Thursday, December 8, 2011

Safety (and other fun things)

Like most first time moms I am extremely protective of my little princess. I make sure she won't fall off stuff, get stuck behind things, pull stuff down on her etc. I am also the car seat police, lol. Eric gets so irritated with me constantly checking to make sure the seat is correctly installed, questioning him whether or not he buckled her in correctly etc. I think part of that is because I am a first time parent, but also a large part is definitely a result of my car accident when I was 29 weeks pregnant. Being in a car accident with Claire in the car is probably my top fear. It literally terrifies me to think about it. We have been blessed with a good car rider from day 1. Claire rides happily in the car with little fussing and naps wonderfully in the car so I know that this makes our choice easier. We are committed to keep Claire rear facing as long as possible. Our goal is to the limits her seat allows rear facing. She doesn't know the difference and is happy. I was really excited about the prospect of  turning her forward facing. The law says 1 year and 20 pounds. Well 1 year hit and she was only 17.5 pounds. Even at 15 months she is only 18.5 pounds. When  I went to Claire's 1 year checkup the doctor told me the law, but that the new recommendation is until age 2. I did some research and although the AAP recommends 2 it is actually a compromise because the NHTSA recommends until age 4. The reason is because in a crash when they are forward facing they are at a high risk for internal decapitation. Their tiny bones are not fully fused until closer to age 4. The way their heads move forward in a frontal collision (which is the most common crash) can cause this. Obviously most people die instantly from this. There are a few survivors however as you can imagine their lives are drastically different following recovery. I by no means want to offend anyone who turns their kids around at age 1. It may be much easier said than done to leave Claire rear facing for that long. This is a good link with information about extended rear facing as well as a crash test video (at the bottom of the page) showing a child rear facing vs. forward facing in a crash.

  Reaf Facing vs Forward facing

It is also important to make sure they are buckled in correctly. The chest clip should be across their chest in line with their underarms. I see so many pictures of kids on their car seat on Facebook with the chest clip down at their tummy. The problem with this is is in a crash the chest clip can cause severe damage to their internal organs, that is why it needs to be across their chest bone. It is also important to ensure the harness is tight enough. The rule of thumb is you should not be able to get more than 2 fingers between the harness and the child's collarbone. Something we don't have to worry about too much in Texas is thick jackets, however thick jackets should be removed prior to putting the child in the seat. A thick jacket can compress during a crash causing too much room in the harness possibly even ejecting the child from the seat. Here is how you test to see if a jacket is too thick for the car seat.

  1. Put the winter coat or snowsuit on the child.
  2. Put the child in the car seat and buckle the harnesses as you normally would before car travel. Adjust the straps to the appropriate fit for your child.
  3. Take the child out of the car seat without loosening the straps at all.
  4. Take the coat off your child.
  5. Put the child back in the car seat and buckle the harnesses again, but do not tighten the straps.
  6. If you can fit more than two fingers under the harness at the child's shoulder bone, the coat is too thick and is not safe for use with the car seat.
This topic is just something that is important to me and I wanted to share. I had no idea about any of these things prior to having a baby and even after I had her I didn't know all of this until recently.

On to more fun things! This year was our first year to get a real Christmas tree. Eric had the idea of going to a Christmas tree farm and actually chopping down a tree. I was hesitant about a real tree due to the mess and "maintenance" it requires, but it has actually turned out to be quite clean and easy to care for. We had such a good time wondering through the field and picking out a tree.I think we will try and make it an annual tradition. Claire was happy to be outside and even met a "gagga" while we were there. In case you don't know a gagga is her version of saying doggy. She apparently hears the word a little differently, lol. We got home and decorated the tree. Well, Claire had more fun undecorating it as quick as we could hang stuff. Shockingly she hasn't messed with it since. Cooper messes with it more than she does. He thinks the branches are his own personal back scratcher. Special dog. Here are some pictures from our tree picking day ;-)

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