18 Apr 2012

Buckle up

This is one of those posts when I get all hot and bothered so please be forewarned.

Why is it that in a country where State Governments runs somethings and the Federal Government runs other things something as critically important as child safety is left to the States to mandate individually. Some of them do it very well but others not so much. I just can't get my head around this. For example: in the State of Florida the law requires a child under the age of 3 to be restrained in a car seat. That's it. Under the age of three. So if you have a small child and a very irresponsible parent the day the kids turns 3 and one day she/he can be allowed to sit in a seat belt. Are you kidding me.

Now of course the American Association of Pediatricians, and National Safety Institute, Safe Kids USA and a plethora of other sane establishments offer guidelines but I think this should be set in stone at the federal level. I know many people would disagree and cry, big brother big brother but this is the safety of our children. Is there anything more important than that?

Lily remained in a booster seat until 2 weeks prior to her 9th birthday. She was the only child in her class. Most of the kids iin her class hadn't been in them for years but she felt safer that way and it wasn't an option as far as I was concerned. I wish she were still in it now especially after this weekend.

On Saturday our neighbour and her classmate, I'll call him Joey, was in a nasty car accident with his family.  When we returned home from the swim meet we saw the car in their driveway and it scared me. I wasn't sure that everyone made it out Ok. When Jacob saw it he said the same thing. For the record it was a new Accord. The front end was gone....gone. We chose to leave a card on their front door letting them know were we here if they needed anything at all. Monday marked the kick off of FCAT week for Lily's school. Joey wasn't there. The class was told by the teacher that he was absent due to head trauma he sustained in a car accident over the weekend. Lily was upset. On Tuesday she asked if she could go to his house and ask his mum if he was OK. She went and came back a few minutes later looking shaken.

Joeys Mum, his sister and Joey came too. She thanked us for the card and explained what happened. Someone ran a red light and hit them. The adults were wearing seatbelts, Joey's sister was in a car seat and joey was in a seat belt in the back. The impact was head on for them, but it made Joey fly about, even in a seat belt and he hit his head against the door a couple of times. The paramedic that loaded him on to the stretcher told his mum, "I never tell people what to do but THIS is the reason why my 9 yr old is still in a booster. He hates it because his friends make fun of him". Joey sustained the worst of the injuries out of all them. Luckily he will be fine. His black eye will heal, it will open again. The enormous bump on the side of his head will go down and all the bruising will fade. The catscans show that the double vision that he has now is caused by the swelling behind his eye and it "should" go away soon but more cat scans are to happen tomorrow.

Joey is 10, he turned 10 the day after the accident! Can you imagine if he was 3 and only in a seatbelt. I can't imagine that anyone would be that stupid but I bet some would. I spent last night researching booster seat laws worldwide and they are all over the place. Cars get safer very single year for adults but not much safer for kids. I almost went out and bought a new seat for Lily today but I measured her and she fits perfectly into the seat, so why don't I feel any better about it?

Something needs to be done. The statistics on kids being killed in traffic accidents are staggering. It isn't up to the government to keep us safe it is up to us but many people wouldn't wear seatbelts if they weren't the law so I think it would help. Life changes in an instant.

I always drag my boosters with me WHEREVER we travel. I don't give a monkeys what anyone says. I know that they are the safest ones on the market and yes it's a pain in the backside dragging them through airports and lugging them hither and yon but really, it's worth it to me.


val said...

Having been in a head-on collision where we were hit twice in the same accident I can agree with everything 100 percent. The only thing that saved everyone was seat belts & airbags, A little girl was in a child seat in the other car & only suffered a split lip. Here in New York our guidelines for children are much stricter.

Vivian M said...

Better safe than sorry. I am living proof that seat belts save lives - as bad as my injuries were, I would not be here today if I wasn't wearing one.

Catherine said...

I agree with you 100%! I'm often shocked by how lax the FL laws are.

Here in Ontario a child must be in a booster until they are 8yo. I am SO thankful for that. Because of this I'm now saving to purchase a Britax Frontier with a 5pt harness for Hannah as she will be in the harness for a few years and the seat for 5.

Praying 'Joey' heals well. A difficult but important lesson for your girls to learn.

Tammie said...

Erin's been out of the car seat since the start of this year for trips around town. On trips over 30 minutes she has to sit on the booster.

Now? She's going right back in.

I hope that Joey recovers soon!


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