Terrorism, Fashion Faux Pas, and Other Dangers To Your Baby

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“Yo! Mama! I only ride in NEW car seats, hear?”

I’m having a problem writing this post.  I can usually knock a post out in an hour or so but this one has been dragging on for days.  You see, it’s important to me to be fun and entertaining and helpful.  But, for some reason, this subject makes me a crazy ranting maniac.  And it makes me defensive.  And perhaps a little guilty.  And then I get mad for feeling guilty.

I explained the situation to the Handsome Hippie Hubby. He’s generally more rational than I am.  I think that, as a rule, men are that way.  I’m a hippie. I’m not a feminist.  I truly believe that, with the rare exception (hats off to you, Hillary!), women are gigantic balls of wild emotion.  We are smart and tough and clever and funny and strong.  And we are emotional.  Anyway….  He suggested that I write a post about how hard it has been to write this post.

You see, this isn’t a new issue in my mind.  I’ve been considering this since I got pregnant with my daughter, eight years ago.  I was told I MUST NOT buy a used car seat.

“Why?” I asked them.   And they answered that there are two main reasons.  The first is that a car seat involved in any accident, even a minor “fender bender” may have damage that is undetectable to the naked eye.  The plastic can become weakened or fractured and will not be as durable in subsequent crashes.  The second reason is that plastic becomes brittle over time.  That is why, if you look carefully, you can see an expiration date on the bottom of modern car seats.  All of them in our house are stamped to expire about 6 years after manufacture.

“OK.”  I thought.  “That makes sense.  But what if I’m buying from someone I know and trust who has told me that they’ve never been in an accident and the seat is only a year or two old?”

“NO!”  They insist. Car seats MUST BE PURCHASED NEW!  In fact, in some states they have made laws against selling used seats.  No matter what.

This just irked me.

irk  (ûrk)

tr.v. irkedirk·ingirks

To be irritating, wearisome, or vexing to. See Synonyms at annoy.

Yes.  I was irked.  I hate buying new.  It’s expensive.  It’s wasteful.  How many perfectly lovely, well kept infant car seats were used for 6 months and chucked into a landfill because of them and their ridiculous rule?

Later, the issue became drop side cribs.  These cribs, which if you are over the age of 15 you almost certainly DID sleep in for the first year or two of your life, are now widely known to be the equivalent of laying your helpless newborn to sleep on a rusty bed of nails surrounded by hungry lions over a pit of boiling oil.

They have been added to the recall list along with  cribs with slats that are not of a certain strength, in case your infant is karate-chopping his way free of confinement.  Also unsafe are cribs with slats that are more than 2 3/8” apart.  Note the specificity there:  Not 2”, Or 2 ½”.  They have decided that 2 3/8”  is the magic number.  1/8 of an inch wider and your baby will be able to slide through the bars like rubber man and injure themselves.

I was curious.  How many injuries actually occur in drop side cribs?

Google tells me 10,000 per year.  Wow!  That’s a lot.

But WAIT! Hold on! Stop the train!

If you click on the link that is ALL of the accidents that occur in ALL kinds of cribs and playpens.  The vast majority of these injuries came from toddlers trying to climb out and falling.  They didn’t have anything to do with the drop-side.

So, how many children actually die in these cribs?  According to this link on What to Expect, there were 32 in 10 years.  Please don’t think I’m calloused to the horrible experience of these parents.  If it were my child… I can’t even imagine.  It makes me feel ill to even consider it.  But if you consider that number – 32 in ten years – out of the millions and millions of babies who slept in these “very dangerous” cribs, it’s infinitesimally small.

By comparison, 160 children under the age of 14 died from choking on food items in the year 2000 alone.  Perhaps there should be a law that children under the age of consent are only allowed to eat pureed food to prevent this.

Because of the recalls that come in so fast and furiously on cribs, resale shops have given up trying to sell them.  So, again, the only option is to throw your perfectly good used crib into the landfill and new moms need to buy new cribs.  EXPENSIVE new cribs.

If my father could see me right now he would say, “you’re rolling your eyes so much they look like two oysters in a bucket of snot.”

Irked.

But then…

The icing on the cake…

The one that pushed me over the edge….

The thing about which I have been ranting for days:

THE GREAT FAKE ERGO CONTROVERSY OF 2012!

Wealthy American suburban housewives are having FITS because there are people selling fake Ergo baby carriers.  Can you believe it?  Gasp! I KNOW, RIGHT?!?  How dare they make a knock off of a carrier that costs $160 or more?

According to what I read these carriers come in Ergo boxes, with Ergo DVDs.  The buckles are EXACTLY the same. The zippers are EXACTLY the same.  The stitching is EXACTLY the same.  The fabric is a slightly different color and the straps are not as well-padded through the shoulders.

“It’s not safe!” They say. “Our children must be protected from the knock off!”

Furthermore, since there is no way to know who is making these death-trap baby carriers you could, by purchasing one, be supporting terrorist activity.  Is there actually any evidence that terrorists are selling fake Ergos to unsuspecting suburban mothers in order to laugh at their unknowing fashion faux pas behind their backs? Nope.  Not a bit.  BUT… you never know.

I’m not making up these reactions.  Feel free to read them for yourself  here and here.

Let me say, I think that counterfeiting is wrong.  It’s illegal and immoral.  It hurts legitimate business owners when you buy “fakes.”  But I don’t think that, if you find you have inadvertently ended up with a knock-off, your baby (or the general population of the USA) is in any immediate danger.

I would suggest that, in order for us all to keep our children safe, we just pop them into a hermetically sealed plastic bubble from birth until puberty but we all know that the BPA in plastic causes brain damage.

OK.  So maybe I’m a bad mom.  I don’t think I’m so awful.  I love my kids so very much.  I don’t want them to be hurt.  Not ever.  But at what point does our desire to protect our children just cross the line into total lunacy?  Can you imagine your great grandmother having a conversation about the dangers of knock-off designer baby carriers?  They probably carried their kids in an old rag, slung over their shoulder and tied in a knot across their chest.

And what about the waste?  The incredible MOUNTAINS of waste that we are creating in the name of safety?  How safe will our kids be when they are living in “Water World?”

What say you, dear readers?  Am I the only one that thinks we’ve lost our collective mind?  Or am I just a mom who doesn’t care as much as she should?

Hey… Handsome Hippie Hubby was right!  Starting out that way did make it easier to get all that out!  Well done, my love.

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22 responses »

  1. I think every batch of new moms has something to contend with – they’ll probably advocate no slats at all in the next couple years…wait…isn’t that a box? The car seat argument shook me at first, but I agree – when you know who you’re getting it from, what’s the problem? But what really led me to comment was your “you’re rolling your eyes so much they look like two oysters in a bucket of snot” line. Hee-lar-ee-ous! Thanks for sharing that descriptive similie.

    • Hey! If we put a lid on the box they won’t be able to fall out and hurt themselves by climbing either! (Oysters…). You’re welcome for the simile. My Dad is FULL of them. “Busier than a one legged man in a jump rope contest.” “Jumpier than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.” “Colder than a well diggers butt in January.” It made for an interesting childhood. LOL

  2. Love the picture with the description. And yes, I totally agree with you. I think companies just prey on the safety and inadequacy fears of young mothers. It’s a scam sometimes.

  3. I had a Dr. Sears sling, for the life of me I can’t remember the name of it, when Little One was a baby. It was the greatest thing ever!!! When I was all done with it I wanted to Ebay it and that’s when I found out it was a “death trap”. I couldn’t help but laugh. I always thought of it as a lifesaver. 🙂

    • I have an Infantino that looks like it’s from 1984 and a mai tei I made myself. I adore both of them! Combined, I think they cost about $20 and my extraordinarily beefy boy has never popped a single stitch in either of them. I’m glad your baby wasn’t permanently damaged from the knock-off. LOL!

  4. Yes, we have become totally bat shit crazy. In an effort to prevent our children from ever being hurt we will destroy the earth…or just raise a generation of helpless, self-entitled adults who never leave their parents’ basements. I’m not sure which is more frightening to me.

  5. I bought my infant car seat brand new from the store. Then my husband tried to balance it on top of a bar stool (in our dining room, not at an actual bar, pre-birth). And it hit the ground. And we continued to use it for almost a year. Because I sure as hell wasn’t going to shell out that kind of money again.

    I think all those advisories are good (it could have been in an accident, your baby could be killed in it, etc.), but in the end I see car seats and cribs at mom to mom and garage sales. I see them selling. I prefer to buy new. But I sure hope that someone buys my gently used baby stuff when I put it in the front yard for sale. And it won’t be the end of civilizition as we know it. I don’t think…

  6. It’s all to prevent lawsuits and the only way that’s going to change is if people stop feeling entitled to sue every time something goes wrong. I remember the nurses in the hospital telling me my newborn son couldn’t sleep with me in the hospital bed because I might smother him. I thought it was ridiculous but I obeyed because it was my first time. The poor thing cried all night. When I had my daughter I was prepared to challenge any nurse who tried to tell me my baby couldn’t sleep with me. No one dared.

    • Good for you for standing up for yourself! It can be scary and intimidating when someone tells you something like that and you are new to motherhood. I got in trouble with my first for unwrapping her so I could see her whole little body. “She’s going to get cold!” the nurse yelled. With my second I unwrapped him and looked him all over and then held his little body right against mine and he was plenty warm enough. I just didn’t know to do that the first time!

  7. I will soon be in the market for a used crib, so if any of your readers are local and looking to sell one…. I must say it is very aggrivating to not be able to find them and have people berrate you for daring to suggest that a used crib is perfectly fine to use.

  8. I sold my old infant carrier, USED, *gasp* but it had never been in an accident and was still before the expiry date. I agree that people should be mindful, but I helped a mother who was in a financially difficult situation to save upwards of $60 on something as necessary as a carseat!
    Kira’s crib is a drop-down crib. Oops. *shrugs*

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