This month on the blog – in conjunction with Britax – we are thrilled to share a series of posts on child safety in honor of Month of the Military Child. Not only do Britax car seats meet all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, they go above and beyond to provide extra levels of safety. The brand also conducts more tests than required. For a military family always on the move, it’s comforting to know and trust a brand that is dedicated to keeping our kids safe — through infant car seats, convertible car seats, booster seats and strollers.
Some would say I’m a bit of a worrier. My husband sees it as neuroticism. Personally, I think I have an overactive imagination. I tend to imagine the worst case scenario for every situation.
I sort of think this is my way to overprotect my family and myself.
If it really happens, I won’t be as shocked or upset as I would be if I didn’t see it coming.
I’ll give you an example. We were stationed in Aviano, Italy and had our older two children while we were there. Aviano is only about an hour from Venice and we traveled there frequently. Part of the charm of Venice is that everything is really old, the streets are winding, and canals run through the city. The vaporetto is one mode of transportation and is equivalent to a water bus. These things sit low in the water and they cram passengers in, especially on weekends and in the summer – picture a NYC subway at rush hour. Because I have the darkest imagination possible, it won’t surprise you to hear that I spent every ride on one of those things planning my escape route for when the thing started to sink. You’ll be happy to know that never happened, nor did I ever hear a story of it happening, but I was prepared on the off chance that it did!
I come by this naturally. My mother is the ultimate worrier. You can compare her to Beverly Goldberg in the sitcom, The Goldbergs. I remember calling her one time during college or grad school and asking about some sort of ointment that one of my brother’s had used to heal a cut. Instead of giving me the name, she immediately jumped into all of the potential health issues related to skin that won’t heal. (I didn’t have the nerve to tell her that I had just consumed too many margaritas one night and as a result got a serious scrape on my knee).
Fast forward to three children later, and I am still the worrier, but now at least I can channel that worry into overprotecting my kids.
The good thing is that I can overprotect and control some of that worry with research. I can read up on safety standards, reviews and crash test ratings for the gear that we own. That is how we ended up owning several Britax car seats. I took the time to pick the seats that fit our children, fit our car, were the easiest for our family to use and had the highest ratings.
After buying the seat, I overprotected by reading the manual from front to back, and then I installed and uninstalled the seat several times to make sure I knew what I was doing.
No, I wasn’t planning on competing in a car seat installation competition as one might conclude, but I know there are times when efficiency really matters.
We have had a car break down on the highway and had to switch the seats to a different car – while still on the highway and still with our ever-moving small children. I was happy that I had practiced taking the car seat in and out because, in that instance, time mattered.
I feel the same way when we travel by airplane. Sure, you can rent a car seat when you get to your destination, but you don’t know a thing about that car seat until you arrive. I remember waiting in line for a car and overhearing an upset couple talking to the attendant. They had reserved a convertible car seat for their toddler. Turns out, the company only had infant seats available. Oops!
You also don’t know the history of that seat. My husband talked me into renting a car seat when we went to Sicily. It was a nightmare. There wasn’t an easy way to install the seat, the straps didn’t tighten evenly, and the driving in Sicily is insane. I spent the entire trip on edge.
I now overprotect by bringing all of our car seats and boosters with me when we travel. Sure, this can be a pain. No wait, it is a pain. A big pain.
Who wants to carry around several heavy, bulky seats when you are already trying to deal with carry-on bags, a stroller, and hoards of small, excited children?
However, I am content in knowing that I will be installing seats in which I am familiar while knowing the history of each seat. I still bring my 2-year old’s seat on the plane and he sits in it. Again, it is heavy and awkward to get all of that on there, but I know that he is safe and comfortable.
I may be a worrier, I may be neurotic (thanks husband!), but I overprotect because I care about my family and it gives me peace of mind. Just like every other mother out there, I am using the best knowledge I have to make choices.
Take the time to overprotect when it comes to car seat safety – do the research and make the best choice for your family, use the seat you know, and add that extra baggage to your trip. That simple decision could be what makes a difference when it matters.