There’s a common thing I see here, and it freaks me out.
What’s with the lack of car seats? Granted, taxis don’t require one, and I’m equally guilty when it comes to E and taxis.
I see kids in the back of private cars just bouncing around, not using seat belts, much less in car seats. AND I see new moms almost exclusively get into cars at the hospital with the baby in their arms. Without using a car seat.
This blows my mind.
The US does also exempt taxis from car seat laws, but car ownership is much more common there. But even in New York, I’m pretty sure that most parents use a bucket seat for their newborn, even in taxis.
The laws are super strict.
- All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands require child safety seats for infants and children fitting specific criteria.
- 47 states and the District of Columbia require booster seats or other appropriate devices for children who have outgrown their child safety seats but are still too small to use an adult seat belt safely. The only states lacking booster seat laws are Arizona, Florida and South Dakota.
- 5 states (California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York) have seat belt requirements for school buses. Texas will require them on buses purchased after September 2010
For more about car seat laws back home, go here. Many states also don’t allow children under 12 in the front seat, period.
The number one cause of death for children in the US is car accidents. This has contributed to a very serious car seat safety culture. Local police stations have one or two staff who are professionally trained car seat installers, and have 1 or 2 days a month where you can come and get your seat installed professionally, or have them check that your installation is correct. There are countless threads on parenting boards that ask whether you should say something to another parent who has a bucket seat in the back seat, but hasn’t lowered the bar (which could result in improper safety function during a crash, and prevent the seat from saving the child’s life). There are endless articles about car seat safety, how to correctly tighten the harness, etc in US parenting mags.
We are obsessed with car seats.
When Britney Spears was photographed driving while holding one of her sons in her lap people were so angry that they said her children should be taken away from her, that’s how seriously it’s taken.
I’ve read that Singapore has car seat laws, but it seems that no one really take them seriously?
In fact, because I’ve NEVER seen a mom leaving the hospital using a car seat, I actually asked my hospital here if they would allow me to leave with the baby in the car seat instead of in arms. They said that they would be fine with it. It’s just such a change from back home where the hospital would literally not let you leave before you showed them your car seat.
What’s up with this? Can someone explain it to me?
To be fair, and in the interest of full disclosure, this is also fairly recent. 30ish years ago when my mom had me, she flipped my seat at 6 months and I’m not sure at what age I was moved out of one. I don’t remember ever using a booster, and I loved loved LOVED sitting in the front seat, which was also okay in the 80′s when I was a kid. The major law shifts have been in the past 10-15 years, as I understand it.
Editing to add…I’d be really curious about a local perspective if any of my Singaporean Readers wants to weigh in…right now we’re having a great discussion in comments, but it’s all conjecture.
Filed under: Culture Shock