As a couple, my husband and I are in the interesting position that when we are with our friends, we are the only parents in the room, more often than not. Our circle is made up of an interesting combination of non-parents (those who do not want children) and pre-parents (those who are not yet ready to have children, for whatever reason). And our kids are like the Royal Family – they have an army of godparents, none of whom are parents themselves. This position has really brought home the lack of education around car seats for me.
So, let’s talk about EVERYBODY ELSE. Let’s talk about non-parents, pre-parents, godparents, grandparents and bonus parents and the effort we put into educating them on car seats.
As parents and pre-parents, we learn everything we can from parenting forums, facebook groups, pre-natal classes, books and OTHER PARENTS. I remember all the time I spent on the various sites I deemed trustworthy – NHS, WHO, Baby Centre. And guess what? None of them told me anything about car seats. For that, I had to do special searches and everything I found was American. And I’ll be straight with you, I’m one of the lucky few, I knew to do my homework. Purely due to having a husband who does slightly extreme sports – so the first question in our house is always safety.
What quickly became apparent in our search for a good seat and the next seat up, is that the people selling the seats, are not really clued up on car seat safety as a whole and I had nobody else to ask, so to the internet I went and we did the best we could.
Due to the army of aforementioned godparents, we spend a lot of time demonstrating our carseats, running through the do’s and don’ts, and inevitably, explaining the whys. Every time a question gets lobbed our way – why is Storm still rearfacing? When will we turn her around? Isn’t she bored? Surely Claws is big enough for the next seat? Why are you pulling that so tight? Shame, they’re freezing, why did you take their jackets off? – I am reminded how unprepared we were. I am reminded of the pre-parents fantasising about Mom proudly sitting in back with her new bundle in her arms. I am reminded of the “to-buy” lists I downloaded that never included a seat. I am reminded of the financial shock it was to have to buy them, because we were not prepared.
I see people advocate multi-stage seats everyday on parenting forums, saying how these save you so much money and I cringe, because parenting is SUPER expensive and saving is important, but also because we start budgeting for nappies and medical and school the day we go off our contraceptives, but we never consider the cost of safety. And single stage seats are, simply safer. And there’s nobody talking to prospective parents, or any non-parents – about car seats.
I got lucky, I came from a research background, I had informed in-laws and my husband is safety mad. And then I stumbled into CarseatFullstop and could adjust my actions before they were a problem. But as with all things parenting, car seat safety takes a village. It is upto us as parents to educate and inform the pre-parents, godparents, non-parents and grandparents in our circle. So next time you’re telling that sweet young couple who looks like they’re thinking about it, about how freaking much giving birth cost you (you’ve done it, we both know you have), stop, they’ve heard it already. Try this on for size. “You know what I struggled with? Carseat info. Can I share a great resource with you?”
And if you do find yourself strapping your greatest treasure in while chatting to someone who might someday drive your and/or their own child around, take the moment to do a free demo on car seat safety – it could save a life.
CarseatFullstop. Every Child. Every Time. No Matter What.