This post is written as a continuation from my earlier post regarding rear-facing car seats. With more and more parents choosing to keep their child rear-facing for an extended time, I have been reading a lot of stories of parents using DVD players or mirrors to distract or keep an eye on their child. I could not be more horrified when I read about these things in cars. I think these parents are trading one hazard (forward-facing) for another when they have too many "things" in the area around their child's car seat. I think many parents to do not realize that in an accident, many of these things can become PROJECTILES.
It is interesting to note that there are absolutely no regulations regarding car seat "accessories." Such accessories can be anything from a mirror to a pillow that you can attach to the car seat or the area around the car seat. In fact, many car seat manufacturer's strongly recommend against using any "after market" accessories. Many state in their warranty sections that such accessories may "alter" the performance of the car seat and using such products may "void" their warranty.
It is amazing how a seemingly innocuous object can accelerate and hit the human body with such force as to cause severe injuries. There was a baby in Colorado whose sippy cup almost "scalped" him in an accident. In case you're wondering, a 5 pound purse traveling at 35 miles per hour can exert 175 pounds of force. A woman in British Columbia was killed when her unsecured laptop in the backseat became a projectile in an accident. Even a cellphone can be a projectile.
I am the worst pack rat. I love clutter but there is one thing that I try to keep clear and that is the space around my baby's car seat. In today's society, we are surrounded by many distractions. I do not feel it is necessary to have to my child constantly entertained with a gadget. When in the car, he is happy with his blanket and a stuffed animal. I cringe when I go to the store and see toys and gadgets like DVD players sold to keep children occupied in the car. Since accidents are so infrequent, it is easy to forget the dangers that everyday items may pose when it is in a car that has been in a accident.