Unnecesseat belts

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Why wear a seat belt?

The average person, driving the average car on the average trip is not going to be involved in a major crash. If that’s the case, seat belts are a useless intervention that merely provide extra revenue for car manufacturers, right?

In fact, the average person, driving the average car is probably not going to get into a crash during the entire life of the car. If that’s the case, there’s no reason to put seat belts into every car when only a very small percentage will actually benefit from them. The majority of seat belts could be described as “unnecesseat belts,” right?

No need to routinely buckle your seat belt. You only need to buckle it if you’re going to be in an accident.

And what’s up with air bags? The average driver, driving the average car on the average strip will not need both a seat belt AND an airbag. If you want to understand why all cars have airbags, follow the money: air bags are really expensive so car companies install air bags into every car to justify jacking up the price by hundreds of dollars.

A woman should have complete autonomy over her body. If she wants to buy a car without unnecesseat belts and without airbags, that should be HER decision. She has the right to decide how she feels safest.

And anyway, if her intuition tells her that she is likely to be in a car accident, she can always transfer to a fully equipped rental car for a specific trip. Plus, the hospital is only ten minutes away!

So educated women who care about their quality of life, not just whether they live or die, don’t wear seat belts, right?

Wrong!

Any woman with a grain of common sense in her head wears a seat belt EVERY time she gets in a car. Why? Because she knows that it is foolhardy to trust averages. Just because the average person, driving the average car on the average trip won’t need a seat belt in retrospect does not change the fact that tens of thousands of lives are saved each and every year by routine use of seat belts.

Women who claim to “trust birth” are really trusting averages. It’s true that the average woman, carrying the average baby in the average position will have an uncomplicated labor and that any and all interventions can be deemed unnecessary in retrospect. But as in the case of seat belts, just because the average woman carrying the average baby in the average position won’t need those interventions does not change the fact that tens of thousands of lives are saved each and every year by the routine use of obstetric interventions.

Trusting birth is no different from trusting driving. The vast majority of people who refuse routine use of seat belts will not die in a car accident, but that hardly makes their choice safe or sensible. Similarly, the vast majority of women who refuse the routine use of the interventions of modern obstetrics will not have their babies die as a results, but that hardly makes their choice safe or sensible.

Most of us would be appalled if people took to referring to seat belts as “unnecesseat belts,” because we recognize that they are necessary, even if they are never needed. The same principle applies to the routine interventions of modern obstetrics. Anyone who understands the routine dangers of childbirth is appalled by those who refer to C-sections as “unecesareans,” because we recognize that they aren’t unnecessary even if they weren’t needed in retrospect.

The routine use of modern obstetric interventions rests on the same principle as the routine use of seat belts. Both save tens of thousands of lives each and every year, NOT because everyone needs them, but because “trusting” that you are average is nothing more than a foolhardy, and sometime deadly, mistake.

 

This piece first appeared in June 2011.

  • Jules B

    Totally OT, but I figured this group of very pregnancy/childbirth-related knowledgeable folks might be a good place to solicit some input. So, a friend of my sister’s, who I know quite well, has been trying for the past 4-5 years to become pregnant. Multiple rounds of IVF etc. She seems to be able to produce good embryos, but cannot seem to carry a pregnancy (past the first trimester). Tonight my sister mentioned that her friend and her husband are looking into the possibility of gestational surrogacy. Immediately upon hearing this, I had this very strong feeling like I should be the one to carry their (potential) child. (Not that I put much credence in those kinds of “feelings,” but it was nonetheless how I felt).

    I am on the older side (I just turned 43 a couple of weeks ago), so obviously that would be the major concern. I am generally healthy, though – and when I had my daughter at age 39, I had had pretty much a textbook pregnancy (no morning sickness or any major physical issues), and a fairly easy/quick labour and delivery, too. Of course I know every pregnancy is different, but I really felt good during my pregnancy. I felt like it suited me, if that makes any sense.

    Obviously this is just in the realm of the theoretical at this point, but I feel like it would be an amazing opportunity to help someone have a child. But obviously I know that pregnancy and childbirth carry a lot of risks for the gestating person, and should never be taken lightly. Then again, I am not sure whether it is a reasonable risk to take on on behalf of someone else? In other words, is this crazy thinking on my part?

    To put it another way: if you were in my shoes, would you consider it? (I have obviously not talked to the potential Mom about it, so it isn’t a real concrete thing anyway at this point, but I thought I would explore the idea as if it could happen). Thoughts?

    • Irène Delse

      I don’t think it’s crazy. I’ve heard of someone who did just that for a good friend of hers. It was the 1920s, so no IVF available for the one wanting a child. It must have been not uncommon before modern fertility treatments. And even today, there was the case, a few years ago, of a 50+ year old woman carrying the child of her daughter who had had a hysterectomy (in Italy, IIRC).

      As for risks to you, you’re the one to evaluate what risks you’re willing to take, and if it’s worth doing it. But obviously, you’ll have to talk about it with your friends. Even if you’re OK with being their surrogate, they may feel they’d rather not have a friend carry they child. It’s a very personal decision, after all.

      Anyway, one of the regulars did have a child via surrogacy, he may have more perspective here.

      • Jules B

        Oh OK, good to know one of the regulars here has experience with surrogacy! Hopefully he sees this thread hah.

    • Sue

      Jules – there are clearly two main issues to consider: your potential “gestational” success, and your potential relationship with the baby that you gestate.

      IN terms of pregnancy, the main limitation of older women’s fertility is the age of eggs, not so much the ability to sustain the pregnancy. Having said that, older women have a higher chance of developing high-blood-pressure of pregnancy (PIH). Older women also tend to have more complicated labors, though reduced since you are not a first-timer.

      The relationship issue must be so much harder. How easy would it be to carry aound a growing baby, feeling its movements inside you, and then giving the baby to its genetic parents?

      If it were me (acknowledging I’ve never been in this position), I’d be more worried about the emotional toll than they physical one. Just a personal opinion.

      • Jules B

        Yes, very important considerations, I agree. I would not want to embark on the process unless/until I was given medical clearance. No point in even trying unless I was a good candidate on that level.

        Regarding the emotional stuff – that is a huge deal, I agree. I have never carried a baby not my own of course, so I really don’t know for sure how I would react. But I am pretty good with separating my emotions from things if necessary. Although, I think counselling would be a good idea if I did do it.

    • rox123

      Why on earth would you want your abdomen stretched out, saggy breasts and overall accept the entire toll a pregnancy takes on your body for a child that isn’t yours?! I am having a really hard time understanding this.

      • Mattie

        Because for some people pregnancy isn’t that big of a deal, and they don’t view the things you listed as enough to ‘outweigh’ the benefits of being able to give someone the gift of a baby. It’s definitely not the case for everyone, but for those who feel able to do it, it’s awesome.

      • Jules B

        Those are definitely things that crossed my mind! But for me, those types of changes are not a huge deal. (Pregnancy-related stuff that might permanently affect my health is another matter of course, and is one of the big considerations).

    • mostlyclueless

      I don’t think it’s crazy at all, and well worth considering. I think it’s very generous.

    • Mattie

      I don’t think it’s crazy, I think you’re very generous to even consider it. However, talk to doctors, get advice on not just the medical and physical health aspects but also counselling for any of the mental health aspects of surrogacy. Talk to people who have done this, those for whom it worked out and those for whom it did not. Get as much information as you can, and if possible, do it before you speak to your family and offer. The decision needs to be yours in the first instance.

      • Jules B

        Thanks for that – I actually know someone who did gestational surrogacy (about 10 years ago), so I think I will get in touch with her first. I think the first-hand, real deal experiences of surrogates is what I am looking for at this point (And the suggestion of counselling etc if it gets more serious is a very good one). Thank you!

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Off topic, and yet always on topic: Has anyone linked to this yet?

    http://www.theuglyvolvo.com/yelp-reviews-of-newborn-babies/

    • Kelly

      I have seen it before but it sums up everything about newborns perfectly.

  • StephanieA

    My sister and I were in a car accident when I was 13. I lived, she didn’t. My husband and son were in a near fatal crash with a semi. Thankfully they’re both still here, but I’ve had enough bad luck that I would never not wear a seatbelt.

    • BeatriceC

      I’m sorry to hear about your sister. And I’m so glad your husband and son are okay now. I’ve never been in a car crash and thank my lucky stars every day for that. I still wouldn’t dream of not wearing a seat belt. I’ve been lucky so far. Who knows when that luck will end.

    • momofone

      I’m so sorry about your sister. I am glad your husband and son are ok. All of those experiences must have been awful.

      My cousin and her family were killed when the driver of a semi behind them fell asleep and ran into them (they were stopped at a traffic light). I always wear my seat belt too, even though it was not enough to make a difference in their situation.

    • MI Dawn

      I never used to wear one. Then a classmate, driving home one winter day, flipped her car 3 times and walked away with minor injuries since she had her seatbelt on. After that, the entire class wore theirs religiously!

    • MaineJen

      My dad never, ever wore a seatbelt back in the 70s/80s. He was just one of those old-school people who didn’t like them. Thankfully my mother would not drive the car unless we were all buckled in, so we kids learned to wear seatbelts. He wears one now; I don’t know what finally made him see the light. Maybe he finally realized how much we all used to worry about him!

  • BeatriceC

    OT: My bird has lost his bloody mind. He’s swinging by one foot from the top of his cage cackling like a character out of the Exorcist any time anybody but MK passes. (He adores MK, who’s the favorite human).

  • Margo

    Well, I wear my belt every time and thank goodness I do/did. I caught ice a few weeks back and flipped my car and then slid upside down and then slid some more on the passenger side of car for a good way ending up in a ditch on the wrong side of the road. Hanging upside down is not pleasant but my belt saved me. I kicked out the windscreen which was smashed anyway and crawled out. The first people at the scene of accident were three doctors on holiday, how lucky was I. My only injury was a small cut on my hand. The car was a total wreck.

    • BeatriceC

      Yikes! I’m glad you are ok!

    • Bombshellrisa

      That sounds terrifying. I am glad you were ok (sorry about the car!).

    • Sue

      Glad you were OK, Margo. Thankfully, vehicle safety has improved enormously over time, between the effectiveness of restraints and the ability of the car to crumple around you, to avoid transferring the force to the passenger compartment.

      So many areas of human life are better, safer and more effective due to science and technology. Even childbirth ! Makes you wonder why some people want to go back to horse-and-buggy days.

  • Sue

    Most people who happily accept seatbelts don’t know that they can also cause harm. In a high-speed crash, the seatbelt can direct fracture your sternum, collar bone and/or ribs. This is a trade-off for stopping your head hitting the steering wheel, and stopping you from being thrown out of the car.

    Also, seatbelts and drink-driving laws were not driven by popular cultural movements, but by evidence-based, public-health-informed policy, driven top-down.

    Some things, like injury prevention and vaccination, have such a big positive impact that we have to accept small risks of harm. And they have to be driven by public policy, with cultural change inevitably following.

    • Who?

      I always sit as far back as possible, for just that reason. Unfortunately I am blessed(!) with short arms, so it isn’t that far when I’m driving, but I reckon every cm counts when that bag deploys.

      • MI Dawn

        I am short, too. The recommendation is sit far enough back for an 8×11 piece of paper (on the 11″ side) to fit between you and the wheel if you can. If you can’t, see if your dealer can decrease the impact speed (some are adjustable based on size/weight)

        • MaineJen

          Yikes. I have the shortest legs ever; I’ll have to see if a piece of paper fits between myself and the steering wheel. (!!!)

  • demodocus

    What is up with the car seat rules? I suspect it’ll be less of an issue for my baby giants (2 year old is frequently thought to be 3 or even 4) but i have friends who would have qualified for boosters into junior high, or later if there wasn’t an age thing too. Being the last kid in your class to either age out or grow out of boosters is going to be hard on a young adolescent. And if it’s not safe for my 9 year old nephew to ride without one, then is it right for the great-aunt who is smaller than he is do so?

    • Mattie

      I mean, while it might be embarrassing, it’s better to be embarrassed than severely injured or dead. The age thing is a good compromise, but then I don’t think there should be shame about using a thing that enables you to be safer, even as an adult

    • guest

      The usual answer given by the experts is that it’s not just a child’s size that’s a factor, but also the maturity (for lack of a better word) of their bodies. But I think it is also the case that we’d ALL be safer rear-facing in a five-point harness in a car, it’s just that after we reach a certain age and size the risk of serious, unrecoverable damage is lower.

      The lowest risk of all is not to ride in a car, of course, but you don’t see people shouting at parents to avoid all unnecessary car trips (aside from environmentalists, that is).

      • mostlyclueless

        I wouldn’t shout at anyone over it but our family does make an effort to live a low-car lifestyle. Less driving = fewer accidents; more walking = lots of health and financial benefits. We intentionally picked a very walkable neighborhood, including to/from work. I fully acknowledge that we are the weird outliers on this issue though 🙂

        • BeatriceC

          A good friend of mine (the previously describe hippie) picked her house for exactly that purpose. She’s blocks away from a trolley station,and just a few more blocks to the grocery store and her bank. She doesn’t even own a car.

          • Sue

            Great to limit your footprint, but almost everyone needs a taxi or a lift in a car sooner or later. Best with seatbelts on.

          • BeatriceC

            True. Her daughter and son-in-law have a Prius. They live with her, and the three of them combined put less than 1000 miles a year on it.

          • Sue

            That’s admirable!

          • Old Lady

            This is what we did but we kept one car for shopping and other trips. It worked for awhile but then my husbands company moved and now we’ll need two cars, one for me and the kids and one for him to get to work. We never use the train line despite being just being blocks from it. I know we will use it again once the kids are older at least so I don’t regret it. We love our neighborhood, so walkable and the park system here is the best. The only downside here is the cold winters, and that doesn’t bother me too much, I like season variety and winter sports. I feel it’s one of the best places in the U.S. To raise a family.

        • guest

          And that sounds ideal to me. But it sounds like you still had access to a car when you needed one, and could just leave your car seats/boosters installed in it for when you did.

        • Jules B

          Us as well. My goal in life is to live to an area in our city where we could potentially get rid of our car entirely. I really hate having to ride in cars – I do not seem to be able to cultivate the denial of risk that lots of people seem to be able to do when it comes to using a car. I honestly feel low-level anxiety all the time about driving, especially on highways.

      • demodocus

        meanwhile i mostly ride city buses with 2 small children restrained only by Dem’s and my arms.

    • Erin

      Both my grandmothers (94 & 92 respectively) and my Dad’s sister would still qualify on height alone. Given that my son is probably heading towards being sturdier than his Great Grandmothers…(and they’re total pains to drive anywhere, peering over your shoulder, telling you you’re going too fast when you’re under the speed limit etc) I’d definitely get behind a rear facing car seat “for bad tempered old ladies who can’t see but think they can drive better than you even though they’ve never passed a driving test and believe they own the road” movement.

      • Who?

        Perhaps a relaxing glass of something (for them, obviously) before you set off? Though I see getting little old ladies drunk might be ethically questionable…

      • BeatriceC

        My mom’s mother was like that. And she was one of the worst drivers (at least one of the fastest and most reckless…she should have been a NASCAR driver), I’ve ever met. My father’s mother’s was a lot better; both as a driver and a passenger.

      • AnnaPDE

        I’ll see your bad tempered interfering grandma raise you a blind one who does exactly the same. Also tries to explain about traffic around us and where to turn. (I’m fine just ignoring it, but it wears my dad really thin when he sacrifices an afternoon of his to driver her to various pointless errands.)

    • MaineJen

      While extended rear facing is a good idea, for some kids it just isn’t practical. My son outgrew his rear facing seat soon after he turned eighteen months, and at that time it was still “okay” to turn him forward. He met both the height and weight requirements.

      My daughter was and is still tiny; she rear faced in her “infant” seat until age two, when I finally turned her around. She’s four now, still just 32 pounds and in a five-point harness for the foreseeable future. Rear facing until age two was no big deal for her; with my son, he would have been busting out of that seat.

    • Chant de la Mer

      I believe a good part of it is skeletal development as well as size. Plus one of the biggest reasons to rear face is that oversized head that young children have on relatively small bodies. Puts an enormous strain on the spine in an accident when they are forward facing. As children get older, they might be small for their age but they should be proportional and their bodies maturing at a normal rate so they would be able to move out of boosters even if size wise they could stay. Plus you can keep them in the backseat which is a bit safer. Heck I put my grandmother in the backseat because it’s safer, I just tell her it’s more comfortable back there, which it might be since it’s a minivan.

  • niteseer

    And, people die
    while wearing seat belts, too, so obviously seat belts aren’t that important. Two friends of my daughter’s were hit by a drunk driver, and his seat belt fractured his collar bone. Her seat belt malfunctioned, and she was thrown from the car and killed instantly. So, obviously, you should avoid seat belts. ((my tone is sarcastic, but unfortunately, the story is true. It happened on their wedding day, while they were heading off for their honeymoon))

    • CanDoc

      I’m so sorry, that is terribly tragic. 🙁
      Yet the analogy is perfect. Most seatbelts are unnecesary. Sometimes they will save your life, which is a huge benefit. Often, they will cause some collateral damage in the process of achieving the greater good: broken collarbone, bruising, etc. Rarely there is a massive fatal malfunction. Over the course of the entire population, they do good, but with small risks. Just like modern obstetrical interventions.

    • momofone

      🙁 How awful.

      My cousin, her husband, and their two children were killed when the driver of a semi fell asleep at the wheel and hit them at a stoplight. Two of them were wearing seatbelts and two weren’t, but the force was not survivable. I always wear mine; I can minimize the risk of serious harm, but of course there’s no way to reduce it to zero.

  • Roadstergal

    And airbags are so much more difficult to recover from! A friend of mine went on a drive, and her airbag didn’t deploy, and she had a very nice, calm, relaxing drive. My airbag deployed, and I had burns and abrasions all over my face and two black eyes. It took me weeks to recover. I know better, now – I am never driving with an airbag.

    (Don’t try to talk to me about how my friend was just ‘lucky’ to not have an accident during her drive, and that I was ‘unlucky’ to get hit by a truck. I know now that if I hadn’t had a airbag, I would have had a drive just like hers.)

  • Megan

    “Anyone who understands the routine dangers of childbirth is appalled by those who refer to C-sections as “unecesareans,” because we recognize that they aren’t unnecessary even if they weren’t needed in retrospect.”

    Except that, even in retrospect, it’s impossible to know which CS were really “unnecessary.”

    • Azuran

      Even with cars, in retrospect, you don’t know even know 100% of the time who would have lived and who would have died without the seat belt.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      It’s a IF/THEN logic fail. If mother and child are healthy, then a c-section is unnecessary. The baby came out healthy and the mother didn’t die in childbirth, so obviously it was totally unnecessary. If had been a necessary c-section, both the mother and child would be dead!

      • Beth

        yep. But don’t forget, if mother or baby does die, they weren’t meant to live, and the C section wouldn’t have saved them anyway.

        See, it’s a trick question: which C sections are necessary? None of them!

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          A few months back, a pregnant woman was killed in a car crash in Tasmania. The baby was saved by a post mortem c section in the emergency department. When I saw the story in the news, I did wonder to myself if here were any hard core NCBers who would object to that c section.

          • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

            They’re probably too busy shaming the mother for not breast feeding.

      • CanDoc

        No, that logic doesn’t hold at all.
        Because if baby came out healthy and mother didn’t die, then it may be BECAUSE of the intervention.
        For example: Lifeguard rescues drowning swimmer. Swimmer doesn’t drown. Ergo Lifeguard didn’t need to rescue the swimmer at all because they didn’t drown in the end. Nonsensical.

        • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

          They still fail at logic.

      • Sue

        Bizarre argument, isn’t it?

        In other areas of risk-mitigation, prevention is considered better than rescue (stopping the car from going over the cliff rather than having an ambulance at the bottom).

        So, if there are signs of risk but the mother and baby emerge unscathed, the preventative action has been successful.

        Instead, the wacky argument says that the intervention to stop you dying wasn’t necessary because you didn’t die.

        You wonder how these people negotiate daily life.

  • Brooke

    His blog title is giving me a headache.

    • guest

      Huh?

    • MaineJen

      Satire, Brooke.

    • Heidi

      I’m sure at least a few of your friends are Young Living representatives. Surely, they will know the cure for your headache. I’m sure nothing huffing at some lavender and/or peppermint oil won’t cure.

      • AirPlant

        Dude, my local young living distributer will even sell you her own blend of roll on sticks for your forehead!

        • Heidi

          One of them who I wouldn’t call a friend exactly, but is on my Facebook, forewent malaria vaccinations when she visited southeast Asia in favor of using EOs to repel mosquitoes. As far as I know, she didn’t contract malaria, and I’m sure that has her convinced it was effective. She was sincerely convinced oregano oil was why her minor cut that bled didn’t get seriously infected.

          • Heidi

            And it doesn’t look like malaria actually has a vaccine, but that’s what she called it. I guess she rejected some sort of anti-malarials?

          • Nick Sanders

            What would be really sad is if she rejected one of those “homeopathic vaccines” because it had the word vaccine in it.

          • Irène Delse

            Yes, anti-malaria prophylaxis. My family used to live in West Africa, and I took small doses of anti-malarial drugs for six years with zero problems. And zero malaria.

          • AirPlant

            My “friend” (?) sells a roll on stick for cancer.

            I am not kidding. She wants you to use her blend for CANCER. Like in lieu of legit medical treatment.

            We don’t hang.

          • Nick Sanders

            I kept reading that as “a roll on a stick”, which I pictured as a cinnamon bun on a campfire stick.

            Like this, but with a cinnabon shape:
            http://mothers-home.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Cinnamon-Biscuit-on-a-Stick.jpg

            I sincerely doubt it would cure cancer, but I’d probably buy it anyway, depending on the price.

          • Who?

            Shameful-the selling, not you not wanting to hang out with her.

            How on earth do people live with themselves? Sometimes I wish I was religious, because I’m sure if I was I’d believe in a circle in hell for people who shamelessly peddle dangerous crap.

          • Irène Delse

            There’s no malaria vaccine yet, alas, but malaria prophylaxis drugs are generally effective. And then there’s air conditioning and bed nets to reduce exposition to mosquitoes. And mosquito repellant.

            Interestingly, some EO are better than nothing, because they contain compounds that plants make to protect themselves against insect predation. Still, in clinical trials, it’s been shown that EO are nowhere near as efficacious as DEET.

    • Spamamander

      His?

    • Azuran

      Wow, so I guess 2 words is the max your brain can manage.

    • Sue

      Now I know why they call it a Babbling Brooke.

    • Heidi_storage

      Aw, poor Brooke. I’m so sorry for her. She’s been reduced to complaining about the blog title. When I think of the truly nasty invective, energetic defense of ridiculous positions, and smug assumption of virtue and superiority she’s been capable of in past comments, I am devastated at her current lame efforts. I think you guys have just worn her down.

  • Anna

    And not only are car belts unnecessary, they are actually dangerous and harmful. Recent studies have shown that besides causing discomfort they actually impair driving skills. I mean how are you supposed to drive well while being strapped? Chances of accidents thus INCREASE instead of DECREASING. Let us all free ourselves of car belts which are a mere marketing trick and feel empowered and in control while driving!

    • AirPlant

      Just the other day my belt locked up JUST as I was trying to check my blind spot! I almost hit another car! I am for sure not the type of person that would ever get into a real accident, my near miss was directly caused by the intervention. Trust your ability to drive! Its what your car was meant to do.

    • Mel

      Look at me! I was rear-ended in a mid-sized hatchback by a medium sized pickup truck going over 40mph and my seatbelt engaged! The shock of a rapid deceleration caused me to have postconcussion syndrome which required my medical withdrawal from my graduate program and will postpone my graduation BY AT LEAST A YEAR! That’s a year I could have been making more cash! Plus, I had to fill out paperwork! Do you know how hard it is to fill out paperwork with a minor, transient head injury?!? I actually needed to receive help from disabilities service worker at my college. *sighs*

      If I hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt, the bones in my face and skull would have gently deformed and absorbed the impact in a more natural setting. Those damn engineers. The saddest part is that immediately after the accident, I was so uneducated that I was actually grateful to those engineers for preventing imaginary injuries like multiple facial/skull fractures, a closed-head injury or a subdural hematoma.

      Good news is now I know better. With any luck, I’ll have my healing car crash soon now that I’m driving in the same crash-ridden area where my original crash happened without wearing my seatbelt.

      (Yes, this is EXACTLY what the “my baby and I were saved by those evil OBs and now I’m waiting for my healing HB” disaster-in-waiting blogs sound like to the rest of us. I am so glad I was wearing my seatbelt.)

      • Anna

        Healing car crash, ahahah, that’s hillarious!!!

  • AA

    OT: Another day, another “Poor women of color, you’re doing everything wrong” http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/06/15/the-breast-milk-gap/?ref=opinion . Also, one of the scary statements is “Both programs encourage breastfeeding, but allow moms to decide for themselves.” What is the alternative? Saying that the two social services programs should only be available to breastfeeding women? Getting a court order to have a woman lactate?

    • Amy M

      I looked at the comments (I know, never read the comments) but actually, the vast majority were from people saying the author of the article was ignoring the fact that most women, especially poor women, work and don’t get much in the way of paid maternity leave. Most agreed that better paid maternity leave policies in the US might increase breastfeeding rates, and also pointed out that most people in the US have access to clean water, so formula feeding really isn’t an issue. It was nice to see so many reasonable responses, because usually those types of articles bring out the frothing lactivists.

      • guest231

        We have very generous paid maternity leave in Europe and our breastfeeding rates are roughly the same as in the US.

        • Sarah

          Depends what you mean by ‘Europe’. There’s quite a variation on the duration and renumeration of paid maternity leave on the continent, and some countries are not what I would call generous.

          Your overarching claim is broadly correct, and the reasons for feeding choices are complex, but clearly there are some American women who would like to breastfeed/breastfeed more, who are unable to do so because of maternity leave. It seems sensible to assume that paid maternity leave would increase breastfeeding rates in an individual society even though it’s not the one determining factor. I say this as someone who took paid maternity leave and didn’t breastfeed because I didn’t want to.

          • Irène Delse

            Across Europe, there are differences in maternity leave policy, and then there’s cultural differences. For some reason, there are countries where basically a woman has to choose between raising children and pursuing her career. France has a higher percentage of mothers who stay in the workforce than Germany, for instance, even though both countries have similar maternity leave, AFAIK.

    • Irène Delse

      Still, Piwoz said, “The benefits are obvious in poor countries, so it’s likely American kids would get this benefit as well.”

      What I find scary is that this person is a senior officer for nutrition at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But she seems to have no idea about how social and economic background differences can affect the life of women and babies… And no notion of threshold effects on physiology either, though it’s well known that giving extra food is beneficial for undernourished children, but children who already received enough calories won’t do better if you stuff them with more.

      • lawyer jane

        These public health types never factor in the reality of the burden on the woman. Any possibility of any small benefit is enough to justify a “campaign.”

    • RMY

      Did you read the comment by the dude who is concerned that donated breastmilk or pumped breastmilk may still be inferior?

      “There’s no evidence that pumped milk has the same benefits as the act of nursing from the breast–it’s unclear whether the benefits of breastfeeding are tied to the composition of the milk itself or the snugly act of nursing. So just asking women to donate milk may not close the gap.”

      Ugh! So basically, a mom can’t be good unless she’s chained to her baby?

      • Roadstergal

        If all of the benefits are from the snuggling, regardless of the exact substance being fed – which is what attachment theory does support – then no need for breastfeeding specifically. :p

  • guest

    Here’s my own little hobby horse: As a single parent without a car, I find carseat requirements really burdensome the few times we have the opportunity to go somewhere in a car. I always either get the carseats I need or we don’t go, but I’d REALLY like to see some efforts to make this easier. You’re now supposed to keep your child in a car seat or booster until eleven years old in some cases. That’s eleven years where my family can’t just hail a cab and go home when we find we need to, because cabs have no car seats (and car services can only provide one – and anyway, The Car Seat Lady recommends against using anything other than your own personal car seat that you know the full history of). It’s also some number of years until we can get on a plane to visit family or go on vacation without being told I “really should” be carrying two car seats onto the plane so that my children are as safe as adults – something I physically cannot do as a single parent with multiple kids since airlines provide no assistance getting safety equipment to the gate. Even renting a car is a crapshoot – I’ve done it, and again, The Car Seat Lady thinks it’s dangerous if you use their seats. But even if I’m willing to risk that, I’ve had rental car agencies screw up the type of seat we need, or the install is fiendishly difficult in the car they give us (they won’t do the install of the car seat or booster for liability reasons). Even if we buy our own seats, we never know what kind of car we’ll be borrowing/riding in, and whether our seats will install in them. I had an airport shuttle assure me I could install any kind of car seat in their van, only to have the van show up and it didn’t have the necessary top tether.

    I could go on. My point is only that it’s not as easy as a seatbelt anymore. I’d like to see some engineers work on solving these access problems for people who don’t just drive their own car everywhere.

    • AirPlant

      But that would mean acknowledging that some families are not rich white and suburban, living in a mcmansion, and driving an beige SUV. I am not sure our culture is willing to do that, it might encourage dissent.
      .
      As a side note, I live in a small city and it never gets old hearing about how living in a middle class residential district with a fenced in yard and trees and several amazing parks in easy walking distance is pretty much child abuse.

      • BeatriceC

        Right now I’d love to be living in a downtown high rise. Especially since my pool boy, er, I mean MrC, is out of town and I just had to clean the *&^%& thing.

        • guest

          Ha ha. I grew up in the suburbs and we had a pool and I HATED cleaning it.

          • BeatriceC

            Yeah, my parents’ house has a pool, and the my house in Florida had a pool. When I sold that I swore I’d never live in another house with a pool. And then I met MrC. And he bought this house over 20 years ago. I figured the fact that he had a pool shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but I sure thought about it!

          • guest

            After we moved into the house with the pool, we actually swam less than when we had to use public pools. Go figure. Right now I’m glad not to have one just because it removes that childhood hazard from our lives most days. But I do wish we had a private yard for a kiddie pool or something.

          • BeatriceC

            I figure there’s a 100:1 hour maintenance to swimming ratio in our pool most of the year. Part of that is because the water gets quite chilly from October to May, and our pool heater is electric and prohibitively expensive to run. We keep saying we’re going to get a solar heater, but never do. In the summer, however, our house is Teen Central, as all of the boys’ friends congregate here. I’ve had to instate a 30 guest limit during the summer, with no more than 20 in the pool at the same time.

          • BeatriceC

            Case in point: 5 extra kids just showed up, and apparently a few more are on the way.

          • guest

            Yikes! We never had that many kids in our pool. Maybe because it seemed like everyone in our city had a pool, or maybe because we just weren’t that popular!

          • BeatriceC

            I wound up with a total of 8 extra kids yesterday, plus my three. The temperatures the next few days are going to be even hotter, with Monday’s high predicted to be 100F. I’m guessing I will have a house full of teenagers pretty much all day every day.

          • guest

            Yes, I’m hearing all about the weather from my parents (I grew up in SoCal). We’re having a surprisingly mild and dry summer here so far.

          • BeatriceC

            I was thinking I’d go up to my MIL’s house in a suburb of LA, where the predicted high temperatures are 15 degrees lower than here, however, one of my sisters-in-law finally volunteered to give MrC a break from the 24/7 care that MIL needs so he came home last night (he’d been there almost two weeks, except the day and a half he was here but had to bring her with him…she’s having some unexpected difficulty recovering from eye surgery and can’t be left alone just yet). So we get to deal with the lovely 100F weather here, in our wonderful house that’s pretty much the best house ever with a few small issues, one of which is the (not uncommon for the area) lack of a/c.

          • BeatriceC

            The high today was 97F. I’m not going to complain though because a buddy of mine in Phoenix, AZ just posted a picture of both his back yard thermometer and a weather ap showing 122.

          • MI Dawn

            OMG. My friends have a solar heater for their pool. Their natural gas heater, which they rarely ran because it cost so much, died, so they were going to replace it. Solar cost the same to install, and they use the pool so much more since as the water is much warmer. It’s been wonderful for their friends (i.e. me) to use the pool also! 🙂

          • BeatriceC

            I’d swim more often if we heated the pool in the “winter” (in scare quotes because SoCal doesn’t have areal winter, but it does get cool enough overnight to use the heater in the house for a few weeks). We really have to replace the pump sooner rather than later, and we’re thinking that when we do that we probably should do the heater part as well. And maybe the whole “drain and resurface” part too. Though I want to wait until November or so when it’s not so hot.

          • MI Dawn

            Yeah, they’re facing a “drain and repair tiles (decorative edging) on the pool. But since it’s mostly cosmetic, they are waiting for the money to do it – other things have taken priority.

          • BeatriceC

            I know that feeling! The tiles are part of what needs to be redone, but we have to do the entire pool. At least it’s not fiberglass. Fiberglass paint is a pain in the rear. MrC has been putting it off for years because of money, and I finally told him “you know I know how to do this, right? The main cost is labor. Buy the materials and I will do the work”. It didn’t dawn on him that this might be part of my skill set. Every once in a while I am thankful for having to help my father all the time on his house and all the rentals. I’ve had to resurface more than a few pools in my life.

          • MI Dawn

            Theirs is cement, also. IIRC, they think there might be a small leak, but the pool company checked when they opened the pool this spring (here in NJ you can’t keep them open year round), and said they didn’t see one.

      • guest

        I am actually white and comparatively affluent (can’t afford the car, but I don’t qualify for public assistance). I’m just not suburban. But yes. People are so quick to judge when someone’s kid is in the wrong kind of car seat, and they refuse to recognize how difficult it can be for some folks.

      • guest

        Wait, how is that child abuse? I live in one of the biggest US cities, and more often I hear about how it’s bad parenting to raise a child in the city.

        • AirPlant

          Oh, I live in a straight residential section of the city popular with young families and retirees. I feel like it is basically a slightly denser than usual suburb. but my address is not and people always assume that that means there are drug dealers on every corner and the schools are made of lead poisoning. In reality I have a nice lot in a nice neighborhood with old growth trees and great infrastructure. I don’t have as much room, but I was never much of a housekeeper anyway and I don’t think my children will suffer for living with a small bedroom.

          • guest

            Oh, okay, got it. I live near an area of the city like that, actually. We don’t live in one of the houses, but parts of the neighborhood do looks like suburbia. Their crime rate isn’t much lower than the other areas, though.

          • AirPlant

            I am lucky to live in a city where the crime rate is about as low as can be expected. We had a rash of breakins a few years back, but I assume the person was caught because they stopped and there haven’t been any since.
            .
            I really love my city and my neighborhood is just so lovely and quiet and beautiful, it is just crazy to me that there are people that think that I am giving my children a substandard existence.

          • guest

            I think it’s stupid to assume that an urban childhood is necessarily worse than a suburban or rural one. They are different, I’ll give you that. But if we’re talking about families from roughly the same socio-economic class, I don’t see how any one could be objectively called worse. My kids won’t have a backyard and the school playgrounds are pathetic here. But they will have access to more art and culture than I ever did in the suburbs. There are advantages and disadvantages to all.

          • AirPlant

            All a child really needs is food, shelter, education, and people to love them. You can get those things in so many different ways, it is ridiculous to say that one way is better than another.
            .
            That said: if my city could figure out how to make a decent school for anybody past the 8th grade that would be awesome. I would prefer not the have to homeschool.

          • guest

            I would prefer not to have to “apply” to public schools every time my children graduate from the last one, but NYC has the stupidest system I’ve ever seen.

          • AirPlant

            Omg that sounds like such bullshit!

          • guest

            It is. I won’t pretend that I understand the smallest part of it, because so far mine aren’t in school. But…we’re going to to have to enter a lottery next year for UPK spots.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Even if would could stipulate that living in the suburbs, in general, is better than living in the city, to use it as a basis for criticism is nonsense. Folks to live on the basis of a) where they want, AND b) where they CAN. How can you criticize anyone for living where are living? They are clearly living there for a reason, and that reason is as varied as there are people.

            It’s basically Bofa’s 2nd Law. All else equal, living in the burbs may be better than living in the city. But all else is never equal.

          • demodocus

            yep. Besides, not all burbs are equal, either. Mine is technically a burb but it’s identical to the adjacent portions of the city we hug against.

          • BeatriceC

            There are a few areas of downtown San Diego that are much safer and much less crime ridden than say, Spring Valley, parts of Lemon Grove and parts of La Mesa, which are all suburbs. Honestly, I felt much safer when I lived in a homeless shelter downtown than I ever would in Spring Valley.

          • Burgundy

            the Good old Spring Valley, I know what you mean. I would chose North Park over it.

          • BeatriceC

            Downtown San Diego has several neighborhoods like this. There’s houses with yards just to the east of the dense high rises, literally just separated by a street. There’s a few tucked around the downtown area. Some are relatively nice neighborhoods, some are not.

    • mythsayer

      I feel you, and I’m always on the look out for things that make traveling easier.

      Safety first (pretty sure it’s that brand) makes a booster seat that doubles as a kid’s back pack. So it’s hollow inside and the kid can stuff toys and clothes and whatever else he/she wants and then carry it like a back pack. It’s light. My five year old (at the time, now six) was able to carry it, no problem. Obviously you can’t use it on the plane as a seat, but it’s not necessary on planes anyway unless you have an infant, in which case you wouldn’t be complaining about carrying booster seats along, lol.

      So anyway, I think it is good up to like 85 pounds…at least 75, so that might make traveling easier. That way your child can carry his or her own booster seat along with his or her other items. Less for you to carry, and of course it can be taken on the plane as a carry on item, just like any other backpack.

      Also, the bubble bum seats are super useful for traveling. They are blow up car seats. You can easily take two with you ANYWHERE. We took ours into NYC and used it in taxis as well as at a Broadway show as a booster seat.

      So that’s two options that might make it easier on you, travel wise.

      • guest

        When my kids are bigger we’ll definitely look into a more portable booster seat, but we’re not there yet. I’ve got the most portable car seat that works for their age, but it needs a top tether to install, and sometimes they’re just not there. It’s immensely frustrating. We have relatives we could visit by train…except we’d still need a short car ride from the train station to where we’re visiting, and I just can’t carry two car seats of any kind, plus keep two children in line and at least one diaper bag of snacks and things.

        • Kelly

          That really sucks. I have a van but I am always looking for the narrowest car seats because I like to have all three together. The narrowest were the most expensive just like when I researched the smallest double stroller. There was one that was basically two umbrella strollers on top of each other and it was $400. Insane. I guess what I am trying to say is that the other side of that problem is that when they do come up with a solution to your problem, it will be expensive as hell. I did find the Harmony seats which are pretty small and you can just use the seat belt if you have it without the latch. I have quit using the latch system because it is hard as all get out to undo and then redo when I have to rearrange seats.

          • guest

            I like the IMMI Go for a narrow car seat. It is not the cheapest, but it was under $400. It’s nice and compact, and as long as you have that top tether it’s an easy install. It’s only for forward-facing, though.

          • Kelly

            I have looked at both. I really hate side by side double strollers and was looking for something that would last awhile. It might be a good idea for when we travel though. The IMMI I had looked at but could not find a place to buy it and my price point was about $100. I would like to have one of those for when we travel though. I would have to convince the hubs to buy yet another car seat. I really can’t wait until all my kids are out of car seats. I feel like it is a constant battle.

          • guest

            I have both an inline and a side-by-side double. One is good for some things, the other is good for other things. The Kinderwagon Hop seems to be the only lightweight collapsible double inline, but I haven’t tried it out. Side-by-sides are much easier to steer (though not the AmorosO, because it is a cheap piece of junk – but when I need lightweight for stairs and airports, it works), but tandems fit through doorways. Since I had my twins, we’ve had five different strollers of various types, and it’s absurd. I can’t wait until mine are out of the stroller and the car seats.

          • Kelly

            I always thought that parents who bought a million stroller were nuts but I get it now. We have gone through four strollers and three carriers for three kids. We also have four car seats right now. I have looked online for hours to figure out what will be the new best thing for our family. Plus, all of this stuff takes up so much room. I keep a lot of stuff in the car because dependent on where I am and what I need to do, I use different things. Sometimes I wish I was a parent in the 70s and could do things like leave my kids in the car and not worry about car seats as much.

          • guest

            Yep. All of this, exactly.

          • guest

            Oh, and the cheapest double stroller I found was the AmorosO twin umbrella. Runs about $60. Cheap PoS, but weighs about 17 pounds and gives me the freedom to take my kids on a plane by myself, because it’s easy to gate check (and I don’t so much care if they damage it at that price point).

    • cookiebaker

      In vans, the top tether attaches under the back of the seat, so you have to run it under the head rest, down the back and clip it to a tiny cut-out in the metal under the seat. Was it a really old van? I thought all vehicles manufactured after 2002 were supposed to have the LATCH system?

      • guest

        I looked everywhere, it wasn’t there, and the driver had never heard of it. The airport shuttle vans are designed for commercial use and may not have them. As far as I could tell it was not that old.

      • QuantumMechanic

        Latch is only good to 65lb, though.

        • guest

          But by that point kids are big enough for a booster, many of which are more portable. If we can get to booster ageI think we’ll have more mobility. At least I am lucky enough to have children on the tall side.

    • demodocus

      Those tethers, ugh.
      We did get car seats but it is a hassle even if you have 2 parents and 1 kid. My son’s used his more in the last 5 months than the previous 2 years or so (because of ob appointments). Then there’s storing and bringing it up and down to your walk up and trying to figure out how to put this behemoth into A’s car today, B’s car next week, and C’s car a month later.

      • guest

        Yep. And it’s no longer so easy for parents to help each other out by adding one or two more kids to their car. This doesn’t affect me with no car, but it seems a shame that we can’t come up with *something* to give parents more flexibility with car usage.

    • Mattie

      are carseats required in taxis? In the UK taxis/private hire cars/minibuses and coaches are exempt and kids under 3 can ride without a seatbelt and kids over 3 can use the adult seatbelt, cause it’s totally unreasonable to expect you to have a carseat on you at all times, especially if you don’t have a car.

      • guest

        Not required by law, but just because lawmakers couldn’t figure out a workable way to make it required. It isn’t anymore safe than your own car without a carseat, and no hospital will let you take a newborn home in a cab without a carseat.

        • Mattie

          Oh no, it’s horribly unsafe, and yeh the newborn carseat is required to take a baby home from hospital (to the point of idiocy IMO) but a newborn carseat isn’t as challenging as a big seat for an older child

          • guest

            Not until you have two of them to deal with, anyway!

          • Alexicographer

            I don’t know how big your older child is, but have you looked at the Safe Rider Travel Vest (3 years/30 lbs and up)? We used one for my son for awhile (on trips, in our case) and liked it just fine. And it’s small/flexible enough to stuff into a largish-sized purse or a small backpack.

          • Mattie

            I don’t have kids (yet) or a car haha but that could be useful for OP 🙂

    • Zornorph

      May I introduce you to this amazing contraption? It has been the biggest godsend to a frequent traveler (and single parent) like myself.
      https://www.amazon.com/GO-GO-TRAVELMATE-Travel-Stroller-Toddler/dp/B000JJK9EY/ref=sr_1_2_s_it?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1466371527&sr=1-2&keywords=go+go+babyz

      • guest

        I’ve heard of those, but so far they don’t help me. One parent, two kids who both need car seats AND a stroller while in the airport, because they think walking two blocks to the grocery store is equivalent to the Trail of Tears. Right now we are using CARES harnesses for on the plane, checking one car seat, and renting/borrowing the second wherever we go. I’m due to take them on a small trip in two weeks where no one will meet me at the airport, and I have some concerns about how I’ll get two kids + stroller + luggage TO our rental car (the company is located at the airport, but you still have to get all that stuff to the car somehow. My plan is to move luggage 10 feet, go back and move kids 10 feet, repeat until someone takes pity on us).

        • Zornorph

          I simply use this as the stroller in the airport. I put Kiddo in it and it functions perfectly that way. It would not be at all hard to put both kids in their seats and push them in these, even with a carry-on over your shoulder (though a backpack is more ideal, I’ve found). You would probably want to push one and pull the other, but it’s quite doable.

          • guest

            Perhaps you are more agile than I am these days, I don’t know – I wouldn’t attempt it without being able to try it out first. I don’t see any way to pull two of them, plus our carry-on bags, particularly down the aisle of the plane. I rarely see pre-boarding for parents with small children. I did find this double version: https://www.amazon.com/TRAVELMATE-DELUXE-Double-Stroller-toddler/dp/B0154FFFI2. Had I known about it when we outgrew the snap-n-go, I might have sprung for it, but at this point I think I’ll just stuff my kids with junk so they hit 40 pounds at age four!

            It’s moot anyway, since it doesn’t work with the car seat we have and I don’t have room to store two of those big toddler seats in my apartment all the times we aren’t flying.