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Need advice about carseat issue (Half-Vent)
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cheeezie25 posted:
I'll start by saying that I have a pretty good relationship with my MIL. Her and my DH's stepfather absolutely ADORE DS and are just really good people who are very involved with us, etc. They always offer to babysit (and we always let them!), and it really does benefit everyone involved. They get quality time with DS, DS loves them, and DH and I get very needed breaks to do "grown-up" stuff lol.

My MIL just sent me and email asking when they can have DS for a sleepover again. Normally, the answer would be "whenever!", but here is the thing... I am starting to become really really concerned with their carelessness regarding carseat safety. In the past, they turned Ds FFing before I was ready to do so (at 16 months). I wasn't happy about it, but I let it go because I knew based on how tall he was it wouldn't be long before we had to turn him around as well. I've also noticed a couple instances where, after switching their carseat to a different car, it wasn't installed correctly or tight enough, but I always (I hope) caught it before it became a problem. But the last time we went out with them... I just can't get over this!...

We were coming home from picking up dinner at a supermarket to eat at our apt. My SFIL had strapped DS in, and my MIL was sitting between DS and I in the backseat. We were on the highway, when I glanced over at DS and saw that, not only was his right carseat strap completely twisted up, the bottom part of the strap wasn't even buckled!!! I was just so horrified!!! I tried to stay calm, but I was like "omg, his strap isn't buckled, we need to buckle that!!" (I let the twisted strap go at that moment since we were already on the highway and I didn't want to unbuckle him anymore to fix it). So my MIL kinda rolls her and is like, "ok, I'll fix it eagle eye..." UGHHH!!! This was like 2 weeks ago, but I am still just so angry about it! I mean, what if we were in an accident!!! It has just been a constant thing that they roll their eyes and act like I am crazy because I am really adament about using the carseat correctly, but that is NOT something I will budge on!

Now I am just to the point where I no longer trust that they will make sure DS is secured in the car correctly, and considering they like to take him around to all of their friends' houses when he is over their house to visit, this is a huge issue and makes me not want to let them babysit him anymore. I don't want this to be the case, but I just can't in good conscience allow DS to ride in their car knowing that they don't take anything I say about how to correctly use a carseat seriously ... what do I do? I don't want to start a fight over something stupid, but I don't think this is stupid! How do I address this, and in particular, how do I respond to her email? Help!!
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jlynnpaine responded:
I don't blame you at all for being upset and I think if you don't address it now, it's only going to continue and get worse. My mom has done a couple of things with DD's seat that were wrong and I made sure to point them out at the time that I noticed them and make sure that the next time she was going to take her in the car, to remind her about whatever the issue was. You cannot be too careful with carseat safety. Something can happen SO fast.

The way I would handle it is by saying that yes, you'd be thrilled to have them watch him but that you'd like to go over his carseat safety again just because of past incidents. Then go through and remind them that straps can't be twisted, to double check that things are latched, etc. If they get snotty about it or something just say that since things have happened in the past you just wanted to bring this to their attention to make sure that they're buckling him in properly. The smallest slip up could have huge consequences and they would feel awful if something were to happen to him.

Confrontations like this suck but this is not something I would let go at all. The fact that it's still bothering you weeks later (as well it should) means that it's something that really does matter and you're justified in bringing it up. If it would be easier, have DH go through it with them. Good luck girl.
 
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sarahaguirre responded:
It is not stupid to bring this up. DH and I have an agreement. I handel my looney famiy and he handels his when it comes time for needed "talks" about something. I would have your DH sit down and talk to them about it. I mean it isn't because you don't trust them at all or have some kind of vendetta agianst them it's just because one issue that happens to be a BIGGY. I wouldn't budge either when it comes to this. To me it's scary and I know you know why. I had a very very hard time flipping Stella FF'ing because of our accident.

What we did with our IL's was buy them their own carseat. We bought a cheaper one I think it's the Cosco one that's like 50 bucks. We installed it in the car they use the most and told them not to move it and if they needed it moved to a different car to let us know ahead of time so we could do it. They were ok with it mainly I think is because they didn't want to deal with it anyway.

My advice is to have Chris bring it up fairly soon. Soon they'll start to get the hint they're being avoided especially since they normally get to see B often. Then it'll be more ackward if they put you on the spot asking what's wrong. I think it would be best to do it on your terms because you guys are the parents and what you say goes.
Me (27) DH (27) DD Stella born 3/10/2009 Baby Boy's EDD 1/28/11
 
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leftcoastgirl responded:
Tough situation! For starters, if it were me, I'd make sure I was always the one who installed the car seat in your MIL's car. Car seats are complicated - especially for people who are a bit older and don't have experience with them - so if you install it yourself, you know it's in right. That just leaves you with the job of fastening your DS into the seat. I think for that one, I'd just say something like, "I know you probably think I'm overly cautious, but this is something that's really, really important to me. So, for my peace of mind, could you please make sure the buckles are done this way."

Good luck!
 
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jlynnpaine replied to leftcoastgirl's response:
"I know you probably think I'm overly cautious, but this is something that's really, really important to me. So, for my peace of mind, could you please make sure the buckles are done this way."

I think that's a great way to say it. Very direct but also not as likely for the ILs to take offense at.
 
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ReptileGirl responded:
Previous posters were spot on....but I will add...If it was me I'd sit them down in front of the computer to watch some of the carseat accidents that have occured due to improper strapping/belting. I liken it to a teenager watching accident vids during driver's ed. It's a wake up call. I can remember being in cars before the seat belt laws (yeah, yeah...don't mock my age...hehe)....our parents used to let us ride in the back of trucks in the open beds. It was insanely fun...but can you imagine that nowadays??? Times have changed...cars go faster and there are more of them....so much more dangerous. You have to do whatever it takes to keep your loved ones safe!
 
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sarahann1978 replied to ReptileGirl's response:
Reptile Girl- I remember as a kid in the front seat my Mom's arm clothes lining me being my only restraint! We also had a station wagon so for longer trips the back part was my playground.

I agree, I would have a zero tolerance. They come from a generation of no car seats, and I get the same from my FIL, no time to mess with the carseat. Luckily my inlaws live far away and when we visit with them we are always there to do the strapping and buckling.

I would also agree that I would lean on DH to make the effort with them, especially if they already sense that it's you that is being overly concerned. I think he needs to be firm and show them that he is also as concerned as you are to get the point across with no mistake.
Sarah (31), DH(29), DS (Jan. 09) sarahaburger.blogspot.com
 
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cheeezie25 responded:
Thanks everyone! I'm glad all of you guys see where I'm coming from too... I knew I wasn't crazy about the seriousness of the carseat issue! LOL

I do think you guys are right on getting DH on board with addressing the issue. He tends to be really laid back, so I always seem to get stuck dealing with the crappy issues since it gets to me much more haha. He was sitting in the front seat at the time and pointed out somewhat angrily that the straps were twisted as well, so I know he doesn't like it either... he just doesn't get infuriated about this kinda stuff the way I do, which is probably a good thing lol. But yeah, I think if we both address this issue to my inlaws together it will be better, because it will really send home the message that we mean business.

I think I'll bring it up with DH tonight, and then we can either call or email my MIL after DS goes to bed. I like the wording you used too, Leftcoastgirl. Non-threatening but to the point. I think videos are also a good... I probably should ahve done that with the FFing issue before, but now that is a moot point given that he is FFing in all the cars (kid is a freakin weed!).

The extra seat is also a good idea. I think getting them to use the straps correctly will take alot less effort than geting them to install the seat correctly everytime they switch cars, so I should probably just eliminate the problem by getting them a second seat. Not that either one of them is particularly frail, but it is a pain in the you-know-what to get those seats in there as tight as they are supposed to be! I actually think I saw that Cosco one on sale for like $40 in Target! But I don't know if that sale expired already, we'll see...

I'll let you guys know how it all goes, thanks again!
 
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roni090909 replied to cheeezie25's response:
I just saw this yesterday. Albeebaby is having a closeout on the older model seats. Here is the link if you want to check it out, http://www.albeebaby.com/closeoutitems.html. They also have some Britax 40% off. I didn't look at it but it could make some of them affordable.

GL with inlaws. I hope they understand where you are coming from.
Me (30) DH (37) DS 10/20/08 New Baby Girl EDD 11/11
 
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cheeezie25 replied to roni090909's response:
Thanks, I'll check that out!
 
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ad1978 replied to cheeezie25's response:
I know I am way late on this, but agree that if they're going to drive him often, they should just have their own carseat, and you (or DH) should make it clear that once it is installed, it is NOT to be removed/reinstalled. I don't even do that myself...once it is properly in, I never, ever take it out. It's just too dangerous in my mind to constantly risk incorrect installment.
 
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cheeezie25 replied to ad1978's response:
O, forgot to give the update on this. My MIL and SFIL watched DS on Saturday night. I didn't get a chance to fix the carseat (we had come from a beer factory tour, and I think I sampled too many lol), but they didn't drive him anywhere while he was there anyway. DH talked to my MIL about the carseat, so they know I am going to look it over and make sure it is installed correctly the next time they plan on taking him overnight. I think I might get them a seat for their second car too (they already have their own for their main car), but we just had alot of expenses in a row, so I am not going to worry about that rigth away. Thanks for all the suggestions though!
 
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heyfred3000 responded:
Since this came up on the newsletter....the secret is to be nice but unrelenting. We're a two continent family, and in Italy most people do not use car seats, and those who do often don't secure them at all. At our house there, of the 3 cars, MIL's Chevy Matiz has latch system ("Isofix", they call it), SIL's new VW has locking seatbelts,BIL's new Fiat has neither. Ours (aged 4 & 2) and B/SIL's (aged 4 and almost 2) ride in all the cars. We took over 3 U.S. car seats and have demonstrated mounting, in all cars, slammed on brakes in long driveway to show why securing is so important, and even resorted to outright embarassing "other" grandma who still believed that grandma's lap is ALWAYS the best and safest place. We've made converts of them all, but it took time. I think their perception of how seriously we approached this issue was the factor that finally convinced them buckling up the kids (and making FIL buckle up so he wouldn't be an 85 kg loose canon in an accident) was the rule every day, every trip. Even when we're not over there. BIL (over SIL's protest) has asked for another US car for the littlest one when she begins to sit FFing - Italian seats have no chest buckle and we've got him thinking about this now. Just be firm, as others have said!


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