Child safety and contacting ex of ex's new boy friend

Here’s the situation that I’ve come across today. My ex wife and I have two children, 4 and 2. Her new boyfriend has primary custody of two children 7 and 3.

We live in Maryland and the car seat laws are that children under 8 must be in a booster seat at minimum and that children under 5 need to be in a car seat.

I’ve been told that recently my ex-wife, both children, her boyfriend and his children were all in the same car. My oldest was riding in the 7 year old’s booster seat, not allowed, and the 7 year old was riding between the car seats and not in any type of booster seat.

This really upsets me as it’s not safe for my children to be riding in a booster seat and for his oldest to not be riding in anything. I’ve talked to my ex about this and she tells me it’s none of my business at all. I contend it is my business since it’s my children. I also think that his ex should know that he’s not keeping their child safe.

I’m wondering if I should contact his ex-wife and express my concern about how he’s putting their children at risk, or if I should let it go. I know my ex will be pissed and she’ll think that I’m just trying to get at her. I don’t give a shit about her and only want to make sure my kids, and oddly enough, his kids are safe.

Should I be worried or should I just drop it?

I think you have to pick your battles. Encourage your children to wear their seatbelts, to insist on them. At two and four they are probably capable of fastening the buckle, or nearly. Teach them to do the right thing, try to avoid having a big dramatic scene about it. Good luck.

Let it go Edward…let it go.

You may truely believe that this is about your children and not your ex, and that may even be the actual truth. But it smells of trying to control things that you no longer have control of.

Kids see all and know more than you might think and the stress that is added to their already stressful life, as children of divorce, by little criticisms of their mother, is not productive. Do not let them see you as critical of her. It places a choice upon them that they cannot make.

Your kids don’t need this sort of thing. What they need, and what will make them happy and well adjusted, is cooperative parents who don’t appear to hate each other.

“Things are just done a little differently at mommy’s house than at dad’s.” That is all the explanation the kids need.

And that is what you need to tell yourself too.

Define “not safe.”

As an old fart who grew up when there was no such thing as a (car) booster seat or child’s car seat, at a time when essentially no one in the U.S. had ever heard of a bicycle helmet, I’d say “unsafe” way overstates the case. You think kindergarteners on school buses are in booster seats? The law is overly oppressive to satisfy the loud-squawking Chicken Littles who subscribe to Nanny State philosophy. What’s the next step, calling the cops because they drove 31 mph in a 30 zone?

No, you should not be worried because what they’re doing is reasonable and not as unsafe as the law might make it sound.

Yes, you should drop it because there’s really nothing to be gained by pursuing the issue, and it would just make you look like an ass.

I and most kids in my age group were allowed to sit on our father’s laps and pretend to drive. I’m with Gary T above; I think a lot of what we call “safety” are reactions to PC knee jerks. I wonder if any kids in school buses are required to wear seats and, if they are, how well are those rules enforced?

OP, it sounds as if you are simply trying to stir up trouble. I’d drop it like a hot rock if I were you. Especially if I wanted to continue to see my children.

At the most, talk to your ex about the safety implications. Maybe you could dig up some research and show it to her. The more things you can communicate directly with her about, instead of turning every little thing into a federal case, the better.

Forget kindergartners, one series of public safety commericals recommends that kids up to 4’9" should be in a booster seat. For me, that was until the end of 9th grade :rolleyes:

Child safety seats weren’t invented until the early 60s and the first law requiring their use didn’t come about until 1978 (in Tennessee), with other states taking up until 1985 to also require them. Laws requiring kids older than four be restrained in a booster seat are even newer than that…have there been many studies showing the safety of booster seats for kids over the age of four rather than being restrained by a seatbelt?

The seat belt does cut across the neck for shorter people, and has been well-known to cause injuries in accidents.

I understand the OP’s concern- I am a stickler for car seats and booster seats, especially at the ages of his kids. His concerns are valid. But are they worth making a scene about, even involving other people and pitching what is sure to be seen as a hissy fit by a bitter ex? Probably not.

If you’re all that concerned, why not get them a car seat and a booster seat as a late Christmas present?

I agree. If he was taking them places in a cab, he wouldn’t have to provide *any *safety seats at all (at least in my state).

It’s a legal issue far more than it is a genuine safety issue. Let him take his lumps from the cops if they see it and ticket him.

No help to you, just an anecdote.

Two Christmases ago I pulled up behind a car at the traffic lights near home. There were 3 little kids, totally unrestrained, standing on the back seat facing me. I thought that the woman driving may not know so I got out of the car to tell her. As soon as I did a female cop 2 cars back jumped out of her car and asked me what I was doing. I explained and she said, “thanks but we will look after it.” I guess she was thinking road rage.

When I drove off they had the woman at the side of the road. Since in NSW we have double demerit points at holiday times, she would have instantly lost her licence if they booked her.

No accounting for bad luck eh?

Child Passenger Safety - Kids, Cars and Crashes

I find it hard to believe people are defending the non-seatbelt “I drove in my daddy’s lap and nothing happened to me” philosophy. Yes, you survived but many thousands of children (and adults) did not. Safety systems now in place in cars do save lives. It only takes a minute of Googling to find this out.

Additionally, kindergarteners (and others) are not in restraints in school buses because buses are essentially very safe. They are big, visible and slow. Annually there are less than 10 deaths a year of children riding in school buses. Statistically, there’s not much lower you can go.

As to Edward’s question, should he contact the ex-wife’s boyfriend’s ex-wife, I say not. That is stepping beyond where you should go in terms of harmony’s sake for the children. When safety is an issue, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you cannot control what goes on at her house. Tell your children to buckle up, tell her you want them in safety seats. And then let it go. It’s what I had to do as well.

What Ellen Cherry said. (It frequently amazes me how much we discount the very real danger of car accidents, given how much we worry about other, less statistically significant threats.)

I also agree with E. C. re the OP’s questions: Yes, you are right to be worried, but also yes, you should drop it, after clarifying to your kids that when they’re with Daddy, they buckle up right.

And cabs?

There’s no indication that the kids weren’t belted, just that the 7 year old wasn’t in a booster (sounds like he was seated between two child safety seats, although it’s a little hard to tell from the OP’s wording) and the 4 year old was. 4 year olds in my state (although not the OP’s) can certainly be in a booster seat, as long as they’re of the proper weight, about 40 pounds. If the 7 year old was in a lap belt because all the shoulder belts were taken up, then that’s legal here, too, without a booster (you shouldn’t use a booster with only a lap belt; a lap belt alone is safer than a lap belt with a booster, apparently). So I’m not seeing the “safety” issue there. It’s safe in Illinois, but not safe in Maryland?

Jesus tapdancing Christ, yes it’s a big deal! I’d fucking record her conversations (if allowed in your jurisdiction) and use them to get more custody of the kids. What a low life loser. It’s the #1 way kids your age die, of course it’s a big f’ing deal! Don’t contact the ex of the boyfriend, that’s too much.

But talk to your lawyer and talk to their pediatrician (as in, tell them expressly what’s going on). Have your ex take them to their next appointments. Have those appointments on your calendar and call the day before to have the pediatrician reminded about the carseat thing - if they’re halfway decent, they will take the issue very seriously and shame your ex into not pulling that shit again.

If you get a relevant 3rd party involved, the pediatrician is aware of what’s going on and could be useful in the future.

First of all, I’d like to say to everyone that the safety of every child is the business of every adult. This idea of “not your business” just doesn’t apply.

That said, it sounds like the driver did the best he could in a difficult circumstance. He prioritized the safety equipment as well as possible given the size/weight of the kids and equipment available.

If he was in the habit of letting his child ride free, or didn’t even have a booster for him, I’d say make the call and damn the torpedoes. But in this case I like the suggestion to just present them with an extra set of equipment. This way you have demonstrated your concern, and your commitment to the safety of the children, and taken the high road at the same time.

It also is the most likely way to keep your children safe, which is the primary concern.

You need to concern yourself with your children and try to deal with it with your ex. Trying to contact a third person over this goes beyond anything you should be doing. You are not the parent of everybody. And just a guess, if the other woman does not have custody of her kids then I would bet she is not very responsible anyway and it wouldn’t get you anywhere.

I also don’t see how something can be perfectly safe in one state but cause for OMG!!11! panic and surreptitious conversation recording in another.

Regardless of that matter, one thing is clear: contacting the ex of your ex’s new boyfriend is stepping way, way, way beyond boundaries. You’re not worried about those near-random kids as much as you are about stirring the pot. Your post smells of it, I’m sorry to say.

Also basically you told your ex that someone is spying on her and reporting back to you about how bad a parent she is being. Is is any wonder she told you its none of your business?

Honestly? Both. I mean, I think the worry is very legitimate. Safety seats and restraints save lives. But there’s not a lot you can effectively do. You can “do” a lot, but it won’t be likely to work.

So, continue to bring it up quietly with your ex when you have the opportunity. Otherwise, just try not to worry too much about a situation out of your control.