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  1. Just like to point out here that i’m 16, i’m studying physcology in UK secondary school (high School?) and one of my subjects essays is about car seat safety. This is a very good article and i agree with it. Perosnally I was in a 5 point harness until I was 13 1/2 on account of being 5 foot 2. I’m nly just surpassing 5 foot 4 now.

  2. Which car seat would you recommend because I want to keep my 7 year old girl in a harness for as long as they fit, even if it is up to 12 or 13 and she said recently that she prefers her car seat harness to the booster that I (until recently) had her in. Thanks Hollie, I managed to win an argument with my wife because of this and several other journals.

  3. I know this is an older post but hope you will respond. When my kids were young I was militant about them being in car seats, seat belts, appropriate headrests (many people don’t have them in the back of their van or in trucks etc.). Many people did not understand my insistence on these rules.

    However I did have a huge problem once they were too big for booster seats. The car seat makers do no make them long enough in the thigh area to accomodate kids over 5 or so (depending on child- I don’t remember their height and weight at the time.) My kids had their legs go to sleep due to hanging off the edge of the seats mid thigh. Many kids are too wide for comfort in these boosters too.

    This problem was years ago and I still don’t think it is fixed. Why don’t the manufactures of the seats meet the requirements for safety and comfort for the older and bigger kids?

    I would love to know if there are brands now that fit 8 year olds and 4’8″ tall kids. Not just say they fit, but actually fit comfortably like we as adults would like to feel.


    1. Actually, my 50″ and 52 lbs 7-year-old fits comfortably in a Britax Frontier Car Seat. She has never complained about her legs falling asleep (and believe me, she would!). She has gone 5 hours on road trips in her seat with no problems. – Hollie

  4. Hollie,
    I dont disagree with you on child safety, but i TOTALY disagree that the government should have so much of a say in how I choose to parent. I am beyond offended as a California mom!!! You, the government, and anyone else, should not have a say in when or why i choose to allow my children to ride forward facing, in a booster, or in a regular adult seat. I was a big fan of yours, but how dare you JUDGE anyone! If that is how you would have it for you kids, then great by all means, go for it, but don’t think for one second that you have the right to TELL ANYONE HOW TO PARENT!

  5. Wish I could share this on Facebook. Not seeing children in their proper carseat is a pet peave of mine. Wish all parents knew how important it is to have their children properly buckled.

  6. i think you are being a little over the top. and why 8 for a 5 point harness? thats arbitrary, and some 8 year olds are tall enough to be in a booster with the seatbelt. ideally all car seat belts maybe should have a 5 point harness. that would be safer for everyone right? and yes if a child is not big enough to wear a seat belt correctly then they should be in a booster or harness. but im certainly not going to make my kids wear a 5 point harness when they are 8 IF they are tall enough and heavy enough to safely ride in a booster seat with a seat belt.
    and i agree with the poster who says this should not be a law. it should be the recommendation by the AAP and the safety commision, and sure you could make it a city or state law, but i am even slightly opposed to the seat belt laws in some states, because it should be my choice if i want to wear a seatbelt or not!

  7. Hmm…I agree that keeping kids in car seats as long as possible is the safest thing to do. I think its great that safety organizations and things like the AAP promote that view and do their best to inform the public. I do not think the government should make it a law…we are supposed to be a free country! Where will they stop? Of course, ALL kids at ANY age would be safest in a five point harness! Heck, why don’t parents harness up too? Why don’t we all just quit riding in cars? People don’t think of the consequences of implementing all these little laws in every area of our life…until one day we will wake up and wonder where our freedom to choose went. 🙁

  8. Okay I just have to say this- you say “MY car, MY rules” thats fine- BUT guess what- “its MY car, MY rules” And I think that its pathetic that EVERYTHING has to be changed to LAW because someone else thinks its better. Thats just fine that people want to keep their kids in car seats until they are rather large- but I think that a parent should be able to decide what they think is best instead of being dictated by others and telling everyone else what they HAVE to do! I am all for seat belts and keeping young children in car seats but quite frankly- I think that once a child is off to school its not a big deal for them to sit in a seat. Just my own opinion.

  9. So Ms. Schultz,if it’s commendable to put your eight year olds in a five point harness for their safety, perhaps it’s commendable to do so to your ten year olds too . . . and anyone under 5’4″. Sorry petite adults, you now have to ride in a car seat! 😛

    Just * think * of all the horrible parents who neglected to put their children in any kind of car seat 55 years ago. Oh wait. Cars didn’t even have SEAT BELTS 55 years ago. And those parents loved their kids just as much as we love our kids now.

    I’m not against using seat belts . . . I buckle up every time I drive. And I’m not against using car seats . . . My 2 year old and 1 year old both ride in car seats. But a good thing can go too far.

    At what point does protecting a child cross the line from loving to unkindness? Like the mother in C. S. Lewis’ the Great Divorce who worried over and “cared for” her family until it drove them away . . . there’s a point at which being careful of someone can become destructive and selfish, rather than loving and kind.

  10. While I agree keeping children in safety seats longer is a good idea, the Wall Street Journal story isn’t coming down on the issue one way or the other. It’s not an editorial column, it’s simply a news story about the difficulty some parents are now having in getting their children back into safety seats when they haven’t had to use one for some time. News stories present various sides and aspects about an issue and should never be one-sided. I see no sign of opinion being given by this reporter regarding the California law.

  11. Hi Hollie I would love to see a post on what to do about winter coats and car rides. Everything I’ve ever seen on the topic just says something like “don’t put a child in a car seat while wearing a winter coat because it interferes with the harness” along with all sorts of suggestions for how to keep the child warm in the car (fleece blankets etc) but I’ve yet to come across a practical suggestion that deals with the fact that the kids DO need to be bundled up when going to and from the car and if they are very young that can’t necessarily bundle themselves back up… The though of standing outside car trying to get 3 kids rebundled up in 15 or 10 or -5 degree weather just doesn’t sound practical to me!

  12. I am with you all the way on this Hollie. My boys are all in 5 point harnesses – yes the 5 year old does NOT have a booster like his friends. he has a car seat. You know what – last year he went to camp (age 4 for 1/2 days) and the bus came to pick him up. he was DELIGHTED to see his car seat in the school bus safely installed for him to hop into. He was the only kid in a Boulevard BUT he’s my boy and didn’t give a monkey’s about anyone else. Do what you want parents…. they’re your kids – but I am not going to be picking up the pieces or saying how “unlucky” it was when your unharnessed child who is the same age as mine is hurt in a crash. HARSH – yes very. Do I feel bad for your kid – sure I do with a muppet for a safety counsellor mom or dad. Like all parents I want what’s best for my kid and I decide – but safety – yes you can be too safe, but you can be sure I am going to do what I can to minimize any forseeable injuries.

  13. Your comments are right on! First of all, I hate it when the tail wags the dog (aka kids tell the parents what they will and won’t do), and secondly, you’d really think the WSJ would promote this because, after all, aren’t all those car seat manufacturers going to make another sh*tload of money producing and selling the bigger carseats! Hell’s bells, it’s a win-win!

  14. Thank you! I have a 16-month-old and I have people chastising me because she’s still rear-facing! Seriously?! I actually had someone tell me they’d turned their boys (twins) around at 12 months because it was too hard to keep putting them in the rear-facing seat. Know what?! I hate it too. Huge pain in the butt. Know what else? She’s going to stay that way until she reaches not age two, but the maximum for our Britax Advocate, and it’s one of the higher height/weight ratios I’ve found. I just think that getting over my child’s death because of my laziness would be more difficult. Just sayin’.

  15. You couldn’t sound more condescending if you tried. You make me feel sorry for your children. That child looks so thrilled to still be in a 5 point harness. Are they even rated for that size? Maybe you should learn how to get your point across without sounding like a total bitch.

  16. I made my now 12 year old stay in a booster until 4’9 and he was 9. I also didn’t turn Serendipity forward facing until 2. I totally agree with you. If I cared about not making them am we would watch Dora until 2am while eatin otter pops and drinking soda (not happening). Safety is first and foremost! Does it really matter that they weren’t mad while you’re sitting in a hospital? I think not.

  17. Wow…just wow! I’m sorry that you were judge by your parents (of all people)…but I commend your strong back bone!

    A few things I wish would happen on this front…
    People would become more educated on car seat safety for children of ALL ages. That more affordable SAFE car seats were made available to people of all incomes. I hate going to the “big box” store and seeing a cheap piece of plastic they call a “safe” boaster/car seat. I’m going to stop here before I get too riled up! 🙂

    Thanks for all you do!

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