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Not Using a Car Seat
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Not Using a Car Seat
What to do?
I was horrified to discover that one of the fathers at our school does not use a car
seat for his 4 year old son. Not only this, but he has his son in the front seat of a
that looks like it might have airbags. I am told that he got a ticket for this recently.
Since his ticket, even worse, (if you can imagine), he has his son sit on the floor of
the front seat with his down so that the police won't see him.
I am told that the father was offered a free car seat and refused it. Incidently, the
boy's mom has a car seat in her car that she uses.
I honestly don't know what to do. I geuss I'm most likely to mail this and any
responses I get to the family. I could approach them. I could notify the police. Please
please advise. What would you do? I saw the father leave with his son like this at
school today and asked someone about it to verify if I had really seen what I thought
You definitely should let the police or let the school officials know
that you believe there is a potential pattern of child endangerment
occurring with a child. Refusal to buckle up a child is a criminal
offense. And for good reason: traffic crashes are the leading cause of
death and injury to children ages 0 - 15; six out of 10 children killed
in crashes are completely unrestrained. Inform officials of your
impressions of the potential danger. It is in the best interest of the
child. You may even save a life
Call the non-emergency number at the police station and tell them what
you saw and what you can do. His behavior is NOT acceptable and good
for you for trying to save that child. Can you write the Mom a letter
or get someone at the school to talk to her? yikes!!
Please report the father to the police. What he is doing is tantamount
to child abuse and must be reported. He is endangering his child and is
also forcing his child to be complicit in breaking the law (more of a
moral issue, I know, but I also don't think it's fair to get kids to
help a parent not get caught breaking the law- it puts the child in an
position- I've been there). Does the child's mother know about this?
Are the parents divorced? If the father has already been ticketed but
still refuses to use a car seat, maybe a call to CPS would get him on
track. I know there is a moral dilema here about how and when to
intervene with the parenting of someone else's child, but I think if you
can intervene without further jepordizing the child's saftey, then it
should be done. my 2 cents
I would call the police, explain the situation, give a description of
the vehicle and license plate number. I would feel awful if something
happened because this numb-nut won't use a seat.
While not using a car seat and sitting in the front seems simply like
bad judgement, asking a four-year-old to sit on the floor of the front
seat of a car specifically because one knows what he is doing is wrong
and illegal seems a bit shady. I would notify the mother in a
non-confrontational way (she may be completely unaware and embarressed
to find out). If you do this and nothing happens, perhaps alert her once
more and after that, consider contacting higher authority. Lawrence
If the father's car is a two-seater in the front, there may be a way to
disengage the airbag. That way at least, the airbag won't deploy when
the child sits there. But that could be life-threatening, too good luck
Wow, that's a tough one. I think that you should probably tell the
police. It's a serious safety issue that he isn't taking seriously.
There is also a likelihood that he would or does dismiss other safety
criteria. I just don't get some people..
If the father simply does not get it, you need to approach the mother
and tell her to handle the situation and explain to her husband the huge
risk he is taking.
It might also be a cultural misunderstanding (if it applies)as my
parents never put my brother or myself in a car seat and made us duck
when the police was near. Where my parents came from they didn't have
carseats nor was it illegal. But then again this was back in the
I really hope someone can reach him before something dangerous
You are right to be concerned. Unfortunately, it looks like the
penalties in CA are only $100 for the first offence and $250 per
subsequent offence. Parents in other states have been sent to jail
charged with child endangerment for this same thing.
Maybe the school director can call a parent/teacher conference with both
parents to discuss this issue. If he is not concerned enough about his
child's safety, maybe sheer embarassement that other parents have
noticed this and are concerned will make him change his ways.
This is child endangerment. If you see the father drive off with the
child on the floor of the car in the passenger area, I would suggest
calling 911 and reporting him. He is putting his son in danger every
time he does this. If you don't feel comfortable calling 911, then get
the non-emergency number of your local police and give them the license
plate number and any other details you might have - where they are
going, where they live, etc.
If it consistent behavior, nform the police to monitor the school drop
off concerned mom
I'd print out every response you get and mail it to the parents - i'm
sure every single response you'll get will say they are horrified with
the father's actions. I'd also try and speak to the mother directly.
and then i'd definitely talk to the police. jot down the license plate
number and any other information you may have. you have witnesses, also
- anyone who has seen this going on will feel guilty later if they don't
speak up now and something happens to the toddler anon
this page was last updated: Oct 14, 2006
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