by Jeanne Sager
Are you one of those parents who lets their kid ride in the car without a seat belt? You know the ride I'm talking about. We're so close to home! What could go wrong? I don't want to deal with your bellyaching about the belt, so we're just going to coast on home.
You're out there. I know. Some 20 percent of parents fessed up to letting their kids ride seat belt-free for "short" trips.
Are you people crazy?
I know, I know, I sound like some judgmental harpy here.
But I have good reason. I was in a car crash at 16 less than two miles from my parents' house. Short trip, short schmip, you know what I'm saying?
You know why I'm here today? Because I was wearing my seat belt that day. When the car finally came to a rest, on its side, down a river bank, I was alive, hanging from that belt.
I was wearing my seat belt because my parents taught me to wear my seat belt. It was ingrained in my head that if you're in a moving vehicle, you are wearing a belt. I still remember that day like it was yesterday, and I remember automatically buckling myself in because ... that was what you did when you got in a car.
That split second, don't think about it move is what saved my life.
This is what floors me about the "eh, just on short trips" issue. It isn't just that 60 percent of car accidents happen within 10 minutes of home (see above regarding car accident less than two miles from my house). I can't understand why you'd split hairs on something this important, why give your child a chance to argue? Because if your kid is anything like mine, she sees an inch, and she takes a mile. She's a kid. That's what kids do.
No safety restraint on a quick trip home quickly becomes ammunition for "but you didn't make me do it thennnnnn." And what happens when your child is out of your sight? When they're in another car and you're not there to fight with them to put it on?
Is it a pain in the butt to have to climb in the backseat with kids who are whining about not being able to buckle themselves in? Yes. It is.
But I'd rather a pain in the butt today than a dead kid at 16, and I don't know a parent out there who would disagree.
Do you let your kids ride without a seat belt if the trip is going to be short? WHY?