Seat belts - what the hell is wrong with these parents?

Allow me to vent, please…

Are some poeple stupid enough to think that in the event of an accident they’ll be able to keep their kids from flying through the windshield and going SPLAT on the street?

Recently I’ve seen:

A mother holding her infant in her lap in the front seat of a moving car :wally
4+ kids in the back seat of a compact car, none of them belted in :wally
An entire family in the car, nobody strapped in :wally
Young kids in the back not in car seats when they should have been :wally
An infant in a car seat that wasn’t belted to the car :wally
A car seat mounted in the front passenger seat with an airbag, with room in the back seat :wally

Are that many people that stupid? Just once I’d like to see one of these people arrested for endangering the welfare of a child. Or indicted for involuntary manslaughter when one of these kids is killed in a car accident…

As my friend said when seeing a child on a parent’s lap in the front seat:

Running with scissors, huh?

My wife does that on occassion with our son, but only when we’re a few blocks from our destination. Needless to say, I drive really carefully during those times…

How do you know everyone else will be driving carefully, too? I take no risks with my daughter’s life - she is always securely belted into her chair. At least then, if something does happen, I will know that I did everything in my power to protect her… would you be able to claim that? I don’t think so!

You live in NY. Can I ask what the penalties are there for drivers who have unrestrained passengers in their car?

Here, for every unrestrained passenger there is both a fine and a los of point on your licence. We have laws which detail the approved restraints in which children of certain ages MUST be carried, and as you might expect both the fines and the demerit points ar higher the younger the child.

Here in the Sunshine state the Florida Highway Patrol is going on a crusade to get people to buckle up. Starting today through the next week or so they will automatically ticket the driver of a car that has any unrestrained occupants. They even have a slogan “Click it or ticket”. The problem with seat belt laws and similar laws is that you can’t legislate common sense. Stupid people do stupid things and sometimes they die. It’s a shame that children suffer because of stupid parents.


If the passenger is 16 year or older, the passenger can be fined up to $50. If the passengers are under 16, it’s up to $100, plus a possible 3 points on your license (I assume that’s per incident, not per child). Drivers can be pulled over for failing to wear a seatbelt, or for having unsecured passengers

However, I’ve never seen nor heard of anyone being pulled over for such a thing. Personally, I’d rather they concern themselves with seat belt enforcement than setting up speed traps on roads with little traffic.

Two days ago, I was behind a guy whose son (presumably) had his entire head out the window. I’d guess the boy was about 8 or 9 years old.

In my driver’s ed class in high school, our instructor gave me an example of why it’s ludicrous to believe that you can restrain yourself in a car accident by bracing yourself with your arms against the dash, and it’s stuck with me for the past 16 years:

Try this at home if you dare. Consider that your average person’s top running speed is around 10 miles an hour, give or take. Hold your arms straight out in front of you and run as fast as you can into a brick wall and see if your outstretched arms will prevent you from slamming your face into the brick. Doesn’t work out too well, does it?

If you can’t brace yourself with your arms in a 10 mile an hour impact, what makes you think you’ll be able to in a 40 or 50 mile an hour impact? The same holds true for holding a child in your lap. The strength of your arms just isn’t going to hold up to the force of 1.5 tons of steel ramming into something at anything more than a few miles per hour.

yeah I seem to remember that at 25mph you would have to be able to benchpress over 600lbs to stop yourself from hitting the dash.
and of course have time to brace yourself as well.

This past October, my mom and I drove a rental mini-van to Chicago from Kansas to pick up my sister and her 5-month-old twins for a visit to Kansas (my sister and the babies were supposed to fly in, but 9/11 and all…).

I did most of the driving, since my mom is 72 and my sister was exhausted, and Honey those two were constantly popping one baby or the other out of car seats for changes, feedings, or just to get him/her to stop crying and/or go to sleep.

I was a white-knuckled, nervous fucking wreck.

At one point, my niece wouldn’t stop crying AT ALL, so my mom passed her up to my sister in the front passenger seat (ON THE HIGHWAY, AT NIGHT). After a couple of minutes, she stopped crying, but my sister didn’t want to put her back in the car seat, for fear she’d start up again.

I couldn’t take it, and ended up taking the next exit and stopping the car in a parking lot until my sister put the baby back into the car seat.

My mom (who NEVER belted her kids in–you didn’t have to in the 60s and 70s–and didn’t lose any of them), and my sister thought I was being kind of a freak about it, but there is NO WAY I would ever be able to live with myself if…

Anyway, the trip took much longer, what with my stopping the car every time someone had to muck around with a baby, but I slept much better…

I’ve actually gone up to people I’ve seen holding infants in the front seat and gave them the speech:

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to bother you, but I am or used to be (depending on the date I made the speech) an EMT, and holding your baby in the front seat with you while driving is dangerous. I’ve seen cases where children were hurled through the windshield in accidents and were killed because they weren’t in child seats. You really should put your baby in an infant seat”

I’ve gotten all kinds of reactions to that speech, from the embarrassed parent who then puts the kid in a seat to the “F— off.”

Full disclosure: While I was a New York State licensed EMT, I have never personally witnessed such an accident such as the one I described in “the speech.” But my audience didn’t need to know that…

Zev Steinhardt

Wow, you must run fast. :wink:

And kudos to you, BTW… don’t let the “Fuck Yous” get you down.

Hey, I didn’t say I liked the situation. But if it boils down to driving three blocks in silence vs. having a long drawn-out argument with a tempermental spouse, c’est la vie.

:rolleyes: Save the self-righteous viritol for someone else, willya? At the very least, consider switching to decaf.

Why buckle up? The car companies have PLENTY of money.

I noticed you didn’t answer the question. Do you really, truly believe that you can protect your child if someone else drives stupidly? What’re you going to do, put an arm in front of him?

Have you ever had a low-speed accident? They’re far worse than you think. We hit an SUV that pulled out in front of us. Tiny Arkansas town, low traffic area, day after Christmas. We were going 35mph and might have slowed to 30mph when we hit. Head-on crash for us, side impact for her. Airbag deployed. Car was totalled. And without a doubt, anything I’d been holding was forced out of my hands and into the windshield.

If your child dies because your wife was holding him while you were driving, can you live with yourself?

For some reason, it seems I’ve been “volunteered” to be the stand-in for Bad Parents everywhere… :rolleyes:

Protect him completely? No. But then again, only the most hopeless optimistic person will believe there’s a way to be 100% safe in a moving vehicle.

Despite the assumptions some folks are making here, I am a strong advocate of seatbelts and car seats – heck, I walked away from a freeway accident at 50+ MPH because I was wearing my belt. And 99% of the time, I make sure everyone I’m driving with is buckled up and secured.

But for the other 1% of the time, where home is three blocks away, the wife is tired, and the baby’s cranky, I’ll chance the extra risk of letting her carry him as I make the short trip home, just to soothe everyone’s nerves. And by keeping myself extra-alert to traffic conditions, I can offset the extra risk.

Yeah, well, SUVs are a menace to society anyway. :slight_smile:

I think it’d be easier to deal with than being nagged by self-righteous strangers in a public forum. :wink:

Life is full of risks, some easily avoidable. Everyone makes their own judgment about which risks to run.

Ever take your kid to a baseball game? Did you make them wear a helmet? Could you live with your self if they got hit by a foul ball and died?

Ever let your kid walk to school? Could you live with yourself if they got hit by a car on the way?

Should you let your kid: ride a bicycle? swim in ocean waves? jump off a rope swing at the river? play on the football team?

Kids should be belted in. Adults should be belted in. But just because accidents happen, you shouldn’t berate a person, or even really give it a second thought, if on infrequent occasions a seatbelt is off for a few blocks in a residential area.

Why the fuck do you care if some idiot doesn’t strap their sprog into a child-seat or seatbelt? Are you afraid of being struck by some glass-studded toddler propelled out of a windshield at a hundred and twenty miles an hour?
Seatbelts are a choice. It’s natural selection.