"However, choosing to drive, even on a dirt road, with a baby in a sling is not making a decision about our OWN safety. That baby has no choice. A baby depends on her parents to keep her safe."
And depends on parents to help hir when s/he is in distress. Safety can be accomplished in non-coercive ways, is the point, not that children should be subjected to unreasonable danger. And it seems that people disagree about what is reasonable and unreasonable risk. So, who gets to say?
"And btw, it has been proven that most car accidents take place less than ten miles from home, at speeds under 30 miles per hour. Even a small collision would slam that baby right into the steering wheel. "
Hmmm, well, I wouldn't hold a baby if I were driving, in a sling or out of a sling. Yes, parents keep babies safe. Many adults do not wear seat belts on dirt roads, and so would not expect their kids to either. Maybe this is a mindset peculiar to the American West, rural areas. And as I've mentioned before, I know of at least one instance where a baby in a sling on a belted-in mama was safe in a potentially dangerous situation (previous post on this thread).
The 'we grew up fine not wearing seat belts' is perhaps a poor defense, but the fact of the matter is that we did manage to grow up, at least those of us that didn't get killed in accidents. Some of us got hurt in accidents, me included. But that was the stage of knowldege at that time. I would have prefered to not fly out a car window when I was 2. Parents would prefer that their children do not die in car accidents. We have created new knowledge around this situation. We saw the problem of people getting killed in automobile accidents, and found a reasonable solution. It doesn't solve the problem all the time, but much of the time it does. We continue to look for better solutions to the problem. Someday the whole durn car might explode into airbags at impact, if that is what is found to be most effective (though no one might be able to afford to buy a car anymore... that would certainly take care of the problem
In the same way, a certain percentage of society has created new knowledge around the issues of spanking, and breastfeeding, and smoking during pregnancy, and responding to babies' needs, and hopefully this knowledge will grow and spread throughout the population, and even better solutions will be found as people create more knowledge around these issues. I think that TCs is part of this new knowledge about better ways to treat people in family relationships.
I will be redundant here, and say again for those who are confused about this, I am not advocating that people do not wear restraints in moving vehicles. (but what do parents do when they ride busses with thier babies and chidlren? No one got any experience in this issue? And what about school busses?)
"And I wouldn't completely trust my three year old to make such a decision, either. She's quite bright, but unless she's ever witnessed a car accident, does she really have any frame of reference to accurately judge just how dangerous it is to ride without a seatbelt? "
There is plenty of information around to share with small children about the dangers of motor vehicles having accidents, without having to expose them to the actual grisley scene of a car accident. There is video footage of crash dummies in tests that makes fascinating viewing for all ages
There is the feeling we get when we are riding in the car, and then the driver applies the brakes suddenly- feel how the unseen force pushes you forward into the seat belt? And see how the stuffed animal goes flying into the seat ahead of it?
A parent can apply their creativity to help a child understand (once the kid is interested in understanding). A parent is not obligated to drive a car with their child out of their car seat, against their better judgement. But they are obligated to help their child get what they want in life.
"I'd rather have a safe baby who is occasionally unhappy in a carseat than an injured or dead baby whose emotional health is intact if those were my only two choices. "
Good thing that we are not limited to those two choices.
"But choosing to put a baby's safety in jeopardy in the name of non-coercion is simply irresponsible parenting."
And certainly not something that I or TCS theory would encourage.
If absolutely no risk was ever acceptable to put one's baby in, the baby would never come out of a hermetically sealed chamber, it seems to me. Riding in a car, even in a restraint, is a risk. We calculate risk in everything we do.
Where and how do we draw the line? I disagree with the parents I see in the city whose kids are walking around in the car, as we are driving in city traffic. Others disagree with a parent who would pull over and take their child out of the seat and nurse/change/comfort until they are ready to get back into the seat happily (spoiling the child). Many disagree with parents who go with their kid fussing in the car seat, and many parents who disagree with this do it anyhow, on occasion, in a state of coercion about it, their own selves. And some disagree about a parent strapped in with their baby in a sling, driving slow on a deserted dirt road.
I will defend the right of each individual to make the decision for their self and their child. And my heart goes out to all people who lose their children to accidents, preventable or otherwise, because there but for the grace of god go I. We are unable to foresee and prevent all risk, no matter how much we weigh consequences and access risk. We can take reasonable precautions- which, as we see here, differs from person to person- and do the best we can.
And there are parents who are criminally negligent, there is no question about that. But it is a minority, and I would be suprised to find anyone here who could be considered so.