by Andrea Stainbrook
In a snap things change forever.
Let’s get some candy on the way to the movies. It’s a relaxing family day so seeing a new movie with a bucket of popcorn overflowing, ice slushies, and candy sounds just right. We snag our favorites hop in the car and head towards the movie theater. One left turn. The car turns left, headlights glare, a horn honks, then BANG!
First thought: What happened? Is everyone alright? I look back at the kids. They are OK. Second thought: Thank heavens I know my kids were in the best car seats for them and appropriately. We are safe. Just minor bumps and bruises. Mainly scared and anxious about what just happened. To be clear our accident wasn’t as severe as many are. But it was severe enough to see the importance of all the safety features.
We continue to relive the accident. Every day the anxiety lessens a bit. The accident is good for my children. How so? Lydia, my oldest, so badly wanted to just sit on the seat with no booster. She recently switched to a small seat adjuster. Now she wishes she could be the right size for a five point harness high back booster again. We all see how vulnerable we all were in that moment.
I am fortunate. I work with and am friends with a CPST, Child Passenger Safety Technician. Dana Lange, who is on our Metro Detroit Doula Services team, has helped me through every car seat purchase and placement. Dana has said, “I hope your car seat is a waste of money.” Meaning she hopes you are never in an instance to need one but she wants you to use them correctly for those moments that they are needed. Thank goodness for car seats! Our youngest in the high back 5 point harness booster was the least injured. Those car seats do their job. My kids are 8.5 and 5.5. These ages are less educated on appropriate seating than infants believe it or not. I feel like many parents I know are always wondering:
When can my child switch to a booster seat?
Is my child ready for just a seat belt?
What is the best brand?
Check out these graphics Dana created to answer your questions.
Safety does not have to mean the most expensive brand on the market. Choose your budget, then choose the car seat that is needed for your child at the stage they are in that fits within that budget. Remember that your child’s height and weight matter more than their age. Also keep in mind that your child will likely be in a booster until ages 10-12.
Dana’s tips for when to use a booster:
- If your child has a long torso, a higher height limit seat is good based on shoulder slots.
- If you’re moving it between vehicles often, choose one that you can quickly and easily install properly. Maybe take the weight of the seat into consideration as well.
Car accidents are scary. Taking comfort in having us all secured the best we knew how brings me some peace. If you are not sure what your children need, where to begin, or would like a car seat/booster check give us a call. Dana will come to your home and guide you.