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to expect MIL to not take the kids in the car without car seats? Suspect IBU :-/

(16 Posts)
oneofthosedays Thu 11-Aug-11 19:51:17

She looks after DC's (7.5 and 4) for 1 sometimes 2 days a week during school holidays which is something we both decided on (I work and MIL loves taking DC's to see their cousins etc). MIL doesn't drive (neither does FIL), has always used the bus and been happy to do so (uses bus every day for work, shopping, errands etc).

She took the DC's this week to visit a relative about 1/2hr bus ride away and usually stays all day (she does this every week regardless of whether kids are with her or not). DH went to collect DCs from MILs and when they got back they said they had been brought home by Aunty xxx. No car seats used at all (am more concerned re 4yo as 7.5yo is 'only' 20cm less than legal req). MIL didn't mention this to DH and we are both not happy but not sure whether to ask MIL not to do this again as it can be a bit of a bind getting the bus and if the lift was there MIL won't have thought twice about accepting.

Just a bit of background which makes me a bit more miffed about this - MIL has form for getting the kids sweet treats when she is looking after them and asking them to keep it secret from DH and I - DCs usually blab as soon as they see us of course and I've made it clear to MIL (in a nice way I think) that I don't mind the DCs having treats/eating a bit of crap as it's not everyday and they're usually on the go so much that they probably burn it all off anyway.

MIL also looked after our house whilst we were on holiday this year and despite being asked not to bother watering the plants (they would have been fine) as I didn't want MIL turning on the taps in the house (they are all really stiff and due for replacing and she cannot turn them off tight enough) and told her this was the reason - she still did and left one dripping away and also filled the kitchen sink and stood a plant in it - unaware that the plughole is corroded and leaks into cupboard below (which we have a bowl there constantly in case of drips and this was full after MIL did this).

She's lovely and doesn't do things maliciously but I really don't know why she turns round and does the opposite thing the minute our backs are turned and tells the kids to keep secrets from us! The car seat thing pisses me off, total unecessary risk afaic, she knows I'm a stickler for the car seat law and even kept a spare booster when she used to bring DCs cousin to visit just in case we used the car.

OK this turned out to be quite long but would DH bu to have a word with MIL asking her not to do this again even though it causes more aggro for her re travel?

summerfruitsalad Thu 11-Aug-11 20:05:19

She honestly sounds like she doesn't intend to cause you any grief but is maybe more unaware. The tap/sink thing must have been annoying though.

However I think your DH should gently say something along the lines of "the children legally need a car seat, we realise that xxx giving you a lift is much easier than getting the bus but if anything happened in the car the children wouldn't be safe and the driver could end up in serious trouble". I think she needs to be aware you are not happy and it is very dangerous but not in an angry pissed off way.

Re the sweets, my mother (although DS is only 1) thinks it is her duty as a grandmother to fill him full of sweets and 'don't tell mummy' secrets when he's older because that is what grandparents do. I will be dealing with very much the same thing in a few years! It does sound like your kids have a lovely time with their grandparents and some sweets won't hurt smile

Nanny0gg Thu 11-Aug-11 20:15:20

Not in the least unreasonable, and if she disagrees then you'd best make other arrangements.

skybluepearl Thu 11-Aug-11 20:20:34

The easy thing would be to blame the Aunt. Say you are really unhappy that Aunt insisted on giving a lift to the kids without a car seat. Explain how dangerous it is and that it's illegal. Tell her car seats have saved many lives. Tell her you don't want Aunt to give another lift and that if she does then you will need to look into other childcare arrangments as your childrens saftey is the most important thing

acatcalledfelix Thu 11-Aug-11 20:22:48

Not unreasonable at all. Car seat laws aren't there to make life more awkward, they are there to keep our children safe. If she chooses to make that long journey with your kids she needs to accept the only way she can come home is on the bus, or by having spare car seats at the relatives house.
Things like this are non-negotiable. Someone I know was convicted a few years ago after giving a mum a lift home who had a child on her knee, child wriggled off and caused the car to shunt forward into someone else. Noone was hurt, but it was an accident notheless, that could / should have been avoided.

AuntiePickleBottom Thu 11-Aug-11 20:26:40

legally she is not breaking the law.

A child over the age of 3 can travel without a carseat

When your child can travel without a car seat
There are a few circumstances where your child can travel without a car seat if one isn't available.
Taxis and private hire vehicles (minicabs)

In a licensed taxi or licensed private hire vehicle (minicab), children aged:

•under three can travel without a child's car seat or seat belt, but only on the rear seat

•three years or older can travel without a child's car seat but they must wear an adult seat belt

littleducks Thu 11-Aug-11 20:28:45

I was just going to post the above

WilsonFrickett Thu 11-Aug-11 20:29:57

She is breaking the law, unless she is operating a private hire vehicle. But the Aunt might not actually know she is breaking the law as it changed fairly recently for older kids. I would make sure she and MIL know it is illegal rather than a requirement you have made, IYSWIM.

I think the other stuff is just MIL/DGP stuff to be honest - grin and bear it!

neddle Thu 11-Aug-11 20:46:23

Just because it's legal, doesn't make it safe or desirable.

Your kids, your rules.

Glitterandglue Thu 11-Aug-11 20:50:42

The only problem you might come into when trying to explain it is that she'll say, "They never have car seats on the bus and it's never been a problem," which is true. It's a bit weird how no one really ever thinks about the danger of everybody travelling unrestrained on a bus but these days most people with kids are very on the ball about car seats (and very few people would dream of not using a seatbelt themselves). You'll have to come up with some response for that - suggest pushing the legality aspect like you're trying to keep the driver out of trouble, also maybe that cars are likely to travel faster and nip into spaces buses wouldn't so more likely to get into a collision? Not sure.

thisisyesterday Thu 11-Aug-11 20:54:38

does the aunt have car seats she could have used?

if not, and it's something they may be doing in future then i would buy 2 highback boosters to keep there so they can use them

just say that you'd really prefer if they were in car seats, here are 2 you can use if they ever need to go in the car again.

thisisyesterday Thu 11-Aug-11 20:55:52

with the bus argument i think you can say that buses don't tend to travel as fasr, they're less likely to have an accident unless you live in crawley and if they do have an accident people are far less likely to be injured because the impact will be lessened because it's a bloody great bus

oneofthosedays Thu 11-Aug-11 21:02:36

The other stuff really is just minor gripes and I would never have a go at MIL for this, it's kind of just the way she is and I'm really not bothered about sweets and treats I just wish she would realise that I'm not fussed about it and not encourage the kids to lie/keep secrets. The plants thing was that she saw them drooping and didn't want them to die, she didn't quite get the message that I would rather them die than have a flood damaged house to go back to smile but thankfully it all worked out ok.

Think I'm going to ask DH to let her know we're not happy and that if for whatever reason she doesn't feel up to getting the bus she needs to ring/text me (as I'm usually finished at work by then) and I will come and get them and her rather than have them go without car seats. I know she can feel tuckered out entertaining DCs and their cousin(s) all day, and that in her day they thought nothing of going without seatbelts, having kids on knees, wrapping seatbelts round two etc.

ChaoticAngeltheInnocentOne Thu 11-Aug-11 21:15:20

YANBU wrt car seats.

I'd have a word about keeping secrets too. Children shouldn't be encouraged to keep secrets from their parents.

oneofthosedays Thu 11-Aug-11 21:32:38

I agree re secrets - DH agrees that if they are being encouraged to keep little secrets like that what will happen if someone asks them to keep a more serious secret i.e abuse etc - that may seem far fetched but these things do happen don't they?

WilsonFrickett Thu 11-Aug-11 22:20:24

We talk a lot about secrets. (DS has SN.) Basically, we say it's OK to have a nice secret (like what you are getting mummy for her birthday) but you should never, ever keep a secret that makes you feel bad in your tummy. (Clearly, that's simplified language for DS' communication issues, but it's still a conversation that's worth having for just these circumstances.)

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