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Parents not having car seats for their children

(364 Posts)
bicyclefish Fri 27-Sep-13 15:50:25

The other day I came out of the supermarket and saw a couple getting into their car with the lady in the back seat strapped in with a CHILD on her lap (less than a 2 year old) and a slightly older child (maybe 4 or 5 ) strapped in but with no child seat or even a booster. I went across to them and told them in what was probably an overly abrupt manner that they should under no circumstances do what they were doing and that i was taking his number down and reporting him. He told me to F off and that he was 'only going up the road anyway'. Oh right thats ok then, accidents never happen on the short trip back from the supermarket... ahem..a little wound up by his lack of care for the people in his care i then told him that if he got back into his car and tried to drive away i would physically stand in front of it and sue him for assault if he drove into me... I know, i know..
upshot is, he got the family back out and went home and got the car seats that they did actually own but didn't see fit to put into the car..FFS
AIBU or should i have minded my own business?

bicyclefish Mon 30-Sep-13 17:18:24

Theodorakiss - it doesn't win an argument, it simply makes you look petty, but it is something that one poster assumed was relevent to raise.
Yep, relevent.
wink

bicyclefish Mon 30-Sep-13 17:18:50

Theodorakiss - by "you" i mean, of course "one" not you specifically.

Well, in your OP you said that the older child and the adult were both strapped in. Which means they were doing something, better than nothing. (it is unquestionably better to have a seatbelt of some sort)

Seatbelt is better than nothing.
Car seat is better than seat belt.
Rearfacing car seat is better than forward-facing (and that has definitely been proven in studies, they definitely reduce fatalities)

So it's not quite so black and white.

I'm not evangelical about rearfacing car seats, and have never mentioned it to anyone else, but it's not beyond reason that someone might have a go at you for doing less than you could to ensure your children's safety. And you'd (justifiably) think they should mind their own. ..

bicyclefish Mon 30-Sep-13 17:29:00

heartisaspade - you're right, that scenario could happen and if it did, i would probably agree as i agree with you now. The difference comes in the fact that i wouldn't be breaking the law in strapping my children into a car seat, but be NOT doing so, these guys were breaking the law, but before they usual suspect jump on the whole 'you are not the car seat police' train it's really not the law i am concerned for its the fact that parents who are not ignorant of the benefits of having a car seat/booster for their children still still feel that is it their right to do as they wish with their children instead of doing what they should FOR the children. Being a parent is NOT a right, it is a privilege that too many take for granted

Crowler Mon 30-Sep-13 17:31:39

As said, it's ridiculous to say they had done nothing to ensure their children's safety. Safety is a spectrum. That's what people are trying to explain to you, to no avail.

Just as sure as you are more cautious in this one particular way than these parents you write of, you are certainly less cautious in other ways to other parents; and how would you feel if they tried to physically prevent you from carrying on with your activities?

bicyclefish Mon 30-Sep-13 17:34:00

Crowler - they didn't do all THEY could though did they?
they didnt bother to get their lazy arses into the hall/shed/loft/whatever to get the car seats until someone shamed them into doing so..
If you really want to applaud them for doing a half arsed job, you go right ahead

bicyclefish Mon 30-Sep-13 17:35:13

and FYI, i din't get physical at all, i simply stood my ground. Lets not skew the facts to fit the arguement.

Crowler Mon 30-Sep-13 17:36:31

Do you always do ALL that you can do?

For example, how would you feel if some "clean diet" person saw you feeding your child high fructose corn syrup and said "You are increasing your child's risk for diabetes by 30%! I am not going to allow you to give your child this food, I shall stand between the two of you to prevent it!!"

bicyclefish Mon 30-Sep-13 17:45:18

Crowler - It's a question of perspective i guess, as well as legality.
None of us can claim to be a perfect parent, heck some of the posters here are with a very strong opinion are not even parents at ALL, but we do what we can.
I don't really find the too comparable to be honest and I don't think that will ever happen, not least because I don't feed my kids that shite anyway, but thats a totally different argument to be honest.
One 'portion' of HFCS does not have a chance of putting my DC at serious risk, however one trip in a car without the correct restraint does.

colleysmill Mon 30-Sep-13 18:02:39

Ah right so is the crux of the matter that anyone who doesn't use a carseat, even if the law doesn't require it in their particular circumstance, is not being a responsible parent?

Crowler Mon 30-Sep-13 18:02:51

They're both infinitesimally small risks taken as single events.

bicyclefish Mon 30-Sep-13 18:03:37

ok i'm off home to put my DC's to bed. It's been an interesting day and i hope to see you all here tomorrow.
Have a pleasant evening one and all...
wine

friday16 Mon 30-Sep-13 18:07:23

surely you're not saying that you think car seats have NOT reduced child death rates in cars, are you?

I genuinely don't know. Have child fatalities over the past few years reduced faster than adult fatalities? Adults are dying on the roads at about half the rate they were a decade ago, and the drop has continued long, long after seat belts were made compulsory. Adult seatbelt compliance is high, and has been for a generation (you certainly see far fewer people on the roads not wearing seatbelts than you do children not correctly restrained). There are a huge slew of factors: cars are massively safer than they were both actively (ABS, stability control, modern tyres and suspension; compare with a Ford Anglia with crossply tyres, drum brakes, beam axles, friction dampers, etc) and passively (airbags, seatbelts, crumple zones, door bars, etc). But also rates of drink driving are lower, speed enforcement is better, young men are being priced off the road, the driving test has become massively harder than it was, road design has improved. Somewhere in there, something's reducing death tolls. Your PhD is assured if you can figure out what.

It's also interesting that there's been extensive research into risk homeostasis for seatbelts, but none for child seats. If people think they and their children are safer, do they drive more recklessly to "use up" the improved margin? There's some evidence that's true for seat belts, and anecdotal evidence that ABS has had a similar effect.

A related issue, cycling helmets, is incredibly nuanced, and what seems "obvious" is in fact nothing like obvious. Child seats definitely reduce the effect on a child of the accident once the accident has started. It's unlikely they do any harm. It's likely they do good. As to if they are overall the, or even a, reason why mortality rates on the roads are reducing is an excellent research topic.

FWIW, I had my kids in rear-facing seats until they were too old to use them, but I use trains wherever possible.

Friday will reply properly when not watching Breaking Bad finale, but thank you for the most informed & interesting response I think I've ever had on here.

I do love a bit of expertise grin

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