Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I are arguing about whether or not we need to put our 4-year old into a car seat on short trips. His daycare is only about 10 minutes from our house and I drop him off on my way to work. He’s a fighter and sometimes, by the time I finally get him into his seat, we could have already been at daycare. I just don’t get the point. So who’s right—me or my wife?
A: Let’s get the most important thing out of the way first: you’re wrong—hopefully you won’t be dead wrong. Worse still, you’re not alone. A new study done by Safe Kids Worldwide (safekids.org) and General Motors Foundation found that 21 percent of parents think it’s okay to skip car seats and booster seats for short drives. It isn’t. Car accidents are one of the top causes of childhood deaths.
Let me say up front that I understand why women want the men and boys in their life to put toilet seats down. I’ve got two sisters, three daughters, a mother, and several ex-wives, all of whom reminded me more than once about the unpleasantness of falling into the toilet. So, yeah, I get it. But I just came across a study that makes a pretty good case for why leaving the seat up may be necessary.
In Part I of our series on child safety we talked about risks associated with bouncing around on those seemingly innocent horsey rides at stores or in bouncy houses.
Speaking of bouncing, let’s talk about those backyard trampolines. The American Academy of Pediatrics. a group that’s always concerned about child safety, now recommends against using trampolines. Their data show that 70 children per 100,000 are injured on them (compared to only 5 per 100,000 who are injured in bouncy rooms). The majority of the injuries happen when several kids are bouncing on the trampoline at the same time—especially when there’s height/weight difference between them (smaller kids tend to get launched into the air or smacked into by bigger ones). A real child safety disaster.
When it comes to child safety, those mechanical horsies outside the grocery store couldn’t be dangerous, could they? How ‘bout those inflatable bouncy castles? Or backyard trampolines? Or even your stairs? According to a number of recent studies, the world of play could be a lot more dangerous than we think (but probably not dangerous enough to get parents and grandparents to stop using them completely, but hopefully enough to get us to pay a little more attention to basic safety).