Thursday, February 03, 2011

I just need to get it off my chest

I'm a mutterer. When I used to work at a factory, bosses would shovel shit at me all day, and I'd take it. Yes sir, no sir, whatever you say sir. But I'd mutter into the machine about it later. I am real good at talking back to people who aren't there. And I am currently on a message board where everyone is so supportive of each other and we all get along, and it's great. But it means a lot of muttering, on my part, to keep up the niceties. So I'm going to do my muttering here, now, because I simply can't keep it in any more.

Safety is great. Safety for children is the most important factor I take into consideration every day. But, like everything else, it has to be mitigated against real world considerations. Some parents "err on the side of caution" to the point that they become paranoid and over protective. Being a parent is scary stuff, especially when you consider just how many ways there are for a terrible thing to happen to a kid, and how many terrible things there are. And for those parents, following "rules" to the letter often helps them feel as if they can prevent terrible things. But at what cost? I've known parents who went months without sleep because no matter how many people told them to swaddle the baby, the books said never to put anything in the crib, and swaddling involved a potentially deadly blanket.

Parents wait months and months to let a baby have a single lump in his baby food, or a blanket in his crib, or any toy small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll. (Newsflash: a garden hose will fit through a toilet paper roll, and a garden hose is not a choking hazard.) Parents who wash toys in bleach on a weekly basis, or who refuse to let a child sit in a shopping cart without a preposterous looking flouncy cover, or who won't let a toddler use a public bathroom without bringing a toilet seat from home. I am not kidding; people carry toilet seats with them.

My point is that some people have to follow every rule ever laid out by anyone, out of a mistaken belief that as long as they do everything right all the time, no harm can ever come to their children. And frankly, it annoys me a little. Because then when I don't follow a rule I am recklessly putting my child in danger and therefor I am a bad mother. Here are examples, muttering as I am, that drive me nuts.

Did you know that everyone under 4'9" needs to be in a booster seat whenever they are in a vehicle? Sounds logical, right? Well, this is everyone under 4'9" regardless of age. Also, regardless of why they are under 4'9". So every adult with dwarfism should be, for their own safety, driving from atop a booster seat. But here's the thing: dwarfs often have average sized torsos - you know, the part of the body that the booster seat actually elevates - and are only short because of short limbs. But they are under 4'9" so they must be in a booster seat, preferably in the back seat away from air bags! There is no room for interpretation. I can only assume that means that a formerly 6'5" double amputee would need a booster seat as well, since people tend to lose height without their legs. Welcome home, Soldier, and thank you for your service and sacrifice. Here is your Evenflo Big Kid Booster Seat!

Car seat safety is of the utmost importance. That is why, no matter the temperature, car seat straps are never to be fastened over a coat. It seems that a coat, any coat, that comes between the straps and the baby will compress in an accident and leave space for the baby to fly out. I have no doubt that this is true. But when it is 20 below I am less inclined to fear a head on collision and more inclined to fear hypothermia or frost bite brought on by me standing there taking the baby's coat off with the car door open. Although I have been told that it is okay to merely unzip the coat and fasten the straps against the child's chest that way. Except that I have recently learned that car seat covers and BundleMes are unsafe because they come between the back of the car seat and the baby. So how on Earth is the back of the coat safe to be behind the baby? And if a thin cotton cover is unsafe, then a onesie must be a death trap. And diapers! Diapers fit between the crotch strap and the baby. In fact, a diaper keeps the baby an unsafe distance from the center of the entire 5 point harness system. So it stands to reason that the only safe baby is a naked baby. In 20 below zero temperatures, in Snowpocalypse.

I'm sorry for all that ranting. It just bothers me when the same people who circumcise (over a hundred dead baby boys a year in the US alone just from complications of circumcision) and formula feed (how many babies die from diseases that breast feeding might have prevented or from tainted formula [or water]?) throw fits about car seat covers and buttoned up coats.

And the dwarfs! We must think of the dwarfs! The aren't tall enough to be allowed to touch upholstery!

1 comment:

Heather said...

I know you are a big proponent of breastfeeding, but I can tell you that it's not the right choice for everyone. I never did it, and Rachael is just fine. She is not allergic to anything and hasn't had anything worse than a cold. She goes to daycare, so her immunity is building up better than some other children too. My nephew was breastfed for the first year of his life. His mother made all his babyfood. The whole nine yards. He is allergic to peanuts (a very severe case of it too). He hasn't had any terrible illnesses (yet), but I think it's because he's not around any other children. His grandmother watches him while his parents are at work. My husband and I were both bottle fed babies, and we never had any health issues. If it was good enough for us, then it's good enough for Rachael. I don't have any issue with other people advocating for breastfeeding, but please understand that some people just cannot do it. I like to say that the area in question is for playing, not dining. :)