Decals from thinkgeek.com, Amazon and Educated Mama Decals
Once upon a time, I was a first-time mom who turned her baby forward facing at one. I did so with my doctor’s recommendation and didn’t think twice about it. Shortly after that, I had an online friend message me after posting a picture of SquishyKid #1 in the car forward facing that (a) he should still be rearfacing and (b) he wasn’t strapped in properly. Being a young, first-time mother, I thought she was telling me how to parent, told her off, and removed her from my friends list. Quite an overreaction, but now that I am the person doing the telling, that anger is often aimed at me.
My well-meaning friend’s words still lingered in the back of my mind. Several months went by and it kept eating away at me until I finally started to do my research. I was horrified to learn how much danger I had been putting my child in by not strapping him into his seat properly, and was intrigued with this idea of rearfacing your kids past age one. I still didn’t understand why my doctor had told me to turn him around if it was safer to be rearfacing. Now I know it’s because doctors are not car-seat professionals….but the fire had been lit and there began my car-seat-safety obsession.
Several years went by with me giving out (unsolicited and sometimes solicited) car-seat advice. People started coming to me for anything car-seat related and I had doula clients, friends, and friends of friends asking me to install or help guide them in purchasing car seats. It wasn’t really until I had VERY extended rearfacers and harnessers that I started to get backlash about my quest for all kids to remain rearfacing and harnessed until high school (I kid, I kid). People didn’t take me seriously. They would look at my rearfacing four-year old and harnessed six- and eight-year old and think “she’s some crazy extremist carseat nazi”….never mind that I had research and proof to back up that rearfacing and extended harnessing is safer. Then the AAP came out with its “rearfacing until the limit of the seat but at least two years old and in a booster until twelve” recommendation and, armed with my arsenal of information, I decided it was time to get certified.
I can’t say that being certified has made all that much of a difference in the way people respond. There are tons of people who think I am still that “crazy extremist car-seat nazi,” but now they get to add “who thinks she’s all that because she’s certified.” Some people will never listen or care that they are putting their kids’ lives in jeopardy by refusing to accept car-seat advice…regardless of who hands it out. I do feel like my words hold more weight now that I am certified, am backed up on every bit of information I give out about car-seat safety by an organization, am really not just pulling this stuff out of my butt, and that it’s researched and not done with malicious intent. I love all children, I want al children to be safe, and being certified has allowed me to do that on a grander scale. Holding public seat checks has really shown me how much CPSTs are needed. If you’re thinking about becoming a CPST, don’t wait. Sign up now. Go! Do it! Some child out there needs you to help him or her be safe in his or her car seat.
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