural here. I'm not going to sic CPS on a family over a car seat.
You'd rather risk that they could get into an accident with an unrestrained child?
OriginalGirlGamer's Avatar OriginalGirlGamer 12:16 AM 10-13-2006
I was in Law Enforcement for a few years before I had my son, and nothing irritated us more than seeing a car roaring down the street with the youngins all over the car. We went ticket happy. And after seeing what happens when a car wrecks and the kids aren't strapped in, I feel even more strongly about it, that accident is something I'll never get out of my head.

And I want to smack whatever cop said there was nothing wrong with a 3 year old in the back of a pickup, because there is, a kid that young has to be in a carseat, no exceptions. Most places that still allow you to ride in the back have an age of 14-15 and up, which is still too young for me. >_>
Jessy1019's Avatar Jessy1019 12:19 AM 10-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaomiLorelie View Post
You'd rather risk that they could get into an accident with an unrestrained child?
Mentally weighing out the odds, it seems far more likely that the child could end up being removed from his/her otherwise good parents. I won't take that risk.
treemom2's Avatar treemom2 12:30 AM 10-13-2006
: You know threads such as these are really bothersome to me sometimes. I personally feel that most parents do what they feel is best for their children and their families. In my eyes most parents love their children and would never deserve to have someone call the authorities on them. Yes, my children ride in carseats however in Japan this is not the norm nor is the it the law. In fact, in Japan they don't have a lot of laws governing how a parent is to raise their child. Of course they also don't have the abuse issues here like in the states. I am sure we have all done things that would anger others and could get us turned into DCFS (like not vaxing, not taking our children to the doc at every little cold or fever, letting our children run around naked in our home or yard--and god forbid taking pics of them in this natural state, etc. . .). I will admit that if I saw a child on the highway in the back of a truck that was going very fast that this would probably be cause to report, however just seeing children unrestrained in the backseat of the car would not cause me to report. My mother has a favorite saying everytime I tell her things parents do these days, she says it is amazing how children in her generation and in my generation lived. I never was restrained in the backseat of the car, my brother and I would play for hours on the floor or sit on our knees and look out the back window.

It is not my place to tell another parent who is doing the best job they know how to raise their children! I am not a perfect parent and I cannot be the woman who causes a good parent to have her children taken away because they were not in a carseat for who knows how long (have you thought that perhaps it was only a few blocks, or maybe the child was using a portable potty on the floor during a long trip and was getting back into their seat, again etc. . .).:
Fyrestorm's Avatar Fyrestorm 12:34 AM 10-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaomiLorelie View Post
You'd rather risk that they could get into an accident with an unrestrained child?
Just had to add this:

My co-worker (who is also a friend) is first generation American. She married into a family of legal immigrants who still for the most part stick to thier culture. They all thought she was nuts with all her "saftey and car seat sillyness" with her now 3 year old. Until she was in a pretty horrific car accident (not her fault) where she was t-boned at about 40 MPH. Her car was totalled and DD had to be removed with the Jaws of Life. DD was really scared (she was 2 at the time) but completely unscathed. Her entire family went out and bought or upgraded thier carseats and won't even drive down to the mailbox without thier kids strapped in.

My long drawn out point is...It only has to happen once. This could have been an incredible tragedy if she had listened to her family....Call the police, you could save a life.
annab's Avatar annab 12:47 AM 10-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by treemom2 View Post
: My mother has a favorite saying everytime I tell her things parents do these days, she says it is amazing how children in her generation and in my generation lived.

I cannot be the woman who causes a good parent to have her children taken away because they were not in a carseat for who knows how long (have you thought that perhaps it was only a few blocks, or maybe the child was using a portable potty on the floor during a long trip and was getting back into their seat, again etc. . .).:
For every person who says that we are too cautious, there is a parent who fought hard to get these laws enacted because they knew someone who died.

Most accidents occur within 20 miles of the home. There is a greater chance that they will be injured in that few-block trip than on the interstate.

In Indiana, it is a ticket. CPS is not called if it is only a child restraint infraction.
Brigianna's Avatar Brigianna 03:08 AM 10-13-2006
I skipped the police and directly called cps when I saw a pickup truck going down the highway with two adults in the back and an infant unrestrained on the adult's lap. But that was the only time. I've also called cps on parents beating their kids in public.
treemom2's Avatar treemom2 03:44 AM 10-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by annab View Post
For every person who says that we are too cautious, there is a parent who fought hard to get these laws enacted because they knew someone who died.
I guess this same argument could be made for vaccinations as well or for well baby visits. What about the people who have DCFS called because they refuse certain medical treatments for their child and are eventually forced into doing it. As I said before, I honestly think for the most part parents love their children and do what they feel is best for them--unless a child is in dire danger (ie, riding in the back of a speeding truck or being beaten or neglected) who are we to judge?
BamBam'sMom's Avatar BamBam'sMom 04:03 AM 10-13-2006
In my state there is an 800 number you can call to report cars with children without carseats. You are supposed to give the make and model of the car, the license plate number, and the location in which the car was seen. I believe you just leave a message. The people you report don't get fined or investigated, but they get carseat safety info sent to them.

I don't like getting people in trouble, which is why I really like this option. In this state, people on aid programs can apply for and get free carseats, so there's no excuse to be driving around without them.

Try looking through the government pages in your phone book to see if there's anything like this where you're located. There's usually a general information number.
treemom2's Avatar treemom2 04:12 AM 10-13-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by BamBam'sMom View Post
In my state there is an 800 number you can call to report cars with children without carseats. You are supposed to give the make and model of the car, the license plate number, and the location in which the car was seen. I believe you just leave a message. The people you report don't get fined or investigated, but they get carseat safety info sent to them.
Wow, this sounds like a great option. . .I wish all states in the US had this!
dallaschildren's Avatar dallaschildren 12:34 PM 10-13-2006
You don't have to be in a "speeding" car or truck or in the bed of a truck to be seriously injured and probably killed if you are riding unrestrained. Speed doesn't equate seriousness of injury. Being unrestrained, yeah, that will lead to your ejection from the vehicle. The distance you fly will depend on how fast you were going prior to the wreck and if a tree or utility pole gets in your way before gravity pulls you down, and smacks your head into the concrete. Yeah. Sign my kids up for that. :
Cite for me documented cases where CPS was called and an investigation done when someone's only offense was not restraining their kids in a car. I don't know about your area, but CPS here has MUCH better cases to attend to than an un-restrained child. Don't get me wrong. An unrestrained child is VERY serious. But these are 2 different entities. It would be like calling your doctor for a vehicles mechanical problems. That reasoning is ridiculous and lazy. Afraid of CPS for that ? Nah.

DC
marybethorama's Avatar marybethorama 01:04 PM 10-13-2006
Sure in some cases they might. But it would take some time to trace the car and the address. Not a lot I'm sure, but do they have that authority or would they just send a "CYA" letter?

I'd call the police because they can give a ticket and it could be a relative driving the kid.

[Sorry, I posted about this elsewhere]There was an awful accident recenty a block from my house. I drive through that intersection at least twice a day. It's a supposedly "residential" street but that doesn't mean anything. Even the alleys are dangerous around here. My husband's colleague was in the accident. She was okay but she had to be cut out of her car. An unrestrained child would not have had a chance.
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