Saturday, December 17, 2005

Are They Really Safer?

As you'll note in my first post, I'm the mom of a 13 year old, a 9 year old and a now 19 month old. The age gap between my older kids and my baby has given me the opportunity to see how much "better" baby things are now than in the bad old days. First, let's talk about the car seats. I will admit I liked the carseat/carrier/stroller combo I got for the baby. Carseat/carriers were just coming out when I had my oldest, and I didn't get one. I did get one for my second child, and when I saw someone with a carseat/stroller combo, put it in my double stroller. The five-point seatbelt was a lot more of a pain than the belts on the old car seats. I wonder if the designers every tried to get a squirming kid into the car seats they designed?

The thing I love to hate is my high chair. The old one looked pretty peaked after six years or so of use (after they got big enough that they wanted to eat at the table, I'd take the tray off the high chair and push it up to the table) so I tossed it after my nine year old was done with it. I was given a "new" used one by a family member, and after using it for a short time, set out to replace it, only to find out that what I hated was now the standard design. My old high chair was not that different from the one my mother had when we were kids. It was a seat and a seat back, set up higher than an average chair, and it had a tray that hooked onto the arms of the chair. The way it was made, I could hold a baby in one hand, undo the tray with the other, pivot and place the baby in the chair and replace the tray--all without dropping the baby or any food on the tray. With today's "improved" model, if I try to remove the tray with one hand, that hand is at an angle such that I'm likely to spill the tray. The chair, rather than being open in the front, has a bar and leg holes--forget about trying to put a baby in there with one hand while holding a tray with the other--but be careful when you set that tray down, and where, because if you aren't it can easily land on the floor. Finally, now that my baby is a toddler, she wants to do things herself, including climbing into her high chair. If the try is off, she'll climb in. Wouldn't an open front be safer than climbing over that bucket deal?

I also have issues with my stroller. My old stroller had a cloth strip that went between the baby's legs. It was fastened to the front bar on top and to the seat on the bottom. Even if the baby's seatbelt was not fastened, it prevented him/her from sliding under the bar and out of the stroller. My new stroller has no such strip; rather, it has one of those lovely five point seatbelts that comes up between my daughter's legs and straps her securely in the stroller. However, this seatbelt pushes her back to the backrest of the stroller, rather than allowing her to be up where she can see stuff. Further, it is a pain to fasten and unfasten so that if I'm getting her in and out of the stroller, I don't like to fasten it. In short, I guess I'm a bad mother who cares more for my daughter's comfort and my convenience than about safety--but I sure wish I had one of those strips in the front of the stroller so she didn't slide out.

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