Anyone who knows me well, knows that I can’t stand to see children that aren’t strapped into a car seat or seat belt… I don’t care if you going down the road with your toddler standing on the front seat or if your “big” 10 year old is playing on the back seat and you think they are safe because they are in the back. It is your duty to keep your kids safe, so please, strap them in.
That being said I tried to tell myself that strapped in, is better than not and that’s how I justified putting my son into his 3rd car seat, a booster (15kgs to 22kgs). This booster used the car seat belt across his chest and he is only 3. Yup, a 3-year-old that is almost a metre tall and weights over 19kgs.
Thats where the dilemma started, he had exceeded the weight limit on our Stage 2 car seat (9kgs to 18kgs) (and most stage 2 seats in SA) and I needed to get him into the next seat because I knew that the seat would not be able to protect him fully, once the weight limit is exceeded.
I had already lined up a booster seat (second-hand) from my aunt, months ago. We put it in and Connor was in his element. But my gut feeling was telling me, that I’m not comfortable with the seat. Over the past 2 months I have been battling myself on the fact that I know this seat is not the safest for him. Although he met the some of the guidelines, he was under age for this seat and I was making myself sick.
As you can see from the picture, although he is the correct height and weight, the seat doesn’t offer him much support and he doesnt meet all the requirements as per the pic below
I consulted on a Facebook group called Car Seat Support South Africa and received good advice – basically it was not safe and buy a new seat. But I also found out that this is a problem in SA for “big” children that exceed the limits before the right age. They were all so helpful and have alot of facts to back them up
I read supporting and informative articles #CarseatFullstop. I follow all the platforms and read all the updates posted, so I can be better informed to make the right choices. I still know that Connor would be better off rear-facing until 4 but I was uneducated when I changed him around at 9kgs. My budget does not allow for extend rear-facing car seat that offers weight limits that he requires but I know this change has already better his chances if we are involved in an accident.
So, I knew I had to get another car seat and return my toddler to a 5 point harness. But I was overwhelmed, as financially, these extra amounts are straining but I had to bite the bullet and I started looking for 2nd hand car seats that would offer me the 5 point harness but over the usual 18kg weight limit.
I found a 2nd hand 5 point booster that goes from 9kgs to 36kgs, adjusting as the different weight limits are reached – so eventually he will move onto using the seat belt only but that is ONLY when he reaches all the necessary requirements for such. We installed it this weekend and already I am instantly at ease.
Connor is a lot more comfortable as well, because he is still quite young, he still sleeps in the car when we travel, the booster with the seat belt only was not offering much support for his head and shoulders. He has already tested out his napping in this seat and it it’s much better for him and for us!
He is a lot more secure and I can rest easy (well sort of because a mother never truly rests easy, we are always worry about something or someone.). I’m glad I made the decision to buy another seat, although it’s not the one I wish I could afford, I have to live within my means but I also have to keep my baby as safe as I possible can.
Speak up! Support #CarseatFullstop & make the best decisions for you and your family
I have to just add that this munchkin in the bottom corner is already an advocate for car safety. He tells us, as soon as we get in the car, to put our seat belts on and he tells us to unclip once we have stopped. I’m fortunate that he never complains to drive in the seat and knows that is his place and that keeps him safe.