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Monday, April 21, 2014

{GHF Blog Hop} The Case of the Car Seat Fury

C hates her car seat. She has hated it from day one. When she was a baby, we rarely ventured more than 20 minutes away from our home unless we were prepared for Ultimate Scream Fest. B was the same way, but her cry was much more mellow and, as awful as it sounds, much easier to tune out when a longer car ride was inevitable. Still, the switch to the booster seat was SUCH a welcome moment for B, and the end of many degrees of stress.

C is almost big enough to make the switch. As in one-half inch and three pounds from the recommendations. The cautious side of me would like to wait another three or six months to promote her to the booster seat. We do a lot of highway driving, and I want her to be safe.

But on the other hand, the screaming and fighting when we get in the car is getting old. She is strong enough to be a problem, and I have to plan ahead 15 minutes to leave the house, knowing that there will most likely be an incident before we can go to our destination (frustrating, multiple times daily.). Once safely buckled, she moved the chest buckle down as far as she can (unsafe), pulls on the adjusting strap and loosens the belt (unsafe). She wiggles, she groans, she states where and how this car seat buckle is ruining her life. I don't like to think it is affecting my driving abilities, but it probably is. She's pretty distracting with the trying to escape and all. We need an extra 10 minutes once we reach our destination so she can compose herself and act appropriately. I tallied it up the other day. We went to three places, which means in and out of the car three times....so roughly an hour of our day (plus the time IN the car) was spent on C dealing with her car seat hatred. That's like 30 hours of my life PER MONTH.

We tried the Ride Safer travel vest. That was a disaster for a week. B liked it, but it took away her independence, because her hands just weren't quite strong enough or dexterous enough to maneuver the belts, so that added another 5 minutes to every trip, along with some extra frustration on both of our parts. (On those three trip days, that was another 15 minutes! 7 ½ more hours per month! All together, with Little Miss Scream, that's equivalent of THREE DAYS spent on car seat trauma, you guys.) C didn't like the feel of the vest around her body – it's much like a water safety vest, and those are a whole separate calamity. She didn't like that it held her still in the seat. She began to wiggle and groan and state how this seat belt vest was ruining her life.

So, I decided enough is enough. I bought the high back car seat this morning. I am just hoping that it isn't too straight, or too itchy, or the car seat belt isn't too “wrong” or whatever else she might come up with. My only other options are to stay at home the rest of my life or invest in some duct tape and really, really good ear buds to drown her out.

I've commiserated with other parents about this... what options have worked for you?

**Edited to add: The new booster seat seems to be working well, with the exception of one seat belt removal experience while in the car. C loves the colors, silver and purple, and is actually thrilled to go places now. She also promises she will never, ever remove her seat belt again while the car is moving. We arrived everywhere on time this week. No fits were thrown. It was a miracle!

This blog post is part of the GHF April 2014 Blog Hop. Be sure to visit these other fantastic bloggers' posts on promoting health and wellness in the gifted/2e child!

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16 comments:

  1. I know how hard car safety choices can be, my 3rd figured out the buckles at 21 months :P So awful. Good luck!

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  2. Oh gosh...21 months! I guess I should be grateful we made it this far! ;)

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  3. Hugs Nicole! That is super-stressful. I'm glad the new car seat is a hit. My DD doesn't like car-seats either - but she usually lasts 20 mins before we have any problems. And then it's time to climb out. She is very good at climbing out. Luckily we don't use a car much :)

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    1. They sure do like their independence, don't they! :)

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  4. The author of the article states that she only buckles her kids up if they are going on the highway or more than 20 minutes away from home? That's careless and illegal. Always buckle them in. If you can't stand to hear them cry you should wear earplugs.

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    1. Actually, I buckle them up 100% of the time. When DD was younger, it took her about 20 minutes to get to her full scream volume, which was unpleasant for everyone, so we avoided long trips as much as possible.

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  5. I am glad she is happy with the new seat! That will make life so much happier all round!

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    1. Thanks for commenting! Yes, riding in the car has been so much more pleasant since the switch!

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  6. I'm so glad you found something that is working! I love your blog, Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! Today she said she likes it "because I can hold hands with my sister now." <3

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  7. I empathize with this struggle. When our child as infant--and I mean TINY, he couldn't handle the car seat. I'd strap him in, race to the grocery store 5 minutes away, get him out, and pop him into the hip carrier until he stopped screaming.

    The first time he fell asleep in his car seat I wept with joy. I would have thought that we'd have had issues with him breaking out of the seat--and I planned to put velcro on the buckle because kids hate that sensation (you might try it)--yet miraculously he didn't mess with the buckle. This sorta almost makes up for the screaming period. ;-)

    For a lot of kids, trouble with the car seat is a clue that there MAY be some serious sensory issues in play. You might consider an evaluation with an occupational therapist. Just a thought.

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  8. Oh, my! What hard choices you've had to make with your kids. I wish you the best as you continue to make the best choices possible given your children's unique needs.

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  9. I'm very glad the rear facing to some really old age recommendations weren't around when DD was that age.Not only did she hate the car seat (and with her long legs, was riding with her legs up to her chest by the time she reached a year), but she'd vomit every single time she rode backwards because it just did something bad to her sensory system (the kid now loves roller coasters, but they can't go backwards-she'll get sick every time). It got better when she outgrew her baby seat because I took her to the store and let her pick out her own seat. I think the folks at BabiesRUs thought I was insane, since she was a toddler at the time, but darn it, it worked. We did the same thing for her booster (she picked out the one with built-in reading lights :)). So far, she hasn't wanted to give that up, and since she's short, I'm more than willing to let her keep it.



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  10. I agree with you - I know that I get carsick when I am turned around in a vehicle, and it seems reasonable that a baby could be miserable and feeling nauseated sitting rear facing in the car. I'm so glad you found something that worked! I'd have let her pick her own too! :)

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