Four Month Old Forward Facing--Help! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I need some advice.
My SIL has her son FF'ing and he's just barely 4 months old. This terrifies and shocks me. We were all at MIL's house this weekend and when MIL put SIL's son in the car, she told them that it is illegal to have him riding FF'ing. SIL says she didn't know (may or may not be true) and said she would turn it around. ...they proceeded to drive two hours home (on Memorial Day) with him facing forward. I hope (realllly reallly hope!) that she turns it around. But I'm not holding my breath. So I need advice.

My plan is that next time we see them at MILs (should be less than a month from now, I hope sooner) so peek in her car and see if they've moved the carseat. If not I will say something. I basically plan to say "SIL, you know that its illegal and incredibly unsafe for him to be riding forward facing, right?" I plan to offer to help them get a decent RF'ing install right then and there if they need to. If the conversation allows, I want to say, "its unsafe because X, Y, and Z could happen" Also, SIL has a 2 door Pontiac Sunfire, so if the complaint is that they can't fit it in RF'ing I want to be ready to suggest a couple of seats that will work, preferably on the lower end of pricing. (And if I say this in front of MIL, theres a good chance she would help SIL purchase it). Finally, if she is completely resistant, I'm really tempted to call the cops. But I'd like to avoid calling while I am at my MIL's house as it would be hard to be discreet and would could major family drama (...though these seems petty, since I feel like her son's life is at risk).

So, to review, this is where I need your help:

1) Do anyone know the legal consequences in TN if you are pulled over and your 4 or 5 month old is forward facing (--we are required to keep kids FFing until at least one year AND 20lbs, btw)?

2)What are the specific medical risks of riding FFing at such a young age?

3) What convertible carseats would fit best RFing in a small 2 door Pontiac Sunfire? (especially with a 6ft+ man in the front seat)

4) What legal action would you seek if they don't care or don't do anything? If I call the police (911 or regular number) at a later time with her plate number and their names, will anything be done? I don't know their address, so this complicates things. Does CPS care about these sorts of things?


I may have more questions later, but thanks for your help.

ETA: Just to clarify, as much as I would like to call the cops now, I can't. All I would be able to say is, "Hi my SILs lives somewhere in XYZ and her name is mrsfrenchy's SIL I don't have her address, her plate#, etc. So, yes, I agree with posters that something needs to be done now. But calling the cops is not it since i have NO info to give them.

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#2 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:23 PM
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I'd call the cops and cps right away.

Or, you could sneak into their car in the middle of the night and turn it rear facing.
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#3 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:25 PM
 
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Call you SIL first thing in the morning and tell her her mother lied to her about something that can risk breaking her baby's neck. "maybe the laws were different in her day"

Call MIL as well and tell her the law for your SIL's state (should be online) and tell her you've already updated your SIL and that you trust that MIL will be careful about safety advice in future. "Consider all the products that have been recalled over the years. Back in your granny's day they had paints with arsenic in them!"

And yeah, they might not ever talk to you again, but better that than the "I'm sorry for your loss, he was so young" conversation.
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#4 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by PancakesMancakes View Post
I'd call the cops and cps right away.

Or, you could sneak into their car in the middle of the night and turn it rear facing.
I don't know her liscense plate #, address, or any other information that I could give them, or I probably would.

And, she lives 2 hours away (and, again, I don't have the address) or I would consider that option too.

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#5 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:30 PM
 
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I wouldn't wait a month. Can you call or email her tonight? Send her a link about state laws and the safety of rear-facng carseats. I can't imagine a loving mother not taking the information seriously. If you don't feel like contacting her yourself, have your DH (I'm assuming she's his sister - or, if it's your brother's wife, call him.)

I wouldn't call CPS or the cops - I would give her the info she needs to keep her baby safe. It's a quick google search away (I'm on my phone or else I'd link some for you).

Good luck!

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#6 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Call you SIL first thing in the morning and tell her her mother lied to her about something that can risk breaking her baby's neck. "maybe the laws were different in her day"
Oh, no! I think you misread (or I mis-typed). MIL told SIL that is, indeed, illegal and that she needed to turn it around. SIL replied "Oh, I didn't know. We'll turn it around later."
So, SIL has been correctly informed that it's illegal. I just have my doubts about her turning it around. (She doesn't have the best track record).

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#7 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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I'd just call her. Tell her you love her and you respect her parenting choices but that you just are losing sleep over this one issue and talk to her about the dangers. or send her a friendly email with links.
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#8 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:36 PM
 
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specific medical risk... babies and most young children are skeletally and muscularly immature. their bodies, particularly their necks, are not able to withstand the force of an impact... think of it this way - if an adult, with full skeletal maturity, can get whiplash from a 5mph impact, what do you think will happen to an infant. Their head is proportionally a much larger percentage of their body weight. If a baby/small child is FF in a car that is in an accident the primary force is going to be directly on their neck and can result in spinal cord injuries or death. When a child is rear facing, the force of an impact is spread out over their entire back and decreases the risk of significant injury.

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#9 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsfrenchy View Post
1) Do anyone know the legal consequences in TN if you are pulled over and your 4 or 5 month old is forward facing (--we are required to keep kids FFing until at least one year AND 20lbs, btw)?
Probably a fine at most. More likely a warning and a requirement to show a properly installed carseat within X amount of time.

2)What are the specific medical risks of riding FFing at such a young age?
death, broken legs, broken arms, broken neck, broken neck can have all kinds of nasty effects even if the kid lives and gets the right medical help ASAP

3) What convertible carseats would fit best RFing in a small 2 door Pontiac Sunfire? (especially with a 6ft+ man in the front seat)
no idea, but does the seat have to go behind the tall parent? and don't they still have an infant seat ?

4) What legal action would you seek if they don't care or don't do anything? If I call the police (911 or regular number) at a later time with her plate number and their names, will anything be done? I don't know their address, so this complicates things. Does CPS care about these sorts of things?calling the cops with the plates is definitely worth a shot, but they probably have to catch them driving like that.
Heh, good on your MIL.
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#10 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsfrenchy View Post
Oh, no! I think you misread (or I mis-typed). MIL told SIL that is, indeed, illegal and that she needed to turn it around. SIL replied "Oh, I didn't know. We'll turn it around later."
So, SIL has been correctly informed that it's illegal. I just have my doubts about her turning it around. (She doesn't have the best track record).
Thank goodness. Yes, I did misread. In that case, I would've called the cops on them as they drove off.
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#11 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
I wouldn't wait a month. Can you call or email her tonight? Send her a link about state laws and the safety of rear-facng carseats. I can't imagine a loving mother not taking the information seriously. If you don't feel like contacting her yourself, have your DH (I'm assuming she's his sister - or, if it's your brother's wife, call him.)

I wouldn't call CPS or the cops - I would give her the info she needs to keep her baby safe. It's a quick google search away (I'm on my phone or else I'd link some for you).

Good luck!
I don't have her new phone number. She doesn't have internet access.
...and honestly, (and maybe I'm offbase here) I don't think she cares or is open to advice. When he was a NB, she was using an OLD 3pt harness bucketseat with him. I explain that it was really unsafe and gave her a barely used, really nice bucket seat, less than a year old. I was really nice and not-judgmental at all about this, I'm sure. She took it and never used it. This is what makes me doubt she'll care at all about why its unsafe to RF.

She doesn't have a good relationship with my DH (her brother). They say 'Hi, how are you?" but thats about it.

I've tried offering non-jud
But to back up my concerns that she doesn't seem to care (or is in la-la land, maybe?): she jokes about her son falling off the bed at least once week and says he doesn't mind; Also, although multiple members of our family have expressed concern about her son's bowel movements (strains so hard that he looks like he's going to burst a blood vessel, then has bigger and harder stool than my 2 year old often has) she refuses to ask the pedi about it.



But, I agree, drummerswife I don't want to wait a month. I just don't know what to do without contact information.

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#12 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Thank goodness. Yes, I did misread. In that case, I would've called the cops on them as they drove off.
My husband asked me if I wanted him too.
...it would cause so much family drama if they knew that we did though (again, I know this is petty considering the poor baby is at risk). I just stood there dumb-founded and sick to my stomach.

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#13 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:48 PM
 
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Her mom can nag without family drama, so call your MIL and ask if SIL had any trouble turning the seat around.
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#14 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Her mom can nag without family drama, so call your MIL and ask if SIL had any trouble turning the seat around.
hmmm. This is a good way to bring it up with MIL (which I was trying to figure out how). I'm going out with her on Thursday; I'll ask then.
...but someone should give me the names of some good, small convertible seats to suggest if she says that SIL claims it won't fit RFing in her car.

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#15 of 21 Old 06-01-2010, 11:59 PM
 
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I'm sorry but I would have said something right then, and if she didnt turn him RF, I would have called the cops.

I would still call them if I were you. Thats crazy.

That is soooo scary.
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#16 of 21 Old 06-02-2010, 12:02 AM
 
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#17 of 21 Old 06-02-2010, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm bumping this because I see MIL tomorrow and am hoping maybe I could recommend some carseats that might fit better in SILs car to her.

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#18 of 21 Old 06-02-2010, 12:43 PM
 
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The phrase you are looking to communicate to her is "internal decapitation". If you google that you should come up with some useful info.
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#19 of 21 Old 06-02-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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Car seats that should fit

I'd sat the best fit wise would be the Combi Cocorro. (I linked to orange because it was on sale the cheapest, there are usually discount codes floating around) It is designed to take up the least amount of space front to back. They could try a cosco scenera, as well, it they cant afford the combi.

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#20 of 21 Old 06-03-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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I would definitely go through the MIL. It sounds like you're on good terms with her, so make her the nag, but give her the info to back it up. Maybe she could get through to her SIL. If you google Joel's Story, you'll find some good info about an 18 month old that was internally decapitated in a FF accident. It's got good photos and links to bring the point home.

IMO (and I'm no CPST), ANY rearfacing seat will be better than a FF 3-point seat at four months old.

Good luck.

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#21 of 21 Old 06-03-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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The Scenera most definitely will fit, and it's cheap.

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