When Mr. Patrick from Florida Driving School wrote in and commented recently to this blog on an article on seat belts, I was rather happy to know that his establishment was one of the institutions connected with defensive driving.
Therefore baby seats or toddler seat and strollers are amongst some of the amenities provided by his school.
In fact, in Malaysia or for that matter in other Asian countries as well, the subject of strollers and baby seats are a new subject altogether.
Prior to my decision to write upon this important and vital topic, I tried to look up the meaning of the above terms. Surprisingly, some dictionaries even failed to provide any information at all.
I believe this is because such terms are new phrases which have been co-opted into the English language rather recently only. These phrases are therefore used only in Europe, America and other European nations.
Whatever it is, the subject of baby seats in vehicles, as I have said, are important items especially for the safety of children concerned.
My son-in-law, Kin, who left for Australia to complete his studies, was there quite a number of years. It was therefore no surprise that in a small way, he was influenced in many western beliefs. One of them, I observed, was his insistence that small children should only travel in vehicles strapped up in baby seats.
As my son-in-law and his wife are both working folks, there comes times when either he or my daughter have to ferry their daughters to either his mother’s place or to the baby sitter’s place. And one of the things I remember my son-in-law insisted on was obtaining baby seats for them.
To tell you the truth, they are in fact not cheap at all. First of all, it should be reiterated that baby seats are obtainable from supermarkets. Shops which cater for baby clothing, diapers, feeding bottles and other baby paraphernalia have baby seats for sale too.
Unfortunately, maybe in smaller towns and villages, these items might not be available. Parents staying in remote areas and smaller towns may therefore have to travel to larger towns and cities to secure them.
Let’s now revert back to baby seats. As far as I am aware, these seats are meant for babies, aged from a few months to about 30 months old.
Babies of such tender age, when ferried or transported by their mother usually do not know how to hold on to anything while they are in the vehicle.
Adults can use their hands and limbs to fend for themselves. But unfortunately, babies are unable to do no such things. If, for example, a small baby is left alone on the front seat of the car, during emergency situation when brakes are applied, the momentum will eventually cause a baby to thrown forward.
This is extremely dangerous!
Most likely, unless a baby is strapped up securely in a baby seat, this would cause serious injuries to the babies concerned. With this explanation, thus it is hoped that parents will be able to realise how important it is for babies to be strapped up.
For those who do not know what a baby seat is, it actually has its own seat belts which ties up or straddles up a baby to the seat as a normal adult seat does.
The entire baby seat is then attached to the front seat of a car itself. Hopefully, readers will be able to envisage the explanation given herein.
This, I feel is the safest manner to transport a baby to any destination. A baby therefore should only travel in such a safe contraption. The only other alternative to ferry a baby to any destination is to have either a nanny, or the mother or father holding up the baby safely in his or her arms. This would incur much inconvenience to the parents.
In Malaysia, there exists no law or regulation which requires the use of a baby seat in a car. For the sake and safety of our babies, drivers should make it a point to invest in baby seats. Furthermore, baby seats although rather expensive, can be used over and over again.
The only thing is that they have to be stored and kept properly in the storerooms for usage at a later time. The baby seats can be used for the 2nd or 3rd child of the family later on.
It is in fact a long term investment, so to say. Similar to investing in the blue chip stocks in the stock market.
My first and second granddaughters are now 5 and 7 years old. Their baby seats which my son-in-law bought for them are no longer in use. I presume it is now kept away in the closet somewhere.
Most probably, when the stork does come a calling the third time around, my daughter and her husband will once again take out the baby seat.
Finally, to Mr. Patrick, thanks for bringing up the question of toddler seats. Without which, I would not have been encouraged to write about it. It would not have seen the light of day.