I understand that we’re all passionate about safety. And at some point or another, most of us have had to deal with criticism from friends or family members who think we’ve taken this whole car safety thing too far and just gone right off the deep end. Usually, we just brush off these ignorant remarks because deep in our hearts we know that we’re right and obviously they just don’t get it. We’re aware of the fact that MVC’s are the leading cause of death to children in the US and we’re all determined to protect our children to the best of our abilities. That’s our job as parents and caregivers and we all take that responsibility very seriously. I understand that, I really do because I’m right there with ya.
But how are we to know if we’ve really gone too far? Certainly our safety-addicted friends at car-seat.org would never stage an intervention on our behalf. And our spouse would probably rather walk across hot coals than incur our wrath by suggesting that maybe, just maybe, we’re being a bit too extreme.
So, who’s gonna give it to ya straight and tell you when it’s time to chillax? Who’s gonna remind you that you can’t save the world and completely eradicate all injuries to children in MVCs – no matter how desperately you want to? Who’s gonna tell you when it’s time to step away from that vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot because clearly you’re not dealing with an appreciative and open-mined victim?
However, the first step to getting help is to admit that you have a problem. Don’t think you have a problem? Get in line. And while you’re there – take our short survey:
1. Do you find yourself repeatedly trying to talk your sister-in-law into buying a Radian to rear-face your tiny 7-year-old niece who weighs 43 lbs?
2. When you go grocery shopping do you spend 20 minutes thinking about the most appropriate way to secure those projectiles for the ride home?
3. Have you purchased more CRs for other people’s kids than you have for your own children?
4. Have you ever considered gluing sheets of EPS/EPP foam to the rear windows in a vehicle that doesn’t have side curtain airbags?
5. Do you lose sleep thinking about your neighbor’s child who is 4 years old and rides in a backless booster?
6. Do you respond “ABSOLUTELY”, when someone posts an online poll asking whether you would put a small, immature 13-year-old back into a 5-point harness?
7. Have you ever refused to ride the monorail at WDW because you considered it too risky?
8. Do you have anxiety attacks when you see properly restrained forward-facing 2-year-olds?
9. Do you always remember to secure your purse with an available safety belt?
10. On Halloween, do you hand out copies of the 5-Step Test flyer instead of candy? (If you hand it out WITH candy – that doesn’t count as a yes.)
If you answered yes to more than 1 question above - please do yourself a favor and go volunteer some of your time at carseat check events in the lowest, low-income inner-city area you can find within driving distance. If you don’t have any impoverished inner-city areas within driving distance, then a rural, migrant farm worker community will suffice. All kidding aside, these are the types of places where your knowledge, passion and dedication to CPS are desperately, desperately needed. And seeing the frightening reality of how these children ride around every day will really help you to appreciate the beautiful sight of a properly restrained, albeit forward-facing, 2-year-old. Everything in life is relative and a healthy perspective will keep you focused on the bigger picture – and help you avoid going off the deep end in the process.