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Old 10-03-2009, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello everyone

First of all, let me give you a tiny bit of background on the situation my husband was recently in a car wreck, and our car was totaled. So no car for us. I do not drive. DD has playgroup three times a week, M,W,&F. Usually, MIL drives us in her '02 Ford Explorer (no lower anchors, just belts). DD is RFing behind the passenger seat (the center lap belt doesn't work well with our seat).

Two to three other children usually accompany us..
--DD is 21mos, around 30lbs, 15" torso, around 36" tall, RFing in a Complete Air.
--Girl Cousin is 19mos, around 25lbs, much shorter than DD.
--Boy Cousin#1 is 14mos, around 30lbs, and way shorter than DD.
--Boy Cousin #2 who occasionally rides is 4 years old, maybe 44" tall and I'd say 40lbs, not sure though.

Here is the seating arrangement. I realize that it is hazardous.
DDs RFing Complete Air is behind the passenger. MIL will only permit Boy Cousin #1's Maxi Cosi Priori (my car seat, actually, lent to him because he'd otherwise be in someone's lap..) to be FFing center. Fine. As long as he's in a seat.. I know I should be pushing for RFing but these people.. anyways. Girl Cousin is in a Cosco Booster that has a harness, this is usually behind the driver, but sometimes on the passenger side in the 3rd row.
Boy cousin #2, when he comes along, is usually either without a seatbelt, or in a seatbelt but with the shoulder strap tucked behind him.

Here are my issues:
-I am not the driver of the car. MIL is. She does not care, nor does anyone listen to me about the safety of their kids- obviously. I am 19 years old, but am clearly thinking more rationally than them- in their 30s.
-All kids but my DD wear coats under their seats.
-No one but my DDs harness is tightned.
-I am 7 months pregnant and don't fit in the back seat to install the cosco booster for Girl Cousin, so her mom insists and doesn't care if it's snug. Even when it's in the 2nd row, she insists on installing it.
-I realized today, when removing her booster from MILs truck, that it is expired. She used it with her first DD, son, and this DD.
-Sometimes Girl Cousin's mom even puts her in her old infant seat, still attatched to the base, and just has the seatbelt go over it.
-Boy Cousin#1 is FFing at 14mos.
-Boy Cousin#2 is not in any kind of restraint and that is against the law not to mention UNSAFE!

There are probably hundreds of more things I can think of.. but anyways, what can I do? NOBODY cares and NO ONE wants to take my opinion seriously because I'm just the 19 year old who thinks she knows better (but really does).

Please.. some advice. If you were me, what would you do?

ETA: Boy Cousin #1 is FFing in a MyRide65.. Which is installed wrong, which he is never buckled into correctly.

Boy Cousin #2 and Girl Cousin are siblings. Only Girl Cousin uses a car seat, the expired one. They also have an older sister, who is very petite and still needs a seat although mom lets her ride in the front seat w/o a seatbelt.

I don't want to explain to my daughter one day, if they ever got in an accident, that her best friends were hurt or worse

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Old 10-03-2009, 01:21 AM
 
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I'd give them all the stats and info I could and then pray for their kids and let it go. You could call the police about the 4yo not in a booster and report the license plate number before you go somewhere with them but I doubt that would change their minds. Sometimes you just have to accept that other people do dangerous things with their kids.

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Old 10-03-2009, 01:38 AM
 
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I would not take my child in the car in that situation. #1. Improperly restrained people can become projectiles in a crash. #2. Even a minor wreck could result in serious injury or death to those children- I don't want my child to witness that.

-Angela
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Angela, that is such a scary thought, and really the deal breaker for me. How could I not have thought of that? Very scary. And the way they are strapped in, they would likely become projectiles. Thank you.

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Old 10-03-2009, 02:24 AM
 
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I would not take my child in the car in that situation. #1. Improperly restrained people can become projectiles in a crash. #2. Even a minor wreck could result in serious injury or death to those children- I don't want my child to witness that.

-Angela
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Angela, that is such a scary thought, and really the deal breaker for me. How could I not have thought of that? Very scary. And the way they are strapped in, they would likely become projectiles. Thank you.
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:24 AM
 
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I know it is really hard to stand up to your MIL and cause family drama. I feel for you. But is your three day a week play group worth the consequences that may come from people who refuse to listen or follow a pretty accepted safety standard? I have a friend who puts her baby in a RFacing car seat but doesn’t strap it in because she heard of a couple of kids surviving when their car seats were ejected from a rolling car and they were the only survivors. This may have happened a few times but I bet car seats have saved the lives of MANY more. She also drinks beer for breakfast. I just never let my kids play with or drive with her EVER. People who blindly disregard their children’s lives are going to make other crazy decisions. I would skip the playgroup. Find a park you can walk to, or maybe go to finding your tribe group and see if you can ride with people of like-mindedness.
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She also drinks beer for breakfast..
goodness.

Well, I can walk to the playgroup, it isn't TOO far. I may stop when the winter months come, but hopefully DH and I will have a car by then fingers crossed!

It just totally sucks. And even if I'm not in the car, I still fear for their safety and such, and like I said, dread the day that I'd have to tell my daughter that one of her best friends had been severely injured or killed. DH says that she'd have a whole new appreciation for her car seat, but honestly, I can't put her through that, KWIM? Some of the moms in playgroup have their kids RFing and are big car seat freaks like I am- I wonder if some are on here.. Anywho, it's just plain scary.

I mentioned the expired seat thing to MIL and she told me that it is just the manufacturer covering their behinds. Well, uh, yeah. Because obviously, things have happened when using expired seats. Especially if in heavy (and IMPROPER) use for 6+ years.

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Old 10-03-2009, 02:46 AM
 
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Well, I probably would give some statistics and facts. I also would not allow my child to ride in that car. A badly restrained child or unrestrained child can, as someone else pointed out, become a deadly "missile" in a car crash. It's the same reason why I don't drive with bottles, cups, etc., in the car. In a crash - they become missiles. I was in a serious car crash where I had to be helicoptered to the hospital. So, I have first hand experience how everything that is not strapped in flies. A lightweight thermos can become an extremely dangerous object if it hits you in the head.

It's the same reason why my dog wears a seatbelt. Not so much for his safety (though, that too), but also for mine. I don't need 95 pound of dog slamming into me!

Otherwise, beyond taking my child out of the situation and giving them facts, I wouldn't do anything else. I mean, once you give someone hard facts - it's up to them. There is nothing else you can do. And, frankly, I'm just not responsible for the lives of other people. I realize that may seem callous ... but it takes a lot of energy to argue people into safety. I just can't expend that type of energy on a daily basis with family members. My aunt hardly ever uses a car seat - she has one, just doesn't feel like moving the car seat from one car to the other. So, her 3 year old, goes without one.

I've told her the facts, showed her the statistics. She didn't listen. Beyond that - I really can't do anything.

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Old 10-03-2009, 02:55 AM
 
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A lightweight thermos can become an extremely dangerous object if it hits you in the head.

It's the same reason why my dog wears a seatbelt. Not so much for his safety (though, that too), but also for mine. I don't need 95 pound of dog slamming into me!
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:58 AM
 
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I would be uncomfortable with the four year old unharnessed (is he using a regular car seat belt and just not a car seat - or no seat belt at all in any way?) but if you aren't the parents, and the parents and/or driver of the car know that the child SHOULD be restrained but isn't, I'm not sure what you can do other than not ride with them.

Seat belt behind the body is a big no no (as you know) and I'd just calmly fix it "oh Kate, it isn't safe to ride with the belt behind you (fix it) - here you go".

A 14 month old FF is what most of the nation does (me included) so I don't think you will get very far on that one. I'd be sure the parents knew the car seat was expired - maybe send an email when you see an appropriate one on sale with a friendly note "noticed Jon's car seat is expired; a friend has this one and has really liked it" or something like that.

My rule is that in MY car or when I'M driving, everyone will be in seat belts and kids six and under will be in appropriate car seats or boosters. My kids were in boosters until they turned eight, and can't ride in the front seat until they are 12 (even though I have a car that detects if the front seat has someone under 100 pounds and turns off the airbag). But I don't think we can parent other people's kids in cars other than our own. It is hard to see them unsafe though.

Our neighbors used to carpool with us when we went to the same school. My dd1 reported that none of their kids wore seat belts. She was super surprised as she didn't think cars would even GO without seat belts on. Other little girl told her they didn't have to wear them because mom was a good driver and the inside of the car was soft... I am friends with this mom. She lives in this society and clearly knows about car seats and seat belts but chooses not to use them. I can't change that. My kids knew she had to wear a seat belt in their car or any car - and is a very rule-oriented kid so I do believe she did.

Sometimes you just have to be a good example and let the rest go. Helpful comments - sure. But we can't make people make the same choices we do.
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Old 10-03-2009, 03:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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VERY well put Kirsten. And the 4yo is sometimes unrestrained, even with his mom asking him to buckle him (if you're next to him DO IT FOR HIM!), and if he is restrained it is only with the vehicle belt, clearly not safe for him.

Sailor- totally correct! DH got in a bad car accident, thankfully survived, and thankfully no one else was in the car. when we went to see the car things were just EVERYWHERE.

What really scares me is traveling with groceries and such- what if a can of corn flys up? KWIM?

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Old 10-03-2009, 03:26 AM
 
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What really scares me is traveling with groceries and such- what if a can of corn flys up? KWIM?
Well you never get it all contained. I have four kids, and they all do their own thing while traveling. We have stainless steel water bottles, books, knitting needles, snow boots, the list goes on and on.
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Old 10-03-2009, 03:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yikes! Well, I guess you do what you can, KWIM? Our car usually looks like a tornado hit, so I'm glad that's one less thing I have to deal with. When we get a new one I am going to be the psycho-clean-freak about it.

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Old 10-03-2009, 05:21 AM
 
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I keep groceries in the trunk. I never thought about putting them in the car - it's just easier for me to shove everything in the trunk and be done with it. Though, I guess there are some cars that have trunks which open into the inside of the car ... I'm sure there is a technical name for this!

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Old 10-03-2009, 05:30 AM
 
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yikes! Well, I guess you do what you can, KWIM? Our car usually looks like a tornado hit, so I'm glad that's one less thing I have to deal with. When we get a new one I am going to be the psycho-clean-freak about it.
Yeah, good luck with that.

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Old 10-03-2009, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hah, thanks.

OH, so I've decided to talk to MIL today, like a hardcore I'm not budging kind of talk. Crash test vids and everything. I'm willing to purchase a seat for the 4yo and willing to use my cosco scenera (not in use) to seat the child in the expired seat. I'm also going to try and reconfigure things RFing, we'll see though

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Old 10-03-2009, 05:00 PM
 
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Good luck getting those kids in safer seats! I'm glad you care so much As far as "everyone does it" that doesn't mean it's safe. At 14 months, NO kid should be FF'ing. Hopefully if you share some information they will "see the light". Can you get a ride from someone else in your playgroup?

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Old 10-03-2009, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anna, DH & I are going to talk to MIL. Until then, nothing will really happen. I was even prepared to buy the 4yo a booster seat.

It looks like I'll be walking to the park for playgroup, but I don't mind. It's for DD's safety, after all.

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Old 10-04-2009, 07:00 PM
 
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I get odd looks a lot (including my sister and my in-laws) because my FOUR year old is still RF (she is little...29 lb and 37.25 inches), and I plan on keeping my almost 7 year old in a high backed booster till he can sit in the seat with the seatbelt fitting him well without it. And the fact that you are a young mom and so well informed and caring speaks volumes...a lot of moms my age (36) are not so "with it". Good luck to you, and I think those kiddos are lucky to have you for an aunt!

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Old 10-04-2009, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Jillmama- if you don't mind me asking, what kind of car do you have, and what seat is your DD in? We're having issues finding a car, although your DD is just slightly taller than mine, mine has REALLY short legs and a giant torso. She is in a Complete Air, and it is huge. It is at the minimal recline angle required (30 degrees) and even that is tough in a Ford Explorer!

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Old 10-05-2009, 02:39 AM
 
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She also drinks beer for breakfast.
I know a guy who has a 6 year old and a 3 year old (in addition to a 9 year old and 11 year old) who drives around with all four children just in seat belts. And half the time, they aren't even buckled in. We were with them once and I was in the middle seat (three rows) with DD securely in her seat. That's when I discovered that he brings a plastic grocery bag with six cans of beer in it and drinks them while he's driving. I was horrified. If he wants to put his children in danger, I can't stop him. But to do that with my child in the car? And not even say anything? WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Needless to say, my daughter isn't allowed around him. But there are other reasons for that.

His youngest two children should still be in car seats and at least the youngest should still be rear facing. But no one cares. My own mother thinks I'm crazy - and said it to my face - because I am keep DD rear facing until she's 35 - 40 lbs. (our seat goes says 35 but I feel I could push 40 out of it .. really depends on her age at that point) We were talking about my cousin making the drive to Maryland from Michigan and about their car with car seat arrangements and I made the comment about them having three children still in rear facing car seats. Currently, they have a 2 month old, an 18 month old, 31 month old. My mother looked at me and said "Only the baby would be rear facing" and doesn't understand why it's so important to keep them rear facing for as long as possible.

The problem is, people don't care. You can tell them over and over again why keeping the children rear facing is the best option but the truth is, it's easier to keep them forward facing and therefore they will not change their views.

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Old 10-05-2009, 08:50 AM
 
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I just wanted to point out that if the seat says 35 lbs, it's 35 lbs unless the manufacture says otherwise. This is how the seat was tested and using it otherwise is using your child as a crash dummy.

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Old 10-05-2009, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree with what Equuskia said. I was thinking about this half asleep this morning, because my daughter is not yet 30lbs (I just say a flat 30 because I don't want to put her in a seat that she may push the weight limit in accidentally), and because her cousin, who rides with us, is a tad lighter than her. I want to keep him rear facing, but the Maxi Cosi Priori only goes up until 30lbs rear facing. Anyhow, I put it rear facing this morning. I'm thinking that a seat could hold and do well in a crash if it were 5lbs over, I think the manufacturers take it into account when the make the seats because most people aren't weighing their children like nuts like some of us car seat freak parents do Nonetheless, I'm not going to push the weight limit. Especially if it's not my child.

Caro113- that is just TERRIBLE about the beer guy. I'd have called CPS/DCFS. I'm getting through to DHs 15yr old sister. She asked me why my DD is rear facing whereas children younger than her are forward facing. I explained it to her. Nobody understands what she does with her legs, lol! It was demonstrated when I had to put her in the forward facing maxi cosi priori for a ride in stop in go traffic because she had fallen asleep (her RFing seat was at a 30 degree angle, her head was slumping and she was having breathing issues, the FFing seat had a recline so I was bad for that one time.. with good reason though). DD got so frustrated that she had nothing to rest her feet on, so I had to put my arm there for her to use as a footrest!

I also came up with a NEW strategy for our playgroup rides!
The two children, the one with expired seat who sits in the 3rd row and the 4 year old, don't come with us every day. The 1 year old boy usually does. I installed N's seat center RFing (after much trying, finally success!), and the 1 year old's seat (Maxi Cosi) rear facing behind the driver. I also tightned the harness all the way on HIS seat, so that his mother, or whoever, will ask me for help. I'll come around, and do his seat up right. I'll also fix his jacket so that he fits in the seat with it.. it is one of those thin yet warm wool coats, that feel like felt. It is not puffy at all, so I feel safe leaving him in the coat. I'm going to purchase some car-seat poncho-things (the safe ones!) for them when they ride if his coat ends up being very puffy. We'll find out today if my strategy works or not!

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Old 10-05-2009, 11:53 AM
 
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Rear-facing is safer than forward-facing, but PLEASE do not push seats beyond their tested limits. If your seat RFs to 30 pounds, then 30 pounds is the limit. Not 35 and definitely not 40. RFing puts tremendous loads on the seat (which is why it's safer -- the crash forces are absorbed by the seat, not the child), and seats that pass at 35 DO fail at 40.

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Old 10-08-2009, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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like I said, I'm not going to push the weight limit

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