I think children follow their own interpretation of the theory of relativity. Now that my daughter is almost an adult, what she needs fits into space that is smaller than a discount airline’s carry on: a computer, a smart phone, a debit card, and a coat (but only if I nag her). Contrast this when she was a tiny baby and everything she needed– a play yard, a crib, and car seat– was supersized—at least compared to her. This is because the world is built for adults and to keep children safe, we need to use products that protect kids from harm in the adult-sized world.
A car seat or booster seat is a product that helps to protect kids in vehicles in case there is a crash. Car seats are important to use every ride because even if you think you are the best driver in the world, by definition, that means the person driving in the lane next to you is not. For the first time in over a decade, motor vehicle crash deaths in 2015 were up, probably for a variety of reasons such as more miles driven and distracted driving. You may not be able to prevent a crash if the bozo in the lane next to you is texting and driving, but if your child is optimally restrained in a car seat, you will know that you did what you could to minimize injury.
However, optimally restraining a child in a car seat is sometimes easier said than done. There are many car seats on the market and it is not uncommon to feel unsure or overwhelmed which seat is the best for your child or your type of car. Safe Kids Worldwide provides a useful resource, the Ultimate Car Seat Guide, which offers information on buying and installing a car seat as well as providing advice when it is time to change to the next level of child passenger protection.
Booster seats are the last of the specific child safety products recommended to keep our kids safe in the adult world. I was delighted when my daughter outgrew the need to use a booster seat because the fact is, even though booster seats are critically important, they are a hassle. But now my daughter is driving me around these days and I find myself looking nostalgically back in time. In comparison, watching her drive a 1.5 ton car at 70 mph, booster seats no longer seem such a big deal to me.
It is all relative.
AAA’s generous philanthropic support funds the Child Passenger Safety program at Lurie Children’s to ensure the safety and well-being of Chicago’s children. Learn more about the program here.