Aug 8, 2011

Car seat break down... literally!

Ever wondered what's inside a car seat?  We found out last week.  Oliver and I were rear-ended on the way to work last Tuesday.  We're okay.  We went straight to the pediatrician's office right after the police left though, just to be sure.  It was by far the scariest day of my life.  (Just after being in labor.  ... and flying.)  

The speed limit was 45 MPH and the car slammed on brakes - we still estimate she was going at least 30 MPH though if not a bit more.  It was quite a jolt since we were completely stopped.  After waiting for what seemed like forever for the officer to arrive, going through the awkward silence with the other driver, and then being told we all had to go to court since it was wreck less driving (on her part)... it definitely made for a long week.  I wasn't really able to take any time off from work and was very sore for a few days, and it was slightly uncomfortable driving around with a car seat that wasn't deemed safe by the child safety/highway groups.  Ugh!

After finally getting our new car seat (thankyouverymuchamazonprime) I called a friend from the health department back in NC to figure out what to do with the old seat.  I had planned to take it to the fire station, but apparently they don't do that here (go figure... they also don't really do child seats).  She suggested I just make sure no one would use it.  That's when I decided to take it a part.  

Since we ordered the same seat in a different fabric, I first took all the fabric off the old seat to save it for the new seat.  Fashion sake, you know.  (Or blow-outs.)  
I was a little surprised at how simple the seat was underneath.  Just styrofoam.  Nothing fancy.  And under the styrofoam?  Not a thing.

 Since I'd already dismantled the seat, I decided to take it a bit further and destroyed it as much as possible.  In addition to clipping the plastic that attached the handle at the back, I also cut the strap seen below.  I didn't want anyone to find the seat and try to use it.  As far as I'm concerned, if it's not safe enough for my kid, it's not safe enough for yours either.

I kind of miss the gray cubes we had before, but the green is a nice change too.  We'll probably upgrade to a convertible seat at the end of the year though so I'm not too concerned with changing out the fabric.

I also want to point out the extra head support... we'd actually taken this out when we removed the infant insert (that was out when he was 11lbs).  Then, our friend Henry came to visit and we had a big discussion about the head support pillow thing and decided to put it back in... Henry's seat had a stationary one and we all decided it was probably best to have.  I am SO glad we put it back in.  Even though Oliver is rear facing, I felt so much better about his safety with that little bit of extra support.  I had been so tempted to take it out because it's been so awfully hot, but I am thankful it was there.
Our seat is a Chicco Keyfit 30.  We did a good amount of research before registering for it and found it to be one of the best.  After the accident, I did the same research and came to the same conclusion.  As much as I wanted to upgrade, I realized there really wasn't anything to upgrade to - as far as we were concerned at least.  We did consider a Peg Perego, but the colors didn't do much for me.  There was one combo we liked, but since my car interior is gray and our strollers are gray (and green actually), AND since the old fabric could be used, we decided to stick with what we had.  Call me vain, but I like it when things match.  It makes me happy.  (Yep, that means that nine times out of ten, Oliver's diaper matches his outfit too.  I'm just that way.  I've gotten better - my pajamas used to have to match my sheets.  Mom, remember that?!)

We have a totally fresh perspective on safety.

...and while on the topic... 
Did you know that most fire stations have someone who is trained to install child safety seats?  I say most loosely... coming from NC where we have an awesome public health network, I was SO disappointed in the VA counterparts.  When we went to have our seat checked, they acted as if we were a spectacle.  Seriously.  One guy went to get another guy who then had an audience of everyone else who worked there.  On top of that, they told me our seat had to be on one side or the other and not in the middle because of the arm rest.  What?!  I felt like they were wrong so I called my people... my people were right.  I read the owner's manual to the car (duh) and it clearly stated that the seat was fine in the middle.  

While in NC in June we stopped by the fire station and had the Safe Kids team check our seat.  More than 45 minutes and a pool noodle later, we were set.  I think the seat was probably fine the way I had it, but they thought the noodle helped so I went with it, after all, they do this WAY more often than I do.  

Since we've had to replace the seat (and base), I'll probably have them check our seat again.  I used to think I knew how to install a car seat, then Oliver was born.  I would much prefer to eat some humble pie and have someone check my work than to jeopardize his safety and I am SO glad I did.  I'd recommend everyone have their seat checked, but when/if you do, be sure the people checking it know what they're talking about.  


Jill Foley said...

Wow - I can't imagine how scary that must have been!

I did the same thing when picking out Kay's seat - I picked out the fabric that would look best in our car.

Emily said...

I am known as the "car seat nazi" around these parts...and for this very reason! I would much rather be safe than sorry!! Emma will probably be pulling up to kindergarten in her five point harness car seat :)

ps: matching your PJ's to your bed sheets made me love you even more!

GinH said...

Em, it is so sad we don't live closer... our kids could gang up and be safety patrol together! :)

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub