Some people would tell Wendy Wisner that she is way too overprotective to put her 5-year-old in a car seat and plan to continue this practice for a few more years to come.
Some people would say that they didn’t even wear their seatbelts as a kid let alone be restrained by a car seat and they turned out just fine.
But she has no shame in her position wanting to keep her children safe with any measure she can and thinks you should too.
“I know most kids his age are in booster seats (and in some cases, no car seat at all). And yup, it’s a pain-in-the ass to schlep around his car seat when we travel or when he needs to be transported in another vehicle,” she wrote in a piece for Scary Mommy. “And for sure, his grandparents give us the side-eye, telling us that we were never in car seats at this age and turned out just fine.”
You can give her all the side eye you want but Wiser says she agrees with the Academy of American Pediatrics (AAP) who says that kids should be in a harness for as long as possible and at least until the age of 4.
“My 5-year-old is still in a 5-point-harness car seat — and will likely be for a few more years to come — because however inconvenient it may be, it’s the safest option for him,” she says. “And why should I bargain with safety when I am talking about the livelihood and well-being of my child?”
Most child and car seat advocate organizations say that you should leave your child in a car seat for as long as you can.
Once they grow out it if, they advise buying one that is made for children who are larger and heavier.
Though the recommended age for a booster seat is 5, some say your child should only be in a booster seat if they can sit up straight and basically not move for the entire duration of the car ride.
“So basically, my kid will probably be in his big, heavy, annoying car seat until he’s 20-years-old,” Wiser says. “I kid, of course, but I just don’t see the argument for moving my child out of his seat until he literally can’t safely fit in it anymore.”
And we’re sure that the car seat manufacturers would agree with her!
She says a child may not fully outgrow their seat until the age of 10 to 12-years-old. Lord, help those children from being bullied when their peers when they find out that their pre and post-pubescent selves are still in a booster seat at age 12.
However, the fact does remain that car accidents are the leading cause of death in children.
Most of these deaths involve children that aren’t restrained by a car or booster seat or a seat belt.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that car seats reduce the risk of death in infants by 71 percent and toddlers (aged 1-4) by 54 percent. Boosters seats can reduce the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children aged 4 to 8 compared to seat belt use alone.
“You can even call me a bit of a sanctimommy for feeling so passionate about this. But with car accidents being a leading cause of death for children, I don’t think there is any real argument for being lax about car seat safety,” she says. “None at all, really. Our kids’ safety should always be more important than convenience or stress — and certainly more important than what others think of our choices.”
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