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!