California is changing their car seat laws as of January 1, 2012 to include that children must use a car seat until 8 years old or 4-feet-9 inches tall which is up from the current requirement of 6 years or 60 lbs! We say – HOORAY, California!! Way to keep our kids safer!! We are glad they are making the requirement older and taller to at least encourage all those parents that think it’s okay to let our little precious children (yes, they are precious even between ages 6-8!) ride in a vehicle without a car seat.
Am I judging those parents for taking them out of a car seat too soon? You betcha! It’s safety, people! And don’t even get me started on a 5-point harness until age 8. That would be MY law! How fitting that this article just came out today because I was just chastised last week for posting a photo of my 8 year old niece in a 5 point harness, high-weight car seat on Facebook. Many parents said it was ridiculous and humiliating to have a child that old in a 5-point harness. Not in MY car! My 6 1/2 year old rides in a 5-point harness and will until AT LEAST age 8. And you know what? She’s okay with it. She doesn’t know any better. She has always been in a 5 point harness in my car. Sure, she sees her friends in boosters, nothing at all (gasp!) or even in the front seat (makes me want to throw up!) but she knows it’s safest in her car seat. She doesn’t feel humiliated. She feels smart because it is safest.
The Wall Street Journal didn’t take the same approach. They decided to take the angle for their article that the kids are upset and putting them in car seats over the age of 6 is just cruel. Really, Wall Street Journal?!? You fail to state all the safety benefits for keeping a child in a car seat as long as possible but let’s dwell on the fact that a 7 year old is mad. Boo-freaking-hoo! You know, 7 year old kids get mad over a lot. Take away Spongebob…make them go to bed…make them do their homework…all these things can make them mad. So what? Kids can get mad but parents should do what is in their best interest. Car seats until they are at least 8 ARE IN THEIR BEST INTEREST!! Yep, I’m judging again! Plus, when all the 7-8 year olds hop back into car seats – they can all be mad together.
Yes, the Wall Street Journal writer stated:
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children not leave a booster seat until they are 4-feet-9 inches tall—when it says kids are tall enough for seat belts to fit comfortably across lap and shoulder—or between the ages of 8 to 12. “
That is about the extent of the article getting into the safety benefits of car seats as long as possible. Why not encourage parents to use car seats longer? Why not tell parents that according to SafeKids.org that “Children seated in a booster seat in the rear of the car are 45% less likely to be injured in a crash as compared to those using a seat belt alone”? They left out that The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “seat belts are made for adults”.
Most kids (unless your 7 year old is the size of a 12 year old!) need that booster to raise them up so that the seat belt properly fits them to keep them safer if a crash were to occur. I’m just very disappointed that the Wall Street Journal writer decided to make car seats for older children look like humiliating, torture devices instead of encouraging parents to make the right decision and keep their kids in car seats as long as possible. (I do love that the little 6 year old in the article’s picture is in full footed pajamas yet is pouting in the car seat. Very fitting if you ask me!)
You can read the full article in the Wall Street Journal HERE.
What do you think about the article? Are we totally overreacting? Or are we spot-on with our disappointment?