What's Your Soapbox?

Part of the reason why I started blogging was to be able to share my opinion about various topics that are important to me. I think it's interesting as I read to see what people are passionate about. It seems like I had seen a meme going around inviting people to step up on their soapbox and rant about a pet issue, but I can't find it. I thought it was a little interesting, since I figured that that was what blogging was supposed to be about: getting on your soapbox.

Since having kids, I've really become passionate about car seat use and car safety. I'm not sure why this is, exactly, but I guess it's just because there are clear-cut rules that people should follow, and I'm all about following the rules. I also think it's so sad that many kids each year die in car accidents because they're not properly restrained. Did you know that car accidents are the leading cause of death for children? A few weeks ago there was an accident in Provo in which a mom lost two of her children because they were not properly restrained in the car.

Now that we got our new car we've finally taken the harness off S-Boogie's seat and let her use it as a booster. She's been anxious to do that for a while, but I'm a stickler about the weight requirements and she's pretty lightweight. Now she finally weighs 40 pounds, plus our car has LATCH so we could actually attach the seat to the car. Unattached boosters make me nervous. I'm honestly nervous now that she's in a seat belt, because a harness really is safer. As someone pointed out in an article I read, each step up in car seat use (rear to front-facing, harness to booster) is a step-down in safety, so we shouldn't be too anxious to move our kids up ahead of schedule. I'll also admit that one of my pet peeves is when I see people hauling their kids around in infant seats that are either too small or too old. Move your kid to a rear-facing convertible seat when they are getting too big. If you are getting rid of your carseat, cut the straps and then recycle the plastic parts. Most thrift stores won't take used car seats, and I think that's smart. Old seats are dangerous.

Since I'm a chicken, I don't usually tell people what I think about their car seat habits. I have actually considered becoming a certified safety tech, just so I can get this impulse to judge others out of my system in a healthy way. If you want more information about safety, check out this site. Whew! Now I'm getting off my soapbox, so it's your turn to let it all out.


Emma said…
I don't know if I have a soap box. I don't usually realize I am passionate about something until someone else brings it up and I completely agree (or disagree).

I am with you on the car safety thing. It bugs be so much when I see a too young child turned around, or a young child in the front seat (I'm talking 4 and 6 year olds, not almost 12 year olds). My brother thought it was ridiculous that I made it sit in the back until he was 13. David is in a booster seat with a strap that sets the shoulder belt at the right position, but it scares me when he starts slouching, or moving the seat belt around. Timothy will be 4 in about three weeks and is well above the weight requirement for a booster seat. However I don't see any reason to get him a new seat, or even stop using the 5 point harness (as opposed to using the shoulder/lap beat every time), if he still fits in it.
My kids grow out of their infant seats quickly (6 and 4 months) so I also have a convertible carseat. Yes I have 2 kids and 4 carseats. I had to replace my infant seat with Timothy (I love Graco - who replaced it for free when the handle wouldn't lock in place after being in storage for 1 1/2 years), so it will still be good for this baby, but after that it will probably need to be replaced.
Wow, like I said I didn't think I had a lot to say until I started writing. I love blogs for that reason too. They make me think about what is important to me and introduces new perspectives and theories. Thanks for letting me join you on your soap box.
Jenny said…
We were in provo canyon at Vivian Park while the people from that accident were getting airlifted out, waiting for them to open the canyon.

This is an issue I have also. My husband went to traffic school in May and the police officer wrongly explained car seat safety (he said that all kids have to be in a 5 pt harness till 5, and then in a booster from 5-8). I was so irritated that a freaking cop didn't know his own dang laws.

I also love it that parents will move their children out of carseats too early because another kid needs it. Way to share the love.

I have tons of soapboxes. Saving seats, standing ovations in Utah, car seat safety and smoking in confined spaces with children are my big ones.
Julie said…
Car seat stickler, I would never guessed. I actually saw a news report about a study that was done comparing booster safety to just being in the car with a car seat. After a certain point (weight/height whatever, and I can't tell you what that point was,) the study found that a booster seat was no benefit. I tend to go by age requirements, other wise my 8 year old would still be in a car seat. I'm all for safety, but I think some of the recommendations are extreme.
amyjane said…
Ooh, me too! I'm constantly shreiking to my husband about other people's poor carseat judgement. I get especially annoyed by the 18 month old kid with legs hanging off the end of the infant seat thing. Seriously, who even wants to carry a kid that big around in the seat anyway?
My best bet is that I clean the carseats every few months and while the covers are in the wash, I make a point of pulling out the owner's manuals and reviewing the height and weight mins and maxs, along with where the straps should sit for that specific kid right now. I'm totally anal about it.
Also, when it comes to the age thing, I have to disagree--being a certain age doesn't make you safe without a seat. It's being the right size. I have a tiny sister who went to school every day of the 5th grade in a booster seat. Embarassing, maybe, but she was under 60 lbs and wouldn't be safe without it.
People talking during movies in the theater as if it were their living room. People talking on cell phones while driving. People keeping their babies and little kids up late frequently because they don't want their own schedule messed up. Parents taking little kids to movies with adult content (and not just rated R movies).
Oh yeah, and the commercialization of "go green". What a crock. (Not the underlying principle of taking care of the environment, but the ridiculousness of things like stupid T-shirts saying "Going green is hot" and all that other junk.)
FoxyJ said…
I definitely agree that the laws could be better worded and better advertised. The age thing is hard, because sometimes I think they should just go by weight, but bone structure does change as kids age. I think the age 4 for booster seats is also a maturity thing, since you can't really trust a 2 yr old to stay sitting in a seat belt and not take it off.


You totally got me with the movies thing! We were trying to find a present for Little Dude, and I was so sad that the boy aisle is all toys related to PG-13 movies like Spiderman or Pirates. No way my kid is seeing those until he's at least 11 or so, and by then he won't want to play with the toys anymore. I'm really conservative with movies and S-Boogie has actually seen very few Disney movies because I don't like the content there either. Mr. Fob is really into comics, so the kids actually do have some action figures of Superman, as well as their costumes. But they don't get to watch the movies!
FoxyJ said…
Like someone wisely pointed out, one of the best ways to "be green" and save the environment is to buy less stuff. Advertisers won't tell you that though...
AzĂșcar said…
My husband is a little annoyed I won't move the toddler's seat to front-facing. Why? Like you said, every 'step-up' is a total step down in safety. As far as I'm concerned, he can stay rear-facing until he's 2. I read that it's actually SAFER for their knees to be folded against the seat than to have them facing forward.

I can't wait until we have a newer car, one with LATCH, or with seatbelts that retract properly (sigh.)

I have a lot of soapboxes...lots.
Lady Steed said…
foxy: I think you should become a certified safety tech. If you do I will let you inspect our car seats.

Thanks for telling me what to do with old car seats. I would never have thought of recycling the plastic parts or cutting the straps. Even though it seems wasteful it's more important that children are safe.

As for my soapbox...hmmmm....probably more than I need.
FoxyJ said…
Lady Steed--You should actually check to make sure that your city recycles the plastic. I know that Seattle does, but we have a pretty extensive system here. If you do have to throw it away, cut the straps so no one steals it from the trash. Most seats come with an expiration date somewhere on them now---generally after about 10 years the plastic starts to age and isn't safe. Also, newer technology has upgraded and so you want things like a 5-point harness instead of a 3-point one.
Courtney said…
I'm so glad the Utah County health department has car seat safety checks. We took ours in to have them install it the day before I was induced. It really bugs me when I see kids in their car seats without the straps tight enough.
As far as my car seat goes, the plastic is good for 6 years. I didn't even know that was an issue until we took it in to get checked.
FoxyJ, you're the one who pointed out to me how important it is to get a new car seat and not risk getting a used one. I hadn't even thought about that until you pointed it out, and I'm glad you did!
Elizabeth-W said…
I have a million soapboxes. But I'll tell you my 4 year old's. She reallllly wants out of her high backed booster that has buckles and such, and wants to move to the kind that just uses the car's seat belt. Unfortunately she's a midget (not really) and only weighs about 36 lbs after breakfast and sopping wet. She'll be 5 the 4th of July and when we went to the pediatrician, I made her break the news to my poor child that she was going to have to wait a bit longer to get to a seat like her sister's.
And congrats on 3 years of blogging!
Lindsay said…
I'm totally counting the days until Garrett's first birthday. He meets the weight requirement for forward facing, but not the age one yet. Close, but not quite. The thing that's hard for us is, he's outgrown his infant seat, which was totally a piece of cake to install in someone else's car whenever we happened to be in a car, but his new convertible seat is next to impossible to install rear facing -- definitely not something I can do quickly when my friend gives us a ride to Costco. Forward facing is a million times easier to install, but I hesitate to jump the gun of his first birthday. I tell you...car seats are great, but they are a pain in the neck when you don't own a car. We've got the kid so we need the car seat, but we have to lug it with us whenever we go somewhere (like the times we take a train to visit relatives...try lugging a baby, his stroller, luggage, AND a carseat up and down crowded subway stairs!). I'm all for safety, but this car-less method gets annoying.
FoxyJ said…
Lindsay--you're right. Moving around car seats is so annoying! I love S-Boogie's seat, but I think I might get a smaller booster instead because her seat is so big and heavy. We'll see. We actually bought a special bag/backpack that our convertible seat fits in for airplane trips. It lets you wear the seat on your back in the airport and makes things a lot easier. You might want to look into that. href="http://www.amazon.com/2%252din%252d1-Car-Seat-Cover%2591n-Carry/dp/B0000789TK/ref=pd_bbs_sr_6?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1213023252&sr=8-6"This one is the one we have, but it's definitely a little cheap and has started to wear out. If you're using it more than a few times a year you might want to get a slightly better one.
FoxyJ said…
Um, let's try that link again:

Carseat Cover
Lindsay said…
We actually just bought a back-pack car seat carrier. The one we ended up with is padded, though, but doesn't have wheels. Here's hoping it works. Our first venture out with it is in 2 weeks for a train/car ride to Massachusetts.
FoxyJ said…
Lindsay--good luck with your new backpack. I've really liked having mine, even though it's kind of awkward to wear it in the airport. Saves your hands for more important stuff. S-Boogie's school bus had built-in carseats, and I wish that planes and trains came with them. It would be so nice!

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