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

Helmets and safety suits would also greatly reduce the risk of injury or death. Why is no one up in arms about the lack of helmets and safety suits being worn?

The consensus is not to contact anyone, which I probably wouldn’t have done.

As I have said I have brought it up to my ex, more then once as it’s happened a few times from what my daughter has told me. Now my kids want to do it in my car, which is a big no. However, when I do bring it up all I get is “I know what I’m doing”.

So I guess I’ll drop it and hope she doesn’t get into an accident.

Ellen Cherry, I have a lot of respect for you as a poster, so I’m a little surprised to see this. As several great men have said, there are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. It is possible that you are correct that modern automobile restraint legislation increases safety for children. But the quoted statistics, while they sound quite persuasive, do not necessarily support this conclusion upon close scrutiny. I don’t really care that much about the child safety seat issue, but I think rational debate is incredibly important. So let’s discuss the significance of your quoted statistics.

[ul][li]Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans age 1 - 34.[/ul][/li][/quote]
This one is particularly misleading. The age range in this statistic cuts out infant mortality and, notably, drowning (by starting at age 1), includes inexperienced teen driving (by including the 15-20 range), and also includes the range at which drunk driving is most likely[sup][1][/sup] to occur (by including the 21-34 range). Your argument is that children benefit from new safety systems in cars. But this statistic is too broad to support that argument. A better statistic would be that automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for children under 15,[sup][2][/sup] but that statistic would still be somewhat misleading, because the two leading causes of auto fatalities are speeding, and driver impairment/distraction. Failure to use proper safety equipment is only third on the list.[sup][3][/sup]

But more importantly, it does not address your central point, which seems to be that modern equipment makes children safer than when we were children. (“Safety systems now in place in cars do save lives.” Underlining mine.) Are accidents less often fatal now than they were a generation ago? Perhaps, but your statistics are silent on this issue.

[ul][li]On average each day, seven children age 14 and under are killed, and 866 more are injured, in motor vehicle crashes. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, 1999)[/ul][/li][/quote]
Does not take into account how many are not. It just pulls on the heartstrings by pointing out the tragedy of how many are. And it again does not further your point that modern safety features save lives. For all this statistic tells us, modern booster seats might be causing more fatalities.

[ul][li]Fifty-one percent of the children under age 5 who died in traffic crashes in 1998 were unrestrained. (NHTSA, 1999)[/ul][/li][/quote]
This one’s a whopper. It would be meaningful only if it were paired with another statistic noting what percentage of children under age 5 were unrestrained in day-to-day driving. Imagine, for example, a population of 10,000 children, where 99% of them (i.e. 9900) drive around unrestrained, and 1% (i.e. 100) wear proper restraints. Suppose 100 children are killed in accidents one year. Fifty-one of those children weren’t wearing seatbelts, and 49 were. So just under half of the properly restrained population was killed, but only 0.5% of the unrestrained population.

Obviously, the real numbers are not so extreme, but without them, we have no context. All we have is a heartwrenching image of a small child, dying by the side of a cold dark road, looking up at you with his big doe eyes, and saying “why mommy? Why didn’t you vote for legislation that would have required you to use a safety seat that meets the requirements of a federal administrative agency? Why?”

[ul][li]Child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71 percent for infants under one year and by 54 percent for toddlers age 1-4. (NHTSA, 1999) [/ul][/li][/quote]
Ok, this stat is pretty good. The only quibble is that auto accidents are not the leading cause of death for infants under one year (that would be drowning/asphyxiation), so leading with a large percentage like that is a little bit disingenuous. But that’s a minor quibble – this is a solid fact, the only one you present that supports your argument.

These days, facts are easy to dig up. As you point out, statistics are easy to google. What separates the intelligent from the dimwitted is no longer a command of facts, but a command of reason. I do not disagree with your conclusion in this matter. I only hate to see it put forward without a logical argument.

To the OP - Drop it. It sounds to the outside observer like a power play. Custody determinations are never final, and judges HATE parents who play these sorts of games.

Yes, they should have added that data.

9% children aged 1-4 unrestrained in 1998. Infants were 3%.

9% of the population, 51% of the deaths.

See how much more compelling the argument is when you use sound reasoning?

My state has a program whereby you can call to report an unrestrained child in a moving vehicle- 1-800-505-BABY- and, given the license plate of the driver, they will send them a letter written by a parent who has lost an unrestrained child in an accident, and other information about child restraints. It’s probably a long shot, but you could check to see if your state has something like this and report your ex to them.

Hey, shaming people works. I like Alice’s idea. I hope you’ll consider the pediatrician too.

Edward I totally get your anger. Your ex- wife is way out of line and extremely irresponsible. I would be pissed as hell. Now, what to do, that is the question. My suggestion is to contact your lawyer and have him draft up a letter instructing her to follow the state safety laws at all times when the kids are in her care. This puts it on the record so you can take legal action next time.

I wonder why this dude has primary custody of his kids. That would indicate to me that you may not want to be dealing with her. So best to just keep it about your kids.

If your ex-wife has primary physical custody of your kids - as you’ve indicated elsewhere - it will be a lot easier for her to cut you off from them than for you to dictate her parenting. Don’t tick her off over something like this.

Don’t do anything at all about it, and in the future don’t bring this type of thing up with her.

Edward The Head, have you ever seen the seven-year-old? Your state law does not flatly say all kids seven and under must be in a booster seat, but “7 years and younger and either less than 57 inches or 65 pounds or less” must be in a booster seat, and that kids that are either older or larger than that do not have to be. If he’s taller or heavier than average for a kid his age, this is a non-issue. cite

I’d rather go with what the state of Maryland says.

“Maryland’s current law (effective June 30, 2008) requires that children under eight years old to ride in an appropriate child restraint, unless the child is 4’9” or taller or weighs more than 65 pounds.”

Okay, does he meet either criteria for exemption? I’d hate for you to make an issue of it (though it seems like you’re leaning against doing so) only to have this info spitefully thrown back into your face if he’s big enough not to need a booster seat.

??Huh?? Rather go with?


Let’s do some math.
1 Boyfriend
1 Ex wife
2 children
2 kids belonging to boyfriend
6 people total

What kind of vehicle are they driving?
If it is a sedan with front bucket seats there are five legal seating positions
If it is a sedan with a front bench seat there probably are 6 legal seating positions, but I highly doubt the center front is recommended for a child.
If it is an SUV it might have 5 (problem) or 7 in which case we just need an extra booster or two.
A passenger van should also be good to go.
If it is a pickup truck then who the hell knows (legal seating positions are all over the map on a pickup. Might be 2,4, 5, or 6)
If it is a sedan with a bucket or bench front seat there is a problem that no additional child safety equipment will solve. They need a different car.

Probably plenty but an interesting factoid I got from an insurance adjuster many years ago ( and since verified by some safety engineers at a car company) Children not riding in a booster seat have the shoulder belt ride across either their neck or face, this encourages them to either put the belt under them arm, or behind their back. both of these actions impair the effectiveness of the seat belt.
Also seat belts are designed to stretch in an accident when hit by the weight of an adult. This stretching of the belt makes the deceleration of an adult more gradual and safer.
With a child there are two problems.

  1. They don’t have the mass to make the belt stretch, so to them it is like hitting a steel band. (ouch!)
  2. Due to their size the belt rides across their stomach not across their hips like it would on an adult (remember what they say on an airplane safety announcement? “Low and tight across your hips”)
    combine these two problems (across the stomach, and not enough mass to stretch) and you wind up with a kid with a ruptured spleen or other serious internal injuries.
    Very easy to bleed out from a ruptured spleen.

Randy Seltzer, thank you for that analysis. Seriously. I get a little emotional on this topic.