Baby on Board

A car seat is vital but Dev Haldar, daddy and writer, doesn't want you to confuse it with a fashion accessory.
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Child safety – the phrase sounds like a football referee blowing his lungs out on the whistle, calling a foul! Everywhere you look these days, parents are constantly being hung on the “child safety” guillotine. So, why don’t we take a closer look at this global phenomenon?

Child safety nowadays has become a huge business market. Newfangled products and concepts have pushed parents towards biting into the idea so hard, that platforms of safety have turned into platforms of fashion. Child safety has basically become another name for  “full fuss fashion accessories”. To illustrate my point clearly, let us take one basic thing from this huge business of child safety: car seats, perhaps?

Car seats started out more as a way of keeping a child ‘contained’ in a car while keeping them safe at the same time. However, these days they are instead becoming the latest accessory that one can fit out in their cars.

Here, I shall outline a few parent-traps that most of us fathers tend to fall into. Let us call them Daddy Traps.

Daddy Trap 1: It is not just a simple car seat. Fathers like to have a snazzy car seat for their babies. Or is it because they feel proud to show off the name of an Italian supercar imprinted on it? It doesn’t matter that the car they drive is Korean or Indian but the car seat has to be Italian. Listen up, in all probability, the seat is not even Italian. It probably got stitched in the state next to yours. An imported car name brand is by no means a measure of the car seat being safe.

Daddy Trap 2: Call the name out loud, will you? I hope you do not judge usability, durability and stability of a car seat based on whether you like the brand name, phonetically. Well, how perfectly the brand name rolls off your tongue will ensure a good conversation within your parenting friends circle. They will certainly see the depth of parenting when you do that. Try.

Daddy Trap 3: It is just a simple car seat. It is not meant to be a jet pack. No, don’t pretend to casually check out if it comes with an eject button. It doesn’t. Just because it comes with a set of thick nylon straps, do not think that your child will star in the sequel to the Martian or get a scholarship to NASA. What you need to do is to check those straps for smoothness. Judge it for being ergonomic and not fancy. Check how the straps are designed and ensure that it doesn’t cut into your baby’s soft skin.

Daddy Trap 4: Oh it’s not just a car seat? Does It need to carry the mark of your favorite comic character? Of course, when you were a baby, you only got stickers to play with and no car seat. But now you can get a car seat with a sticker on it! How exciting! So what if your child does not care if his or her car seat has the feline Transformers logo or the cocky smile of Lightning McQueen. You believe that it will come to life. One day. WAKE UP! Nothing like that will ever happen. Check for smoothness and good seaming of fabric instead. Your child will be sitting there and it better be comfortable for those sensitive little cubs and their tiny little butties.

Daddy Trap 05: Listen, it is a car seat. It is not meant to look like a miniature sofa. Neither is it meant to be a throne or Joey from Friends’ recliner. Understand the contours of a car seat, jahanpanaah. Read the manual and see the illustrations. Side head rests are a good idea, as are hand rests.

Daddy Trap 6: I can understand most fathers waiting for their kids to grow up so they can share a beer together. SNAP out of that daddy. It is not happening anytime soon. So why, o why does it matter that your baby’s car seat has a cup holder!!! Do not spend on frills that won’t be used or at the most will be used very sparingly. Go for utility, like handles with grips that support dangler toys to keep your child engaged.

Car seats are essential, they can keep a child safe in case of any untoward incident. Choose seats with a base. It gives a stable fitting to the car seat for your infant and also allows you to take out the seat without having to take out the whole installation. Car seats for infants and toddlers are different, structurally. Do not compromise on that. Never keep a car seat in the passenger seat, next to the driver. In eventualities of the air bag flipping out, it has a huge impact that can be fatal for babies. User manuals explain those well. They must be read carefully.

And as for that fancy brand, well, what’s in a name.

About the author:
Dev J Haldar is a full-time father and employee to his son Advait. Outside of that, he is a media man and a popular food writer on his food blog. He blogs on fatherhood, a space dedicated to his son and his journey as a father. He also contributes writing on parenting internationally.

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