New guidelines for infants a good idea?
Published: Sunday, October 2, 2011
Updated: Sunday, October 2, 2011 16:10
The American Academy for Pediatrics just released its new guidelines for infant and toddler car safety restraints, and many parents are not ecstatic. And for once, I cannot blame them.
For any new parent, the hospital trip home with "precious cargo" on board is by far the most serious and nerve-racking adventure. I once had a friend explain to me that not only did she drive "grandma slow" on her first trip home, but she found herself enraged and wanting to scream at other drivers' stupidity.
"I have my baby in this car!"
Nowadays, most hospitals insist that the car seat is physically brought to the ward for inspection before getting discharged. A failed infant seat does not make a failed parent, but definitely makes for a frustrated and confused one.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the recommended guidelines have not only changed the age group but continued the longevity for the rear-facing car rule. Although not a legal requirement, it is highly advised.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that children ride in rear-facing car seats until at least age 2 — up from the previous minimum age of 1 — Internet news sites lit up with outrage. Many parents were hardly eager to embrace the latest medical advice about how to best protect toddlers from serious head, neck and spinal injuries."
So I ask myself, why all the outrage? Why are parents blogging and rumbling about a simple seat? I mean, they already have the item. It isn't as if they have to go buy a new one. It turns out their dislike is more concerned with manufactured design and child discomfort rather than general parenting skills.
If they are to obey the new guidelines, there's a slight problem with original car seat design. The seats were originally designed for children to be placed backward until age 1; with one more extended year, that child has now grown. Where do we put their legs and little feet? Out the window? Now, I'm really seeing a parent's side of the story; this new guideline has just placed a "diaper" on all future road trips. Let's face it: a screaming infant is enough to try anybody's patience, but a screaming infant who's cramped is an added stressor for the driver.
As any concerned parent would tell you, they worry about their child's safety "all the time," and that's not limited to the asphalt and freeways. Other drivers are also factored into that equation, too.
According to the National Highway and Safety Administration, crashes are the leading cause of death for children from 3 to 14 years old. Also, an estimated 8,959 lives were saved by child restraints from 1975 to 2008.
Most parents already have the child safety installation down to a fine art; however, not every car is the same, and not every child weighs the same. I think the message might have been lost in translation. The NHTSA has an online list of local technicians to check your car seat. These technicians are zip-code friendly and more than willing to supply that second "piece of mind."