Not tightening straps for infant carseat - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-31-2007, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went to pick up my son from school the other day and as I did so another mom was carrying her 4-5 month old in his car-seat on her way to get her older child. I happened to notice that the seatbelt was VERY loose - not tightened in the slightest.

I really, really wanted to say something to her but I didn't know what to say or how to phrase it so I just ignored it. I considered the option that maybe she just loosened it for the moment while she was carrying the car-seat and that she would tighten it up again before driving off in the car (I HOPE that was the case!)...

But I see this often at our LLL meetings -- moms don't tighten up the seatbelts for their infants because the babies cry and don't like them tight. I know its none of my business, but I worry about the safety of those babies. What if something happened like that mother got into a collision and her baby died because of it and there was someting that *I* could have done or said to prevent that from happening? I feel bad not doing or saying anything.

What would you have done or said to this mom?
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:04 PM
 
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i would have said , oh my the starps are really loose.. JUST SO YOU KNOW and then smiled really
and then....
they probably would hate me and gossip about me like more than half the moms at my sons school already do
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:05 PM
 
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I made a promise to myself that I will offer that unsolicited advice - it may just save a life. I would say, "hey I noticed the straps are way loose. I used to do that too until someone pointed out that they wouldn't save the baby at *all* in a crash." Then if they were receptive I would mention how tight they should be and that it should be tight enough that if we turned the seat upside down the baby would be strapped in all safe. And the chest piece being at the right height. I see it down too low all the time. I haven't had anyone be rude to me yet.

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Old 05-31-2007, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Roflmao!!!
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:08 PM
 
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:11 PM
 
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I've got a similar struggle. I babysit a little girl since she was 4months old. She is now 13 months old. Every time I go to put her in the carseat her mother leaves for her I am AMAZED at how loose the straps are. I tighten them up. Then mom complaines about it later when SHE has to loosen them. We've talked about it. It makes no difference.

I HAVE succesfully convinced her to leave her rear facing beyond the first birthday. At least so far!
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Then if they were receptive I would mention how tight they should be and that it should be tight enough that if we turned the seat upside down the baby would be strapped in all safe. And the chest piece being at the right height. I see it down too low all the time. I haven't had anyone be rude to me yet.
Carolynn
What is it that they say about two fingers? That you should be able to fit just two fingers between the belt and their body? (Where do you do that test, at the top of the shoulder? or by their chest piece?).
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:28 PM
 
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What is it that they say about two fingers? That you should be able to fit just two fingers between the belt and their body? (Where do you do that test, at the top of the shoulder? or by their chest piece?).
since different people have different sized fingers, the pinch test is more accurate. if you can pinch a horizontal fold at the shoulders it's too loose.
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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since different people have different sized fingers, the pinch test is more accurate. if you can pinch a horizontal fold at the shoulders it's too loose.

Ah, ok. That's a good rule of thumb, thanks. I'll remember that if it comes up again or if I see the same thing again today.
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Old 05-31-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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Thanks for this piece of info. I KNOW that the straps need to be tight, I make sure they are very snug. My sister, for her baby, not so much, and the chest piece is way low. My DH has also said how I have the straps too tight, but he doesn't loosen them. Now, I have an actual guideline for them to follow! yea!
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Old 05-31-2007, 02:06 PM
 
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My SIL and brother did this with my neice when she was younger. I hated it and I got my mom to say something to them. They didn't care, they did it anyway. I think one problem is that some of the cheaper infant car seats are not easily adjustable. You have to go in from the back and tighten the straps, and not just pull a cord on the bottom. If that is the case, you can't easily tighten or loosen the straps to get baby in and out, and it is such a hassle to get them in when the straps are already tight! This was the case with my neice, and her mom was too lazy to tighten it from the back each time she put her in. I think it is a flaw in the design of the car seats. It's not something that new mothers would even think to look for when choosing a car seat either.
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Old 05-31-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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My SIL and brother did this with my neice when she was younger. I hated it and I got my mom to say something to them. They didn't care, they did it anyway. I think one problem is that some of the cheaper infant car seats are not easily adjustable. You have to go in from the back and tighten the straps, and not just pull a cord on the bottom. If that is the case, you can't easily tighten or loosen the straps to get baby in and out, and it is such a hassle to get them in when the straps are already tight! This was the case with my neice, and her mom was too lazy to tighten it from the back each time she put her in. I think it is a flaw in the design of the car seats. It's not something that new mothers would even think to look for when choosing a car seat either.
I totally agree with this; our infant car seat was this way, and I hated it!

But yes, I see kids in car seats with loose straps all the time, and not just infants. Many of the people who do this are friends too, but I have never said anything...

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Old 05-31-2007, 05:01 PM
 
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I see that all the time and it drives me nuts! The other day, at the doctor's office, there was a baby in a carrier and the straps weren't even on his shoulders they were so loose. And the people had just walked in from the car, I highly doubt they loosened the straps just upon exiting the car.

I've been known to tighten straps when people aren't looking. Not perfect strangers, because that would just be weird, but friends and family.

I just don't think it's rocket science and I can't understand what the problem is. If the straps are loose, the kid can fly out in an accident. End of story.

I tried telling someone her daughter's straps were loose one time. The baby was actually picking up the chest clip and putting it in her mouth, it was that loose. And she said, "Well, sometimes it's looser or tighter depending on what she's wearing and I'm not about to mess with the straps every time!" And that was a college educated person too. Makes you wonder if they can start offering courses in common sense.
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Old 05-31-2007, 05:26 PM
 
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I would appreciate someone telling me. There were a few times when DS was small that we realized after we arrived somewhere that we had forgotten to tighten the straps. We were so horrified!
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Old 05-31-2007, 05:39 PM
 
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I have started telling people when I see it incorrectly used (too loose of straps or incorrect chest clip placement). I even made sure it was brought up when a local fire marshall visited our MOPs group (even though he didn't come to talk about carseat safety lol) because I had noticed a number of moms using it incorrectly in the past. I don't know if people think I'm rude or get mad when I tell them and gossip about it, but I at least want that info out there in case they really didn't know they were doing it wrong...or feel guilted into doing it right if they were just slacking off! I would want someone to let me know if they knew something I was doing was incorrect for my child's safety... my kids mean everything to me!
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Old 05-31-2007, 05:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kivgaen View Post
What is it that they say about two fingers? That you should be able to fit just two fingers between the belt and their body? (Where do you do that test, at the top of the shoulder? or by their chest piece?).
It's actually ONE finger now in Canada. I just found out about that new law from the NICU when I left with my DS a month ago.

I don't know if it's the same in the USA too though.

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Old 05-31-2007, 09:56 PM
 
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I've been known to tighten straps when people aren't looking. Not perfect strangers, because that would just be weird, but friends and family.
What's the point in that? When the kid starts screaming, they'll just loosen them again.

The chest clip - what is anybody supposed to do about that, anyway? DD hates it, and as soon as we're in motion, she shoves it down. The only time she doesn't is when she falls asleep. I don't think stopping dead in traffic is any safer than leaving it like that, so I'm not sure how to fix it...

I'm still not sold on the freaking things, anyway - and every time I read a thread like this, I'm less sold on them.

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Old 06-01-2007, 12:12 AM
 
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You're not sold on car seats? They have greatly reduced deaths and injuries in children in car accidents. :

As for proper placement of the chest clip, it not only holds the straps in the proper location, but it needs to be in the correct place to minimize injuries to the child's body. My children don't move it down once it's in place (well, Grace did a couple times til I told her under no uncertain terms is she to do so because she could get hurt). I can see how some older kids can, but especially w/ infant seats most are not able to do so on their own. It's the parents' responsibility to be sure their children are correctly and safely in their seats in a moving vehicle.
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:02 AM
 
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You're not sold on car seats? They have greatly reduced deaths and injuries in children in car accidents. :
Really? Got any links? I've honestly never read anything that says that. I"ve seen all kinds of car seat propaganda, here and elsewhere, but nothing substantial.

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As for proper placement of the chest clip, it not only holds the straps in the proper location, but it needs to be in the correct place to minimize injuries to the child's body. My children don't move it down once it's in place (well, Grace did a couple times til I told her under no uncertain terms is she to do so because she could get hurt). I can see how some older kids can, but especially w/ infant seats most are not able to do so on their own. It's the parents' responsibility to be sure their children are correctly and safely in their seats in a moving vehicle.
So, basically, it's my responsibility to not drive. DD can and does move down the chest clip. I've told her she can get hurt. I've told her that many times. It makes no difference. I know what the clip is for - if I've wasted the money and time on the freaking seats, I might as well use them properly. But, I'm not the one in the seat, and there's absolutely no way I can make sure the clip is in place while driving.

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Old 06-01-2007, 01:09 AM
 
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What's the point in that? When the kid starts screaming, they'll just loosen them again.

The chest clip - what is anybody supposed to do about that, anyway? DD hates it, and as soon as we're in motion, she shoves it down. The only time she doesn't is when she falls asleep. I don't think stopping dead in traffic is any safer than leaving it like that, so I'm not sure how to fix it...

I'm still not sold on the freaking things, anyway - and every time I read a thread like this, I'm less sold on them.

The chest clip is a pre crash positioner, she slips it down to her belly and you have a HUGE likelyhood of her being ejected from the entire vehicle during a crash. Thus she's at a huge risk for death, unfortunately. Take her weight and multiply it by how fast your going at the time of impact and that's how heavy she'll be during a crash. Heavy things have a tendancy to want to fly out during crashes. Adults have airbags. Airbags aren't pillows that are used to catch your soft falling graceful head during a crash- they're used to stop your body from trying to fly out the windshield.

The chest clips ONLY purpose is to make sure the shoulder straps stay on top of the shoulders (which is much harder to do when you've got a CHEST clip on your BELLY) I understand the pulling it down, but if it was taught at an early age that the clip stays up and the harness is tight no matter what- chances are it wouldn't be an issue now. But given your general response and skepticism, I can understand why your DD is non compliant.

I'm not even going to address the "freaking things" comment- One of my good friends is an accident reconstructionist (sp?) and i've heard about way too many crashes, seen way too many crashes not to believe in "those freaking things".
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:20 AM
 
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Really? Got any links? I've honestly never read anything that says that. I"ve seen all kinds of car seat propaganda, here and elsewhere, but nothing substantial.
http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=696

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/mi...TE=Jun+5,+2006

I agree that kids should be in carseats. They should fit the child and be properly installed and the straps should be appropriately fastened.

In a crash though, every little bit that restrains & redistributes the forces helps - a car seat is generally better than no carseat even if the straps are a little loose.

To the OP - I think mentioning it once pleasantly is fine. When my son was an infant we did have one of the terror seats where the straps were really hard to adjust and in my sleep deprived state I did make the judgement error of travelling with them somewhat loose a couple of times. I would have been embarassed to be called on it, but I think it would have been a good thing.

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Old 06-01-2007, 01:21 AM
 
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So, basically, it's my responsibility to not drive. DD can and does move down the chest clip. I've told her she can get hurt. I've told her that many times. It makes no difference. I know what the clip is for - if I've wasted the money and time on the freaking seats, I might as well use them properly. But, I'm not the one in the seat, and there's absolutely no way I can make sure the clip is in place while driving.
: That's not what I said... while driving it can be difficult to be sure that your child is staying where they're supposed to be, I agree... but I think the subject of the thread is more that parents should be educated to begin with of where it should be initially and at least make an effort to be sure the child is buckled in properly, kwim? No one is saying that you're not doing that.
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:36 AM
 
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So, basically, it's my responsibility to not drive. DD can and does move down the chest clip. I've told her she can get hurt. I've told her that many times. It makes no difference. I know what the clip is for - if I've wasted the money and time on the freaking seats, I might as well use them properly. But, I'm not the one in the seat, and there's absolutely no way I can make sure the clip is in place while driving.
I don't believe anyone is insinuating that you not drive. The chest clip is a pre-crash positioner and it's job is to keep the shoulder straps up on the shoulder to prevent ejection or excess and unnatural body movement of a young (physically immature) occupant, which could lead to serious injury or death. I understand some little ones can be houdini like. Continue to stress the importance to her that she shouldn't fiddle with the clip and eventually, hopefully, as with most curious phases our little ones go through, she'll get bored and leave it alone. By making sure the harness straps are snug, you can also lessen the ability for her to be able to slide the clip up and down so easily.

DC
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:41 AM
 
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The chest clip is a pre crash positioner, she slips it down to her belly and you have a HUGE likelyhood of her being ejected from the entire vehicle during a crash. Thus she's at a huge risk for death, unfortunately. Take her weight and multiply it by how fast your going at the time of impact and that's how heavy she'll be during a crash. Heavy things have a tendancy to want to fly out during crashes. Adults have airbags. Airbags aren't pillows that are used to catch your soft falling graceful head during a crash- they're used to stop your body from trying to fly out the windshield.

The chest clips ONLY purpose is to make sure the shoulder straps stay on top of the shoulders (which is much harder to do when you've got a CHEST clip on your BELLY) I understand the pulling it down, but if it was taught at an early age that the clip stays up and the harness is tight no matter what- chances are it wouldn't be an issue now. But given your general response and skepticism, I can understand why your DD is non compliant.
Jump to conclusions much? I've told her ever since she was old enough to play with the chest clip that it has to stay where it is. I've told her that it doesn't protect her if it's not in the right place. I've given her the party line from the get go. I've waited an hour in the van until she agrees to get in her seat. I've done the trip of forcing the screaming child into the seat on occasion, too - sometimes I really have to be somewhere. She hates the clip. She finds it uncomfortable. So, she moves it. It has nothing to do with my hatred of car seats.

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I'm not even going to address the "freaking things" comment- One of my good friends is an accident reconstructionist (sp?) and i've heard about way too many crashes, seen way too many crashes not to believe in "those freaking things".
I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I'm way too hot and tired to articulate them clearly.

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Old 06-01-2007, 01:44 AM
 
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I don't believe anyone is insinuating that you not drive.
If we're all going to be gung-ho about car seats, the logical next step is to stop driving. It's the vehicle, not the lack of car seats, that causes injury. That aside...if it's a parent's responsibility to ensure that the child is properly harnessed while the vehicle is moving, then it's my responsibility not to drive. Maybe I'll consider that.

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The chest clip is a pre-crash positioner and it's job is to keep the shoulder straps up on the shoulder to prevent ejection or excess and unnatural body movement of a young (physically immature) occupant, which could lead to serious injury or death. I understand some little ones can be houdini like. Continue to stress the importance to her that she shouldn't fiddle with the clip and eventually, hopefully, as with most curious phases our little ones go through, she'll get bored and leave it alone. By making sure the harness straps are snug, you can also lessen the ability for her to be able to slide the clip up and down so easily.
Okay - I'm not trying to be offensive, but I think you're now the third person in this thread to explain the purpose of the chest clip. I know what the chest clip is for. That doesn't have anything to do with dd moving it. And, she doesn't generally move it "easily". The harness straps are snug...that's one of the reasons why she and I hate the damned seat.

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Old 06-01-2007, 01:59 AM
 
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StormBride:

It comes down to this: She is your child and you are responsible for all actions that happen to her. YOU are the one that has to live with it, not us. We have provided you the facts and info regarding Child Passenger Safety, now you can choose to ignore or do something about it.

Your attitude about Carseats strikes me kind of odd.

The only suggestion I have for you regarding the Chest-Piece is to maybe install it backwards on the harness straps. That might make it harder for her to slide down.
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:09 AM
 
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If we're all going to be gung-ho about car seats, the logical next step is to stop driving. It's the vehicle, not the lack of car seats, that causes injury. That aside...if it's a parent's responsibility to ensure that the child is properly harnessed while the vehicle is moving, then it's my responsibility not to drive. Maybe I'll consider that.

Okay - I'm not trying to be offensive, but I think you're now the third person in this thread to explain the purpose of the chest clip. I know what the chest clip is for. That doesn't have anything to do with dd moving it. And, she doesn't generally move it "easily". The harness straps are snug...that's one of the reasons why she and I hate the damned seat.
You sound frustrated. You sound like you are trying your best. Not driving or ever riding in a MV is the only foolproof way to avoid being injured or killed in a collision, yes. I agree. But for many it is not feasible.
You understand the importance of a child restraint and you are educated on the function of the chest clip. Fair enough.

Peace.
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:12 AM
 
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It comes down to this. She is your child and you are responsible for all actions that happen to her. YOU are the one that has to live with it, not us. We have provided you the facts and info regarding Child Passenger Safety, now you can choose to ignore or do something about it.

Your attitude about Carseats strikes me kind of odd.

The only suggestion I have for you regarding the Chest-Piece is to maybe install it backwards on the harness straps. That might make it harder for her to slide down.
I can do what about it? If I take the clip off and turn it around, I won't be able to do it up...or undo it. I barely can now.

I find the general attitude about car seats to be kind of odd, too. So, c'est la vie. To each their own. I'm just happy that I didn't have to be strapped into one of those things as a child.

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Old 06-01-2007, 02:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dallaschildren View Post
You sound frustrated. You sound like you are trying your best. Not driving or ever riding in a MV is the only foolproof way to avoid being injured or killed in a collision, yes. I agree. But for many it is not feasible.
No - there is no way to avoid being injured or killed in a collision. The closest any of my children has come to being killed in a car accident was when ds1 and I were crossing the street, and a guy turned left on a red (in the pouring rain) and almost ran us down. He missed ds1 by less than 6 inches.

Quote:
You understand the importance of a child restraint and you are educated on the function of the chest clip. Fair enough.
Not entirely true, but functionally close enough. DH accepts that they're "necessary", and since we've already blown the money, I might as well use them properly.

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Storm Bride is offline  
Old 06-01-2007, 02:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I can do what about it? If I take the clip off and turn it around, I won't be able to do it up...or undo it. I barely can now.

I find the general attitude about car seats to be kind of odd, too. So, c'est la vie. To each their own. I'm just happy that I didn't have to be strapped into one of those things as a child.
What carseat is she using?

Try turning it around as I suggested, and then when you go to put her in the seat or take her out just loosen the straps. You shouldn't have any problems. If it is a little hard so be it, but it is better than her riding around without the chestpiece at her armpit level.

Motor Vehicle Accidents are the #1 killer of adults and children ages 1-34. What attitude do you find strange? That attitude that we advocates want to make sure every child is restrained properly ever single car ride?
It's not just fatalities that are scary, is the permanent damage that a child and parent may have to live with because the child was not restrained properly ie: Paralyzed, brain injury, broken bones, severed limbs, etc...
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