Thursday, October 02, 2008

Faith & Family: "The Car Seat Culture"

(Hat tip: Creative Minority Report)

Faith & Family discusses a topic that has been the subject of not a few arguments between Sarah and me: how "the car seat culture" punishes large families.

(Sarah thinks the overly-protective car seat and booster seat laws are "worth it"; I think they go too far - we could easily fit another couple of kids in our mini-van if the 4-year-old and 6-year-old weren't in booster seats.)

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At 10/02/2008 1:14 PM, Blogger DP said...

While I haven't read the article and definitely empathize with your space-saving concerns, I'm with your better half. You would get more space, but only temporarily. In our case, the extra space would permit another small kid and would evaporate when they reached seven or eight.

If there were studies showing that there wasn't a measurable difference past a certain age point, I'd be inclined to take your side.

At 10/02/2008 1:36 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

At the risk of airing too much of the family's dirty laundry, when the inability to fit another kid into a vehicle as large as a minivan becomes a factor in determining whether to limit the size of one's family to 4 kids, there's a problem.

You ought to be able to fit more than 4 kids into a frickin' minivan, but booster seats for the older kids makes that impossible.

And I can't afford the $40 grand for something as large as a Suburban (not to mention how much it would cost to keep gasoline in such a gas-guzzling behemoth).

At 10/02/2008 2:05 PM, Anonymous Big Tex said...

Jay, try, this. She gets 5 car seats into the Grand Caravan. I have the same kind of van. I'm taking notes. #4 is due in Dec. The van will probably last a little while longer for #5. We shall see.

At 10/02/2008 2:12 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Thanks, Tex.

It may be that when my 2-year-old is big enough for a booster that we can squeeze all 3 boosters together in the back seat. Which would free up a seat for a baby # 5, should we ever be so blessed.

But 3 boosters in one seat is going to be a tight fit.

At 10/02/2008 2:16 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

We've currently got two boosters in the back and the two carseats in the center captains chairs of our Town & Country -- but if really pressed we could put a car seat and two boosters in the back.

Honestly, though, I think the booster thing gets silly after a bit. We let our six and five year old ride without theirs occasionally (as when they're in daddy's car) and at this point they're always using their boosters without the backs.

I don't get it when families have six and seven year olds in full on car seats. Back in my day...

At 10/02/2008 2:24 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Exactly, Darwin. Under some of these state laws, kids up to 12 years old have to be in booster seats. That's just nuts!

When my 6-year-old turns 7, I'm going to INSIST that he no longer ride in a booster seat.

At 10/02/2008 2:36 PM, Blogger Terry said...

Back in my day...

I stood up in the middle of the front seat; it was the only way I could see. If my dad dynamited the brakes, my mom's left arm became my seatbelt.

And I'm not that old.

At 10/02/2008 2:46 PM, Anonymous Big Tex said...

Yes, back in my day... Heck, I remember the hot vinyl seats in the old '76 Corolla would burn my thighs when I was a kid in those hot, Texas summers. We replaced it in '78. And I was born in '76.

My thought, like Darwin, is this booster thing is getting out of hand.

At 10/02/2008 3:23 PM, Anonymous crankycon said...

Under some of these state laws, kids up to 12 years old have to be in booster seats.

Are you kidding me?!?!? I guess since my first is still just on the way, I hadn't paid attention to such laws. That's preposterous.

At 10/02/2008 3:27 PM, Anonymous crankycon said...

And of course now I had to look up the laws in my area. The age limit is 6 in MD, but it's 8 in VA and DC, and there are no exemptions in the latter two. So if I'm trekking my 7 year old from Silver Spring to DC, I gotta put him in the booster seat as soon as I cross the MD/DC line. Wonderful.

At 10/02/2008 3:32 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

I said: "Under some of these state laws, kids up to 12 years old have to be in booster seats."

Cranky asked: "Are you kidding me?!?!?"

Such laws are generally based on the kid being under a certain weight up until the age of 12. I know Virginia was considering such a law while we lived there. I guess it didn't go anywhere. But 8 years old is still too old to be sitting in a booster if you ask me.

At 10/02/2008 3:34 PM, Anonymous crankycon said...

But 8 years old is still too old to be sitting in a booster if you ask me.

Agreed, especially if my kids are built like their daddy.

At 10/02/2008 4:49 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

"Officer, I'm going to advise you not to ticket my son for not being in a car seat, because other wise he may need to get out of the car and stage a throw down.

Yes, there are some serious carseat nazis out there. I've heard advocacy of "nine or ninety pounds" here in Texas. Bah. That's what I say. (Right now, though, we're still the land of the free: only children under 5 or under 36in have to be in carseats or boosters.)

At 10/02/2008 5:07 PM, Anonymous Big Tex said...

8 yrs or 4'9" in Washington... My son will be 4'9" before he's 8.


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