Thursday, September 29, 2011

Car Seat Safety

I'm a big advocate for car seat safety. BIG! It makes me cringe when I pass a car on the interstate and see a child who is not properly restrained or even see a photo of a child on facebook who should not be in a booster, but is. You can call me what you want, but car seat safety is important!

As parents, our job is to protect our children as best we can. One of the easiest ways we can do this when traveling is to have them properly restrained. The law states that a child should be in a rear-facing car seat until the age of 1, but the AAP recommends that they stay rear facing until the age of 2. My Pediatrician said this to us at our 1 year check-up when we were talking about keeping Eli rear facing longer, even though he had such long legs: "Would you rather him break a leg or have a spinal injury?" Well...that was easy.

Car seats are not cheap, but they are important. Car accidents happen all the time and children are killed everyday because their parents did not have them in the proper seat. Do your research before buying a car seat as it is an important decision. We love Britax, because they are known for their safety and have built-in side cushions, but of course it doesn't have to be that brand. Just because it says something on the box does not mean it is true. DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!

I also see so many 3 and 4 year olds whose parents have them riding in a booster seat using the adult lap belt. It makes me cringe just typing that. Let me show you two videos where parents believed their child was ready for a booster seat, but clearly were not.

I know that car seats are a pain, especially if you are transferring them from one car to the other. But, this is your child's life we are talking about. Putting your child in a seat that does not have a 5 point harness system is a danger to their life. No parents wants to hear from the police officer that if the child had been a 5 point harness, then they wouldn't have flown out of the car.  Just because it says on the box "This seat is for 3 year olds and 40 inches" does not mean you should go ahead and put your child in there.

Also, just because you have a nice seat, does not mean that it is properly installed. Check in your city for places you can take the seat to be checked by a certified individual.

Lastly, you should never buy a used car seat unless you know 100% that it has not been in an accident. Do not buy a car seat at a consignment store or yard sale because there is no way to tell if they have been in an accident, and once a seat has been in an accident, it should no longer be used.

You will be saving your child's life!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting Out!

I'm not the most social person. I'll admit it. If I'm around a group of people I know and feel comfortable with then I am myself and will talk away, but if I'm around a group that I do not know, I will remain pretty quiet and shy. I've always wished I was more outgoing in that department and that I wasn't so worried about what others think of me. After 2 years of being at home, I decided it was time to step out of the box and join a mom's group. This was a big deal for me. This is a big deal for me. I'm not the type who will join a group without knowing anyone at all, but I knew it was something I was going to have to do in order to start making friends.

Finding a Mom's group is harder than you think. I googled 'mom's group' several times over the last two years and found some pages, but none seemed like a good fit. When I was up nursing Miles in the middle of the night I started reading blogs using my iphone. One night I was reading a blog of someone I knew from high school and clicked on another blog link on the side. The family picture at the top of the blog looked so familiar to me and after some reading, I realized that we attended the same church. As I read past entries I couldn't help but notice how much she referred to her "mom's group," and really wanted to know where I could find a similar group. Our church is small, so even though we might not know everyone by name, we pretty much know faces. I had seen Lindsy several times around church, but had never spoken with her and was unsure of how to approach her. I didn't want her to think I was some stalker...haha. So one night I commented on one of her posts, introducing myself and explaining how I landed on her blog, and asked her about her Mom's group. I was lucky because Lindsy turned out to be one of the sweetest women I've met. She is very outgoing and knows how to make you feel welcomed. She gave me all the info on the mom's group and even the e-mail of the woman in charge. I sent my registration form in and waited anxiously until September, when our first meeting would be. 

Last night I went to bed feeling the same way that you do on your first day of school. Not only was I worried if anyone would talk to me, but I was even more concerned about how the boys would do. I knew Miles would be okay, but Eli has a hard time in large groups and strangers. When we take him to the nursery at church he just cries his heart out. It pulls on your heart as a parent and the whole time I'm at church I'm thinking about poor Eli and if he is okay. I hate that feeling. I woke up extra early this morning to get myself ready and then the boys as we had to be in the car by 8:15. The whole way in I talked to Eli about how he was going to "school" and was going to play with his friends. After locating the right parking lot and building, we found our way to the childcare rooms and dropped off Miles. Eli wrapped his arms tightly around my legs and started to whimper. I was already dreading dropping him off. Miles was happy as can be and I knew I didn't have to worry about him. Eli was ecstatic when we walked out of the room without Miles...thinking he was home free! Next we found Eli's room and after signing him in I showed him all the fun toys. He found a guitar right away and I quickly dashed out of the room. I ended up running into a guy that I graduated HS with and chatted for a few minutes in the hall thinking for sure I'd hear Eli start to cry. To my surprise, I didn't hear anything. I ran down the stairs before things changed (and my guilt took over) and walked into the meeting room. I found the table with my group leader and started chatting away with complete strangers. 

I made sure to introduce myself to everyone who sat down even if they didn't say a word first. I added my thoughts to conversations, and even asked questions to start new ones. We laughed a lot and ate a lot. :-) The women in my group were super nice and we had a lot to talk about since we're all mom's. The 2 hours went quickly and before I knew it, it was time to pick up the boys. When I peeked in on Eli, he was dancing like a money and laughing. He looked so grown up that I almost started to cry. I was so relieved to see him having so much fun and no signs of crying the entire time (like at church). We picked up Miles next and the workers said that he was the happiest baby they'd ever seen. 

I left feeling happy and renewed. It was so nice to have a few hours to myself talking to other women and laughing. I'm excited for the year ahead and know I will be making a lot of new friends. I'm so happy that I stepped outside of my comfort zone as I feel it is crucial in being a successful parent. We spend so much time taking care of others that sometimes we forget it's okay to take some time out for ourselves. 

So if you're like me and a little more shy, suck it up and get out there! Look around on the internet for groups in your area and ask around. Most towns have a MOP's group if nothing else.  Find a group that you will fit into and enjoy. You won't regret it!