Monday, November 17, 2014

Consumer Safety

Alright. So I blatantly don't understand car seats. Specifically, when exactly you're not supposed to be in a car seat anymore, and what kind of car seat you're supposed to have if you're not a completely (as opposed to partially) neglectful parent like me. 

Whenever I try to research this issue (which I admit is not often), I encounter a byzantine web of varying state and federal standards; product reviews; legal disclaimers; and mommy blog guidance. I have squinted in vain at the English and Spanish sticker instructions and shitty ass diagrams on each of my kids' car seats. But I technically don't really know exactly how tall my kids are or how much they weigh, which is kind of a problem in terms of figuring out an answer to this question. 

All I know is that my daughter is 7 years old and the size of an adult Great Dane. She probably doesn't need a car seat or even a booster seat anymore, and no kid needs a snack tray and cup holder in their car seat during the maximum consecutive 40 minutes it takes to drive anywhere in Juneau. What's next? A fucking blue-tooth enabled head rest with built in speakers? (B.t.dubs: if that actually exists, I'm officially swallowing every pill in my house tonight. Goodbye cruel world)!

Some of the car seat standards are so outrageous, they would appear to require petite adults (uh, not me) to sit in car seats too. I must admit there's something kind of hilarious about a 5"2, 100 pound mother of three sitting in a booster seat behind the wheel of her minivan. Good thing I've got like at least 15  20  30  45 pounds to lose until I'd ever need a car seat again. And because the Costco two-pack of Nutella is much cheaper than a car seat, it's simply not economical for me to change my eating habits right now.

Anyway, my solution thus far is to do the peer pressure/eyeball test, and scrutinize kids of similar age and size to see what kind of car seats their parents use. You know, just to make sure my kid is in the right kind of car seat. It's all very scientific, really, and a great technique for all types of parenting decisions. 

Here's how it works: Just look around you and copy whatever your peers are doing. So-and-so is playing soccer this season? Boom. DONE. Mandarin immersion? Well, not in Juneau, but if I were in NYC, consider it done! So-and-so is taking violin? OH FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. REALLY?! WELL, FUCK ME RUNNING! Better sign my kids up for ukelele (at least) so we can all have one more unnecessary thing to fight about. But my kids won't be deprived of a musical education the kid next door is receiving, and that's all that matters, right? 

This approach to parental decision-making hopefully means that at least as to car seats, you're picking the right one. Whatevs. I'm going with it.

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