Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Today I went to your grave to talk to you. I told you about your brothers and your daddy. I cried as I told how much I have been hurting lately. How my fears about the future are destroying me. l laid down on the grass to get closer to you. I wish I could have felt you there. I wish I could feel you anywhere. There are days when I am fine but there are others where the pain is so raw, I feel like I did at the beginning of this nightmare. I am never going to stop yearning for you. Sometimes, it is too much. I miss you. I love you. I want you here.

It hurts.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Infant Car Seat Safety

So I am at an age where my Facebook news feed is full of people’s babies. While the whole concept of other people’s babies doesn’t bother me as much as it did a year ago (It still does but for different reasons - a topic that I will have to discuss in a different post) there are some things I keep seeing that make me want to pull my hair out. One of them that absolutely drives me nuts is pictures of babies using their car seats improperly.

According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, four out of five people are using their child safety seat incorrectly. That is an incredible number when you think about it. - 80% of well-meaning people are not doing it right. That is a whole lot of babies that could be in danger if their parents were involved in a car crash. I think the most fascinating thing is that many of these mistakes have absolutely nothing to do with the installation of the seat in the vehicle. While this is definitely a major concern, and arguably the most  important item in regards to the seat, it is not the only mistake that parents are making. (I feel like once parents finish struggling to get that damn seat in correctly, we assume that is all good and don’t even realize that there are other things we could be doing wrong that may be putting our child in danger.) Anyway, here are some other issues you may have never even thought of:

Not keeping your child Rear Facing long enough
I think most people are aware that an infant needs to be in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible but did you know that the AAP recommends that children remain rear-facing until they’re two years old or have hit their seat's weight limit (usually around 35 pounds). Apparently, facing backward offers the best protection for a baby's head, neck, and spine if you were involved in a car accident. In fact, recent studies have shown that a child under the age of 2 is 75% less likely to die or incur a serious injury when rear-facing. If your baby is heavier than 20 pounds and has reached the limits of his infant car seat, use a convertible seat, which can accommodate taller or heavier babies (up to 35 pounds) in the rear-facing position. I know a lot of people complain that their bigger babies legs are bent in this position but that really shouldn’t be your concern. In the event of a crash, a broken leg is a lot easier to deal with than a broken neck.

Not using the Harness/chest clip correctly
This one absolutely kills me and I see it ALL OF THE TIME! It’s actually the most common of all the mistakes and super dangerous. The straps on a rear-facing safety seat should be at or below your baby's shoulders (they should almost be coming up from underneath the baby rather than above). The chest clip attached to the harness strap should be fastened at armpit level to keep the straps from slipping off your baby's shoulder. The straps should lie flat and untwisted and should be tight enough so that you can't get more than two fingers between the harness and your baby's collarbone. If your baby is not strapped in correctly (and that chest clip is down lower than the armpits), there is significant chance that the baby may be ejected from the seat in the event of a crash. The simple fix is checking to make sure the straps are in the correct place every time you strap him/her in. Try to make it a part of the “getting baby into the car seat routine.”

"Happy Rhone" is demonstrating the correct way to use the harness and chest clips.
"Sad Rhone" is demonstrating the wrong way. (The really funny thing is that these pictures were taken within about 1 minute of each other. My son has crazy mood changes.)

Using head rests/harness strap covers/other crap that didn’t come with the carseat.
Yes, those cute little bear heads that are on harness strap covers are adorable but they really aren’t that safe. Harness strap covers can actually push the chest clip down, so it does not fit properly at armpit level. (See above as to why this is important.)
The only products you should ever add to a car seat are ones made by the same manufacturer as your car seat and have been crash tested with your car seat. Other products not made by the manufacturer (or even made by the same manufacturer but not crash tested), like head rests, harness strap covers, liners for car seat, etc., should not be used. These products may alter the fit of the baby in the car seat and cause unneeded danger in the event of the crash. If your baby slouches to one side in the seat (otherwise known as baby bobblehead syndrome), place rolled-up cloth diapers or rolled hand towels on each side of the shoulders. Again, do not use car seat head supports/rests unless they came manufactured with your seat. (My Britax B Safe has an awesome one built in so we never had an issue with Rhone doing the bobblehead!I also just noticed that it also has built in strap covers as well. Go Britax!) Also, never place any kind of padding or blanket under your baby — this can affect the harness's ability to restrain your little one.

This is an actual ad on Amazon for strap covers. Notice the placement of the chest clip being pushed down by the strap covers. I had some far worse examples that I found on etsy and on Facebook but I didn't want to embarrass them. Seriously, the chest clip was down by the kid's belly button.

If you would like more information on car seat safety, there is some good stuff at these two links: