Author Topic: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?  (Read 4147 times)

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MommyPenguin

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Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« on: August 17, 2013, 09:25:57 PM »
A few days ago, I was traveling home and waiting at a traffic light when I heard a small voice call, "Hi!"  I looked into the car next to me, which had open windows, to see a little boy smiling at me.  He was fairly small, under 2 I'd guess (with a paci in his mouth) and had two siblings next to him, also fairly young (maybe 4 and 5?).  All the children were entirely loose in the back of the car, with no seatbelts or carseats whatsoever.

Would you do anything in this situation?  Get the license plate and report it?  Attempt to say something to the adults in the front seat?  I had to fight the impulse to ask if they'd be willing to use carseats if I bought some for them, because I thought it might appear insulting.  Usually I am a laid-back, free-range-kid style of parent, but the lack of carseats is *way* up there on the dangerous scale and also will get them pulled over in this state.  Maybe it will, eventually.

I didn't end up doing anything, as I wasn't sure where to draw the line of being a busybody, and given some experiences I've had, I know how dangerous it can be to involve the authorities in a family's situation.  But I'm curious if you would have done the same.  I'm posting it here because I don't think it's really etiquette exactly.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2013, 09:29:52 PM »
I'd get the license plate and report it.  In fact, I have done.  I was behind a van that had more kids than they had seatbelts for.  I called the police non-emergency number with a description and the license plate.

The safety of the children trumps any other concerns, IMO.  If the family doesn't have enough money to buy proper seats, then hopefully reporting it will put them in touch with the organizations that can assist them to get what they need.
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sparksals

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2013, 10:07:01 PM »
I would have called 911.  This is a situation of children being in danger and the driver breaking the law.

delabela

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2013, 10:19:32 PM »
Yes, I would do my best to report it - I would not attempt to engage the adults, as I would be worried about escalation.  I think getting the license and calling the police is the best course of action. 

Your thought of buying car seats is a very kind one, and I'm know there are people who would greatly appreciate it.  If you are interested in donating some at some point, women's crisis shelters or your county division of family and children's services can always use them. 

Virg

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2013, 10:36:57 PM »
I'm with sparksals on this one.  There's no need to call the non-emergency line for three very young kids riding unrestrained in the car because that's active endangerment.  I'd call 911 and report it on the spot.  Given that most police departments will hook up anyone who asks for one with a free car seat, there's simply no excuse for doing this.

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Shoo

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2013, 11:08:52 PM »
I would have called 911.  This is a situation of children being in danger and the driver breaking the law.

Absolutely this.  With no reservations.

Millionaire Maria

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2013, 11:25:02 PM »
I would have called 911.  This is a situation of children being in danger and the driver breaking the law.

Me too! That is so scary and absolutely qualifies as an emergency. Those children could be killed by a minor fender-bender.
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daisy1679

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2013, 11:25:16 PM »
Another vote for call 911 - this is an emergency. I have called the cops on someone for this before and the cops knew exactly who I was calling about (she had left the store I was working in). Unfortunately in my state, the police have to catch them in the act, but will send out an alert to try and catch them.

andi

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2013, 11:36:05 PM »
I have called 911 and repoted  this exact thing. It's illegal and dangerous and stupid.

 in fact I once reported a car where the mother in the passenger seat was nursing her infant while someone else drove them down a major road in Houston. I was beside them (saw them when they pulled up to me at a light) so couldn't get a tag number, so I just stayed on the phone telling the operator where we were and what I was driving. Had the awesome privilege of seeing HPD come flying down the median and pull them over about 3 minutes into the call

Millionaire Maria

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2013, 11:40:20 PM »
I have called 911 and repoted  this exact thing. It's illegal and dangerous and stupid.

 in fact I once reported a car where the mother in the passenger seat was nursing her infant while someone else drove them down a major road in Houston. I was beside them (saw them when they pulled up to me at a light) so couldn't get a tag number, so I just stayed on the phone telling the operator where we were and what I was driving. Had the awesome privilege of seeing HPD come flying down the median and pull them over about 3 minutes into the call

It makes me wonder if these parents have given a stray thought to what would happen to that poor baby if something happened to set off the airbag.
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cass2591

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2013, 11:42:07 PM »
A few years ago on the way home from work I saw a police car driving around with 2 or 3  little kids jumping around in the back seat. I noted the time, car # and where they were and called the police department.

Essentially I called the cops on themselves, but the guy who answered the phone was skeptical of my report. He insisted the officers would never do such a thing as they carry car seats/boosters in the trunk. I suggested to the officer that he mention to his colleagues they use the car seats. He thanked me for my call.
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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2013, 11:46:58 PM »
I would call 911 immediately.  I hate this with a burning passion.  In my state it is a secondary offense, meaning if you are pulled over for something else and your kids aren't properly secured , you get a whopper ticket but I have seen many of the officers in my borough just pull them over for it.  One officer said his reasoning is kids bouncing around present a distraction for the driver so it is his duty to pull them over.  The next street over from me has a lot of immigrants from 3rd world countries and it is nothing to see them with 8-9 people jammed in a car with kids on everyone's laps, including the drivers! Once, I was in front of my job in the downtown area of my city and a woman came over with a newborn, opened her car door, laid the baby down on the back seat and closed the door.  I looked at her as she was getting in the car and just shook my head..she said in a nasty tone "Car seats are expensive!"  Her car had expensive custom hub caps, she was in all designer gear, nails and hair done perfectly, but couldn't buy a car seat!  I called 911.   I call simply because I know what it is like to be in a bad car accident (went thru a windshield when I was 19).  People look at me funny because my 7 year old is only allowed in the back seat (yes, my sister tries to let her in the front seat!!) and in her booster.  She is small and I would rather the seat belt fit her correctly. 

The Wild One, Forever

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2013, 02:15:32 AM »
My "thoughts" regarding unrestrained children in vehicles are not appropriate for posting on an etiquette website.    :P

As to what to do, I agree that calling 911 is best.  Kids riding bouncing around unrestrained is definitely a clear and present danger.  When I was two or three, I was thrown from the backseat of my mom's car, (I had been standing up), to the front when she had come to a sudden stop.  I remember how scary that was, and it's only by the grace of God I wasn't more seriously injured...or worse. 

I have been a stickler about safety belts since I started to drive, and that was years before it was law.  Same with kid car seats.  My son has always been really big for his age, and he was technically out of car seat age by the time he hit preschool, but I still kept him in one for a year or so after that.  His dad, I found out, permitted him to ride in the front seat of a friend's car a few times when we were moving, (my son was four), and one of the biggest arguments we have ever had ensued. 

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Psychopoesie

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2013, 03:08:43 AM »
POD to all the PP's who said to call the police emergency line.

This is a safety issue.

newbiePA

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Re: Children without carseats/seatbelts--thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2013, 09:11:04 AM »
I called 911 on this just last week.  The operator sounded very appreciative.
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