I was never afraid of driving or riding in a car until I had you. That first trip in the car on the way home from the hospital I was convinced that every crack and crevice in the road was going to startle and shake you. I don’t think we went over 15 mph the whole way home. That probably ticked some people off.
It is a matter of fact that cars can be dangerous. I’ve already covered the basics of making sure to stop at stop signs. For the next piece of road related advice I’m going to keep it simple–Wear your seat belt. In the driver’s seat, in the passenger seat, in the back seat, anywhere inside a moving vehicle WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT! Now this is the point where someone who greatly annoys me points out an instance where someone ended up hurt or worse because they had their seat belt on in a car accident. Let me assure you that these cases are rare when taken into account with the number of lives saved by seat belts.
See the picture of the car up there? That car belonged to your me–your mom. The only thing that kept this fender bender from being a possible head injury as my body flew forward after a run-in with a semi making an illegal turn was the seat belt that locked and held me in place. I managed to walk away from this with nothing but a slightly cut and sore shoulder along the line where my seat belt had worked to hold me into place.
I don’t care what the laws say. I don’t care if you are in the back seat or the front seat. I don’t care if your friends don’t think it is cool. I don’t want you to end up ejected from a vehicle, knocked unconscious, or worse because you decided it was “just a short drive” or so “uncool” to wear your seat belt when you got into the vehicle that day.
Need some numbers? According the website for the National Organization for Youth Safety:
- Among passenger vehicle occupants over age 4, seat belts saved an estimated 13,250 lives in 2008. If all passenger vehicle occupants over age 4 had worn seat belts, 17,402 could have been saved.
- In 2008, 64% of the passenger vehicle occupants ages 13 to 15 and 21 to 34 killed in traffic crashes were not using restraints. These age groups had the highest percentage out of all age groups.
- Research has shown that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%.
Keep looking you will find them everywhere.
The day I had you, was the day driving became scary. You are my most precious gift and while I will protect you as long as I can, you will reach an age where I hope you will take this advice and protect yourself and buckle up every time.
Here you are in your new car seat. A Britax Marathon 70 in which you will be rear facing for as long as possible. The picture isn’t the best but trust me–you are always buckled in.