Grandparents and car seat safety

posted 6 months ago in Parenting
Post # 2
754 posts
Busy bee

If they can’t transport your kids safely and ignore your requests to do so then what else could they be ignoring as far as your instructions? Hire an overnight caregiver that has the safety of your children in mind. They are not safe, and DO NOT get driving privileges with your children anymore. The way they are handling your requests is absolutely immature and childish. You are not overreacting at all. 

Post # 3
414 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: Canada

I think you’re justified in wanting to ensure your kids are safe.  I also think you’re going a bit over the top here with the pictures and videos. 

I would ensure that the seats are installed correctly and then demonstrate how to properly fasten both kids into their seats, and then ask them to practice themselves so you can check that they’re correct.  On a separate occasion, ask them to come out somewhere with you and ask that they put the kids in the seats so you can double check that they are knowledgeable (but do it on the sly, not standing over them and judging). 

Post # 4
4018 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

So, first off i totally agree with you that carseat safety is of huge importance. That being said, carseats have come a long way since we were kids, so it’s not surprising to me that your parents didn’t know the ins and outs initially. My guess is they thought it was fine, and didn’t realize they had to ask. 

That said….i do agree with your mom. Either you show her, and trust that they’ll do it right, or you don’t, in whichcase they shouldn’t be babysitting. I would find it insulting that I’m good enough to be your free childcare when needed, but not good enough to be trusted without constantly being quizzed, and having to text you proof. 

They don’t need to watch hours of carseat videos. They need to understand how to properly use the carseats you have, which can be done in under 10 minutes. 

Post # 5
169 posts
Blushing bee

What this comes down to is that they care more about their pride than they do about their grandkids. Straight up.

I had a few issues with my parents thinking my three year old should be forward facing by now. I had to get blunt, and outright told them “Broken legs, cast it. Broken neck, casket.” I think that only when faced with the true risk of mortality did they finally get it through their heads. 

Car seat safety isn’t something that can be debated, and them ignoring your requests to safely transport your kids is atrocious. I wouldn’t be allowing them to see your kids if they can’t put the lives and safety of the kids above all else. I agree with the PP and would hire an overnight caregiver to stay at your home before I would agree to letting someone (who doesn’t care if my kid dies at their hands) drive around with them.



Post # 6
1472 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

“She basically said you either trust us or you don’t (to which I replied, I don’t), said that having to take pictures is ridiculous and it should be enough to have me install their seats and show them how to use them and have that be that.”

Car seat safety is no joke and it’s completely your right to decide whether you trust someone that they know about proper car seat use, or not. And if you don’t trust them with something this important, to not let them watch your children.

But honestly your mother has a point too. It should be enough if you do the work of making sure their seats are installed correctly and show them how to use them. It’s not rocket surgery and that should be that.  

If you need to micromanage to such a degree that you need them to send you photos each time they strap the kids in and watch a bunch of videos and report to you after they’ve done so…honestly I’d be like OK you obviously do not trust me because ummm ain’t nobody got time for that. 

I think you’re more upset that she didn’t seem more apologetic after that one time. My guess is that’s just her getting defensive about it, rather than that she actually thinks car seat safety isn’t important. 

Post # 7
6667 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

I agree with both you and your mother. 

First, car seat safety is a BIG DEAL. I’m sure they probably don’t get how big of a deal it is though since car seats have come a long long looong way since we were babies  So I think having these kinds of talks and information available for them is super important. My parents needed several lessons from me on how to properly strap in and secure my son. But it was obvious that they understood how serious this was and were actively listening and watching and learning. Now they’re old pros! 

Second, I agree with your mom that you either trust her or you don’t. It’s clear you do not (which is understandable), but I wouldn’t be able to leave my children with someone I didn’t trust. And this is a life or death thing. It’s not like she’s not respecting your rules about unhealthy snacks or something. This is serious.

If it were me I wouldn’t let them babysit or drive my kids anywhere anymore until I knew they understood how important this was and I could trust that they’d do this correctly. It is difficult sometimes for grandparents to “schooled” in child safety. I know a lot of grandparents have the thought that they’ve done this all before and don’t need any help. They see it as an attack on their parenting. But things have changed since we were babies, as I said above. Hopefully you and your mom can try to sit down and really talk this through. 

Post # 8
7280 posts
Busy Beekeeper

kb7 :  if someone who was driving my child was defensive about me correcting their car seat usage they would not drive my kid again. Period. Grandparents included. My child’s life is more importan than their fucking ego or pride.

We went to visit family and my husband’s aunt watches her grandchildren during the week. We discovered that the carseat was installed incorrectly and I kept tightening the straps when the granddaughter was in the car with us because she never did. I spoke up about it and she was just like “uh..ok sure whatever”. My husband did reinstall the carseat however because she wasn’t using the back anchors. This woman told me I was risking my child’s life by using Johnson’s baby soap rather than the essential oils she sells but she can’t even strap her grandchild into a carseat correctly!? To say I was absolutely disgusted by her indifference is an understatement. 

Post # 9
2153 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I think what it comes down to is, you don’t trust your parents to look after your children. Fair enough, there are plenty of family members that I wouldn’t leave my kids with their. People have different priorities, there are also pepole in our family who would do things like have a go at me for using baby wipes instead of water, but in the same sentence suggest I just put the baby on my lap for the 10min drive down the road, because ”why bother with a carseat when it’s just around the corner.” Basically if you don’t trust them to watch your children, don’t have them watch your children. If you’re really miserable about this then cancel the trip, or better still, see if you can bring your kids along and turn it into a fun family vacation. (Yes, a more complicated vacation, but could still be fun… we always go on holiday with our kids – aged 15months and 3 years..). 

Post # 10
8720 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

kb7 :  Car seat safety is different than it was 20 years ago. It might be that they don’t understand that the recommendations have been updated based on two decades of crash data. My own kids are 20ish and when I saw recently how tight they say straps should be, and how high up, I was very surprised. Like to the point that I had to check a few different resources to verify that this wasn’t some crazy one-off group’s opinion. Someone who remembers being able to slide 2 fingers under the straps in is going to think “how can the kid breathe if I do it this tight?!?” And the stuff about no coats or blankets under the straps. That’s new. 

Have you tried framing it to them as “It probably seemed weird to your parents that you were even using a car seat for your kids. Do you remember them ever saying “we just held you in our arms or laid you on the backseat and you never got hurt”? But you probably insisted on a car seat because research had shown that that was a safer way of doing it. Now there are years of research to show that yep, car seat is safer than no car seat, AND tighter higher straps are even MORE safe. They know this because they’ve studied babies who make it out alive after a car wreck and those who don’t. We’re all in agreement that if some drunk driver t-bones you out of nowhere, we want Bubs to the safest she can possibly be, right? So can we count on you to follow the latest regulations even though they’re different than what you were used to when I was a baby?” 

Your mom is right that at some point you need to either trust them or not. If I were in her place, I would not agree to send a picture every time we’re about to go somewhere. I would be happy to practice before you leave and demonstrate to you that I know how to do it right, but if that wasn’t good enough, you’d have to either find someone else or cancel the trip. I would find the need for a picture insulting and controlling. You know your parents and if you honestly don’t trust them to keep your children safe, then don’t let them watch them. I know it’s a shitty situation — I’ve been there. It’s tough, but that’s what it comes down to.

Post # 11
2153 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

But ultimately yeah your Mum is right – either you trust them, or you don’t. If you have to micromanage them, it means you don’t trust them. If my Mother-In-Law was watching my kids, I would feel sick to my stomach and like I had to micromanage her. Therefore, she doesn’t watch my kids (luckily she’s never actually asked to watch them, so it’s not an issue). You should only leave your kids with people you 100% trust. Sometimes it’s sad that you can 100% trust a teacher or caregiver over a family member, but that’s life. 

Post # 14
1027 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - A vineyard

I agree that they probably should not be watching the kids anymore. But if you really have to leave them with them then ensure everything is fitted properly to the kid yourself even before you leave them. This way if some straps need adjusting from your last visit then it is done and all they have to do is put the kid in and buckle. And if they can’t even just buckle in… well… then too bad so sad for them. They don’t get to see your kids alone. Which super sucks for you 🙁 I just don’t see what other choice there is 🙁

Post # 15
14890 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

When they messed up that time, was it the first time they put them in the car seats on their own?  It’s not rocket science, and I do think its patronizing the way you’re trying to make them ‘learn’ and to ask for pictures every time so I’m not surprised it’s not being well received… especially if that was teh first time.  Show them how to do it, check it once and call it a day… spot check in the future.  People make mistakes.  I forgot to tighten the straps on my childs car seat last month after loosely buckling him in after I took him out at the mall.  He was in the car seat, so I just plopped in the car and went home.  How do I earn my own trust back?  The idea of ‘earning’ trust for a honest mistake is a bit over the top imo.  Unless they’re purposely doing it wrong time and time again, in which case you should just find other child care, I dont see the huge issue.  Why do they have to drive them anywhere anyways.  My parents care for my child all the time and just do it at my house where it’s easiest to do so since they have all their stuff here.

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