What Would You Do If You Knew A Parent Was Not Using A Car Seat? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-19-2011, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I take care of several children in my home during the week. Three of the families all are friend/neighbors, and their kids are all 2 years old.

On occassion one of the parents will come and pick up all 3 children. I have witnessed them putting a 2 year old into a booster seat that is designed for a child who is over 40 lbs (they are all 2....and under 30lbs). I have seen them put a child just on the seat with seatbelt, and I have seen them put a child in the front seat with just a seatbelt. I have also seen them put their kids into the proper car seats but one of the car seats has expired. I know this because I borrowed it one day to take the kids on an outing.

They only have a few blocks to drive to go home, but I also know that accidents can happen anywhere and often happen just a few blocks from home. The parents also may be thinking they are safe because they are in a big truck (they all drive 1/2 - 3/4 tonne trucks).

 

I'm not sure how to approach this issue or if I even should. I don't believe they are putting their child "at risk" anymore than any other parent who drives with their child, but I do recognize that they are at an "increased risk" than a child who is fastened correctly in a car seat (and I also recognize that the majority of people don't have their car seats installed correctly, nor do they strap their kids in correctly). I'm also a pretty firm believer that parents need to be responsible for their children and having the government step in with all kinds of rules and regulations is just taking responsibility from people and making people generally more irresponsible because we are increasingly expecting organizations and governments and institutions to protect us and make our decisions. (rant rant rant). We all grew up crawling around our parents station wagons and doing sommersaults in the back seat while they were driving. My brother even had a "car seat" that they used to refer to as a "suicide bucket".

 

Anyways, I'm just wondering how others feel and what you would do in my situation. I really hate confrontation and don't want to be telling these parents how to be a parent. Their children are loved deeply, the parents are very affluent and I'm not worried about neglect or abuse.

 

Oh yeah...I'm in Canada if that makes a difference.

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:13 PM
 
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Call 911.  Report it, including their licence plate number and full description.  Every time you see it. 

 

 

I would also not let a child leave my house without a proper carseat, I'd just say "they can stay here until you go get one" 

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by leighi123 View Post

Call 911.  Report it, including their licence plate number and full description.  Every time you see it. 

 

 

I would also not let a child leave my house without a proper carseat, I'd just say "they can stay here until you go get one" 


Yikes, harsh. 

 

I wouldn't call the police. They are, after all, their children and not yours and it is for the parents to decide what to do with them. I would hope and pray they were pulled over and would bring it up over and over again. I understand that you are probably dependent on the income from watching them so being rude or calling the police is not an option. You also can't hold their kids hostage until they get a car seat. They could easily call the police on you can claim they were going to walk the kids home and have you arrested for kidnapping (I know that it sounds extreme but that's what I would do if someone was not allowing my kids to leave with me). 

 

I would continue to bring it up and offer to help them pick a proper seat, if they're well off they shouldn't be concerned about the money. 

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:28 PM
 
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I would maybe find a casual way to ask them if they only do that kind of behavior when driving the few blocks home, or if that's how they usually ride.  If it's just a couple blocks every now and then, eh.  I wouldn't worry about it.  If they generally don't seem to understand car seat safety, I might print some things off for them to read and let them know that you are concerned.


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Old 02-20-2011, 04:34 PM
 
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The OP said that on occasion, one parent will pick up all 3 kids. Meaning, NOT their  kids. I don't think I would let another parent take a child who was not theirs out of my care without a proper car seat. I might send them to wal mart to pick up a scenera, or let them borrow a seat of mine, but no, I will not send Parent A's child with Parent B without a car seat. 

 

ETA: Since its just a few blocks, I'd offer to walk the kids home.

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Yikes, harsh. 

 

I wouldn't call the police. They are, after all, their children and not yours and it is for the parents to decide what to do with them


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Old 02-20-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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Affluent should mean that they have more time available to use the educations they should also have had available to them to learn about keeping kids safe.

 

It really is a pity that you've set a precedent of allowing this, but perhaps there is a law about child care providers and proper car seat use that you could pull out to use as a reason for changing your policy to only allow proper carseats?

 

Call up all the parents and announce it as a new thing, sorry for any inconvenience, feel free to leave your child's seat here if another family will be doing the pick-up?

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Old 02-20-2011, 05:21 PM
 
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I was thinking about this more. Could you bring it up as a sort of 'I just so happened to see this thing on car seats and I thought you might be interested too, they said.....'. If the parents know another family is driving their child around without a car seat you can't really do anything about it. You could, however, ask if they know so and so doesn't have a proper car seat for their child. 

 

If you will be driving one of the kids around you can say what the law is and that you are not able to take the risk involved with an expired carseat or lack of a carseat. 

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Old 02-20-2011, 05:35 PM
 
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The OP said that on occasion, one parent will pick up all 3 kids. Meaning, NOT their  kids. I don't think I would let another parent take a child who was not theirs out of my care without a proper car seat. I might send them to wal mart to pick up a scenera, or let them borrow a seat of mine, but no, I will not send Parent A's child with Parent B without a car seat. 

 

ETA: Since its just a few blocks, I'd offer to walk the kids home.



You would demand an adult who is not the parent of a child they are picking up and driving a couple blocks with go and buy a carseat? Not that I would drive anywhere with a child in the car who was not properly restrained but in that situation I would grab the kid, walk out, and promptly remove my child from that person's care. If a parent deems another adult to be a proper caregiver for the drive home the daycare provider can't deem that person unqualified. 

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Old 02-25-2011, 10:54 AM
 
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Yes, I would demand they buy a seat.  Or they could make arrangements with the child's parents to get the seat before they go pick up the child.  It's not acceptable for a child to ride without a seat, even if it's only a "couple of blocks".  


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Old 02-25-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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I would get a car seat brochure from your local public health and mention it casually that you've been reading up on how dangerous it is etc., that you didn't know before and offer the brochure or say you got one for all the kids and it's in their bag or something. If they know you've noticed, they might be inclined to change.


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Old 02-25-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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Right. If its "only a couple of blocks" then I see no reason why they shouldn't walk. 

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Yes, I would demand they buy a seat.  Or they could make arrangements with the child's parents to get the seat before they go pick up the child.  It's not acceptable for a child to ride without a seat, even if it's only a "couple of blocks".  




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Old 02-25-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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Ah, yes good point.  Walking would definitely be the best option.


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Old 02-26-2011, 06:11 AM
 
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Law concerning child seats in Canada:

 

Children under the age of eight, who weigh 18 kg or more but less than 36 kg (40-80 lbs.), and who stand less than 145 cm (57 ins. or 4 ft. 9 ins.) must travel in a booster seat that meets the CMVSS.

 

A child can start using a seatbelt alone once any one of the following criteria is met:

  • Child turns eight years old
  • Child weighs 36 kg (80 lbs.)
  • Child is 145 cm (57 ins. or 4 ft. 9 ins.) tall

 

Children may ride front facing in the front seat when they are 9kg (20 lbs.).

 

Drivers who fail to secure or who improperly secure children may be charged, and if convicted, will be fined $110.00 and have two demerit points applied to their driving record.

 

What I would do is inform the parents that it is against the law.  If they don't change the situation, tell them you will phone the police.  If they still don't change it, then phone the non-emergency line and report the license plate.  You shouldn't keep the child, even if that person is picking up the child for someone else (unlawful confinement, kidnapping comes to mind)


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Old 02-26-2011, 07:31 AM
 
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 car seat laws vary province to province in canada. This chart is a few years old, I'm not sure how up to date it is, but it show the differences

 

 

http://www.safekidscanada.ca/Professionals/Advocacy/Documents/26794-BoosterSeatLegislationChart.pdf 

 

If it really bothers you that much, you could say that the police were doing spot checks on your closest major street earlier that day, so they might want to get a few extra seats.  

 

 

What I would NOT do is refuse to hand over parent A's child to parent B when parent A has arranged parent B to take that child home. If someone tried to keep my child because of  a safety issue that I clearly felt different than they did, and occurs outside of the time my child is with the car provider I would be livid. You are responsible for those children in your home, but once they are picked up it is out of your hands , it is not your responsibility anymore so than if they were to put their child in the car with no carseat on a day they didnt 'even come to your house.

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Old 02-28-2011, 01:11 PM
 
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I'dmention the lack of seats to the other families. Maybe they didn't know about lack of proper seating.


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Old 02-28-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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I saw my sister's neighbor putting an infant car seat in the car with the baby in it forward facing.  I knew they were foster parents, and one of my friends is a social worker for DHS.  I called her and asked what to do.  She told me that they had been kicked off the foster parent list, so she couldn't really do anything unless I had seen him actually abusing the child.  He also had been having a lot of police called to the neighborhood lately because of violent confrontations with other neighbors, so its not like I was going to go say anything to him.  We ended up not doing anything.  And I felt horrible about it.  

 

At the preschool where my 3 yr old goes they will not let anyone, parent or otherwise, take a child with being in a proper car seat.  Its just one of their rules.  I would institute a rule like that. 

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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If the parents want to make it a kidnapping case for the person they have paid to watch their child to refuse to let their child go into an unsafe (according to the law) situation, then they can call the police. Of course, odds are they'd have to come to the OP's home to meet with the police at which point an appropriate carseat is present.

I'd make a blanket policy about not handing children over without safe and appropriate (according to the law, which I know isn't nearly as safe as it should be, but it's what you have to work with) child seats. This would also include stuff like not allowing kids to go with anyone who seems intoxicated, someone you don't recognize, even things like parent C picking up kid A when you were told parent B would do it (although for that last one, a phone call would sort it out).
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asraidevin View Post

I would get a car seat brochure from your local public health and mention it casually that you've been reading up on how dangerous it is etc., that you didn't know before and offer the brochure or say you got one for all the kids and it's in their bag or something. If they know you've noticed, they might be inclined to change.



I was thinking this...why not do a "safety day" for the kids (yes, I know they're 2...but you can cover things like not touching the stove or outlets.) and hand out "safety brochures" on a variety of topics.


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Old 03-01-2011, 03:24 PM
 
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I don't know the laws in Canada, but in the US providing daycare would make you a mandated reporter. Which could make you liable if anything happened to those kids, because you knowingly let them leave your house unsafely AND didn't report the situation.

Like the others have said, I'd institute a new rule. Let the parents know in writing what the car safety standards are in your province and that you are obligated as the care provider to follow those standards. That you can't release kids to a parent who isn't following those standards. Blame it on the liability aspect and that you just discovered this, so it doesn't sound like you're blaming or judging anyone. You can also include some info about car seat expiration dates and info on where to get the installation checked in your area, just as a related bit of helpful info.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:56 PM
 
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Yikes, harsh. 

 

I wouldn't call the police. They are, after all, their children and not yours and it is for the parents to decide what to do with them. I would hope and pray they were pulled over and would bring it up over and over again. I understand that you are probably dependent on the income from watching them so being rude or calling the police is not an option. You also can't hold their kids hostage until they get a car seat. They could easily call the police on you can claim they were going to walk the kids home and have you arrested for kidnapping (I know that it sounds extreme but that's what I would do if someone was not allowing my kids to leave with me). 

 

I would continue to bring it up and offer to help them pick a proper seat, if they're well off they shouldn't be concerned about the money. 


Maybe it is harsh, but I've called the police before when I've seen unrestrained children.  In some areas, there is even a 'hotline' for reporting it.   They are doing something illegal, and not only illegal but putting a child's life at risk (and maybe not even their own child!).   Even though its not my kid, if its a kid I was caring for and leaving MY house then I feel some responsibility.  And even if it was a random person in a random car I saw somewhere, its still not the CHILD's choice to be unsafe, its the parent making the stupid choice and they should be punished for it.   Just because its their kid doesnt mean they have the right to break the law and risk killing the child because they are too lazy to walk or get a proper carseat.   

 

When I was a nanny when ds was little I always had to fix the little girl's carseat, the straps were always falling off of her.  I fixed it pretty much every day for months before they got the picture, but eventually they realized that they needed to keep things tight to keep her safe. 

 

When my son's friends come over, I do peek at their carseats, and I have asked parents to make an adjustment here and there if it was something risky (like a FF seat installed with the RF belt path for a 15month old, she was happy to go ahead and re-rearface him and has left it correctly installed RF sense then).  I've made it pretty clear that Im a carseat nerd and their child WILL leave my house in a safe carseat.  Thats just how I am. 

 

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Old 03-01-2011, 10:36 PM
 
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Quote:
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Maybe it is harsh, but I've called the police before when I've seen unrestrained children.  In some areas, there is even a 'hotline' for reporting it.   They are doing something illegal, and not only illegal but putting a child's life at risk (and maybe not even their own child!).   Even though its not my kid, if its a kid I was caring for and leaving MY house then I feel some responsibility.  And even if it was a random person in a random car I saw somewhere, its still not the CHILD's choice to be unsafe, its the parent making the stupid choice and they should be punished for it.   Just because its their kid doesnt mean they have the right to break the law and risk killing the child because they are too lazy to walk or get a proper carseat.   

 

When I was a nanny when ds was little I always had to fix the little girl's carseat, the straps were always falling off of her.  I fixed it pretty much every day for months before they got the picture, but eventually they realized that they needed to keep things tight to keep her safe. 

 

When my son's friends come over, I do peek at their carseats, and I have asked parents to make an adjustment here and there if it was something risky (like a FF seat installed with the RF belt path for a 15month old, she was happy to go ahead and re-rearface him and has left it correctly installed RF sense then).  I've made it pretty clear that Im a carseat nerd and their child WILL leave my house in a safe carseat.  Thats just how I am. 

 

While I love carseat safety as much as the next mama, I think calling the police is a little extreme. Particularly when you have the option of speaking to the parents first and trying to change their habits without police interference. Just like I wouldn't let a friend get in the car drunk and then call the police (as opposed to first saying "hey I think you've had too many can I drive you home?"), I wouldn't just say nothing and call the police. I might call the police if I saw someone on the highway with a baby on their lap or unrestrained, but I definitely wouldn't say something to a friend. People are just too uninformed about carseats to expect total compliance without educating them first. A friend of mine had no idea that you couldn't just turn the baby around at 1, you had to wait until they were 20lbs. Now she knows!

 

OP, I'd print off a listing for a very cheap but adequate carseat and give it to the parents and have a talk about using a carseat. You don't have to make it really awkward but it might feel that way because you're confronting them about something and most people don't like to do that. You could even say that you can't stand the thought that if they got in an accident the kid might be killed, or that they could get pulled over and fined. I'd also demand that if you take the kids out, they have a proper carseat, because you can't be expected to take that responsibility on yourself just because they might be a little negligent.
 

 


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Old 03-01-2011, 11:23 PM
 
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I would mind my own business.  I certainly wouldn't drive the child in my own car without the proper carseat, but what people do with their own children outside of my care is not my concern.  I don't call up CPS everytime I see someone smoking in a car with a babe, either.

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Old 03-02-2011, 04:21 AM
 
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 I would ask why they choose not to use a carseat.Might consider cutting care if it bugged me so much.Kids won't always survive a car crash,but as I parent I would want to give them the best chance-and that means a carseat.

 

I would not call the police,but I would let the parents know how sad I am that they care so little for their childs safety.

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Old 03-02-2011, 06:59 AM
 
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Since this has been going on for a while and these are friends I assume you don't want to alienate what about taking the , "I just learned xyz about carseats, can you believe it, I had no idea!"  Maybe via email with some links about proper installation or common carseat errors, at least to bring the subject up and then see how they react.


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Old 03-02-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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I would find out from whoever licenses home daycare in your area what you can and/ or should do.

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Old 03-02-2011, 10:51 AM
 
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I think you got some good suggestions OP. I'd certainly bring the car seat situation up to them and say that it makes you uncomfortable and just ask if they are aware of the laws. 

If you are dependent on the income, I would be careful how far I pushed it. They may just look elsewhere. 

 

I also agree with this...

 


Quote:
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I would mind my own business.  I certainly wouldn't drive the child in my own car without the proper carseat, but what people do with their own children outside of my care is not my concern.  I don't call up CPS everytime I see someone smoking in a car with a babe, either.

 

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Old 03-02-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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I have a question I'm not clear on.  Are all of the parents aware that their children are being transported in this way?  I think that makes a difference on how you proceed.

 

I do like the somewhat passive approach of "I just had an inspection for licensing and have been told they are really cracking down on car seat use.  I have to make sure all children are secured in proper seats before releasing them.  Here's some info on proper seats for anyone who is unsure.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.  Thanks so much for helping me comply!"  Or something like that.

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Old 03-02-2011, 11:43 AM
 
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I don't know the laws in Canada, but in the US providing daycare would make you a mandated reporter. Which could make you liable if anything happened to those kids, because you knowingly let them leave your house unsafely AND didn't report the situation.
 

 

Exactly!! 
 

 


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Old 03-02-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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If you are acting as a regular care giver, you may have held personally responsible if you release the children into an unsafe situation. You might want to investigate local laws or call the police department or social services or your homeowners insurance policy and investigate your personal responsibility first. You could be held personally liable for the consequences of an accident and in the case of something like your homeowners policy, this could be a terms violation/excluded incident. So in addition to a terrible injury or death, you could lose your business and your home and personal assets.

 

This might be an easy approach with the parent: "I know X happens but I cannot allow it anymore. It violates local/federal law and as a child care giver, I can not release the child into a situation that violates the law. Offer a simple, easy solution like offering to store the Scenera (or other cheap car seat that is age appropriate) during the day etc.

 

The children *are* being put at risk by their parents behavior. Income and education do not necessarily make better parents but it certainly makes them able to afford an extra car seat to pass around. We have lots of people doing this at our preschool and every child is secured ever time it happens. It just takes a little bit more effort on the part of the parents.

 

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Old 03-02-2011, 06:28 PM
 
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I called the police on a woman driving down the highway with her very young toddler standing up in the back seat.  I wouldn't call the police in this situation though.  I think you should look into the regulations for child care providers though, and possibly use that.  I wouldn't lie though, if there are no rules in place I would just "remind" them to leave the seats with you if the children will be riding with another family.  OR, get a wagon and offer to walk them home.

 

 


Sarah, partner to J and mom to DD1 April 30th, 2002 and DD2 May 5th, 2012. love.gif

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