As a friend blew out the candles on her sixth birthday, she said, “No more booster seat!” “That’s right!” her parents said, as they scooped the mango ice cream and cut the Hawaiian-scene cake adorned with flip-flop candles.
This started a big discussion at my house. My 6-year-old (who is nine days older than her friend) is still using her LATCH car seat with the five-point harness.
State law says that children may not be transported upon a highway in a motor vehicle without properly securing them in a rear seat in child passenger restraint systems meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards unless they're 6 years old or 60 pounds. Indecipherable writing aside, what is that, a triple negative? This law is baffling to me. Kids come in all sizes, so what does age have to do with it? (It would make a bit more sense if the law said “six and 60” to preclude those really big 2-year-olds who weigh 60 pounds but don’t have the same bone and muscle development as older kids.
Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics earlier this year issued new guidelines for car safety seats. They recommend children stay in their forward-facing car safety seats until they reach the weight or height limits of the seat. Then it recommended children use “a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.” It also changed the recommendations for infants and toddlers, but I won’t go into that, because I don’t think there’s much debate about using adult seat belts on 3-month-olds.
My 6-year-old just had a growth spurt; now she weighs 37 pounds and is 42 inches tall. I’m thinking it’s going to be awhile before she graduates to a booster seat. At that point, she’d better pick out one that has a nice neutral design in a machine-washable fabric, because she’s probably going to be sitting in that thing until she’s in high school.
My husband thinks I’m overprotective and paranoid, but I’m OK with that.
What about you? How Long Should Kids Ride in Booster Seats?
Chigiy Binell’s question last week, “Why Should Kids Have Cellphones?” is also a hot topic at our house. Here are some comments from last week:
I begrudgingly bought my sons mobile phones in the 6th & 8th grade. It is so irritating because whenever I need to contact them while they are out and about, their phones are usually left at home on their bedroom floor.
On the bright side, I do like getting the occasional, unsolicited text that says, “I love you, Mom.” (Okay, okay so that's only happened once, but it sure made the chunk of change I paid AT&T that month go down a lot easier.)
My three children have cell phones, unfortunately they hardly ever use them to call dad or I to connect with us and instead they're used for texting and texting and texting ... I almost feel like we've done our kids a disservice by providing them these phones, which are distracting and are not being used to communicate with parents about schedules and emergency situations. My daughters, 18 and 17, don't even answer their phones when I call during the day. The other day, my oldest told me she could see I was calling, but ignored it "because it was just you mom ... " I was trying to reach her to tell her something pressing on my mind. Cells phones for kids are a two-edged sword for parents.
I miss the 70's when we had those phones with the dials..People were much less preoccupied. People dressed cool, had greasy faces, zits, big afros and stuff, Yet they would acknowledge you.