November 24, 2008

“Go ahead and do it wrong, it’s okay.”

Posted in Baby Talk, Things That Tick Me Off tagged , , , , , , , at 4:41 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

GOOD NEWS: Boogie has officially unwrapped her first birthday and Christmas gifts, which was actually one really huge gift from her Gramma (love my mom, she’s just the awesomest.) She knew that we had saved to buy Princess a great carseat when she was close to outgrowing the seat with the 40 pound weight limit. There was no way in the world I was moving my then-not-quite-four-year-old into a booster, so we splurged on the Britax Marathon, which harnesses your kiddo in until they reach 65 pounds. (At nearly five, Princess is about 42 pounds. I’m guessing this thing will last a while.) Britax has a wonderful reputation for being one of the safest seats on the market, and beyond that, they have some cute covers – hers is pink and yellow and flowery. And according to her, it’s way more comfy than the Evenflo Triumph seat that became her sister’s.

Well, having Boogie in the Triumph was fine for a while. There was, of course, the nagging mommy guilt about having her in a seemingly inferior seat to her sister’s because, after all, I do love her just as much and absolutely want them to be as safe as possible. I’ve considered bubble-wrapping them, except that so much packing surely wouldn’t fit in the carseat, and there’s the chance of asphyxiation and whatnot. So naturally, my thought processes turned to obtaining a Britax seat for Boogie as well – and I fell in love with the brown and pink flowered seat that is exclusive to Target. Only problem? The price tag – $279. Ouch. You obviously can’t put a price on your child’s safety, but it wasn’t so easy to convince my husband, Mr. I Never Rode In A Carseat and Look At Me, I’m Perfectly Fine. (I know, it’s a long name, but it seems to be a family tradition – his father is Mr. Hey Did You Know That Your Baby’s Carseat Is Turned Backward?)

I thought…Christmas. Maybe I can justify it for Christmas. Of course, it would be the only thing that Santa brought her, and her sister would surely wonder why a) she only got one thing and b) it was something as terribly no-fun as a carseat. But then – dum-da-da- DUM! – Gramma to the rescue! Mom offered to buy it for her, so long as it could be a combination birthday (which is in early December) and Christmas gift. Would I mind? Heck NO, I wouldn’t mind! So she bought it, and last weekend she let her unwrap it early. Mr. INRIACALAMIPF was immediately sent outside to install it in my van, and Boogie rode home in more comfort than she’s ever known from a carseat. And it’s darned cute too.

BAD NEWS: Holy wowza, that seat is HUGE! The Evenflo Triumph is notoriously short, and so I wasn’t totally prepared for how much more room the Marathon would take up in the back seat of my van – now, the front passenger seat is sitting completely upright and the back of the carseat still mashes into it. (Which begs the question, HOW do people fit these things rear-facing in the back of a normal car, if it’s this tight in my van?!) I tend to sit pretty straight anyway, but this is still rather uncomfortable. And the seat looks as if it’s tilted just ever so slightly to the right, which doesn’t really fly with me. There’s no question that it’s tight – I make him (you know the one) get into the seat while tightening it. But still, I would feel better having it looked at by a professional – someone who can tell me if it’s inclined correctly, if I need to reconfigure the middle row to make it fit better, what have you.

The problem is – there ARE no professionals around here. Which I suppose is a hazard of living in a middle-of-nowhere tiny little podunk town. But you would think that someone would be trained in evaluating a carseat. The state police department – who used to have someone on staff (I know this because I had them check Princess’s seat a couple of years ago) – no longer has anyone. The lady who I talked to his morning told me that they “just tell parents to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.” Gee, really? I had never thought of that. I resisted the urge to inform her (although I probably should have, perhaps for the greater good) that studies have shown that four out of five carseats are installed incorrectly. Four out of five. Think of your own children, and add in a few friends’ kids to make five, if you don’t currently have five in carseats (and God bless you if you do.) Now think – only one of those children is as safe in their carseat as they should be. Is it yours? What if you have more than one child? What if you have two? Are your children the only two out of ten riding in a properly secured seat? Anal as I am about proper installation, I’m not willing to bet my girls’ lives that they’re two out of ten.

I’ve tried to call the local fire department to see if perhaps they had someone – no answer. Same with the local rescue squad. Searched online for a carseat inspection station – the nearest one is an hour’s drive away.  *sigh*

If I can’t find anyone today, I’ll try the city police, fire and rescue tomorrow. Surely to goodness someone will know something about proper carseat installation. Even if it’s just to look at mine and say “wow, you guys did a really great job installing this one, it’s as secure as Fort Knox”, I want to hear it from a pro. And by gosh, I’m going to find that pro if it’s the last thing I do.

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