Monday, July 30, 2007

Peer Pressure--Not Just For Teens

I succumbed to peer pressure and I have been kicking myself all weekend!

9 yo Paul was invited to spend the weekend on vacation with a friend of his. He has spent a lot of time with this family so I didn't have any hesitations about him going with them.

He was all packed up and very excited when they came. He rushed out to their car as I chatted with the mom and handed her the medical release. Just as she was heading to the car I realized Paul didn't have his carseat. As I mentioned it to the mom she looked at me strangely and said, "He still uses a car seat?"

"Well, you know, a booster," I explained.

She still had a look of surprise and I remembered that her son had long since stopped using a booster.

Our state has very strict carseat regulations. Kids are to be in a booster until they are 60 pounds--AND 4' 8" tall. That's big! The problem is, most kids hit about first or second grade and most parents stop using one even though their children are not yet big enough. Our pediatrician was on the medical board that instituted the law so we are constantly reminded of the necessity and safety of the continued use of carseats. Add that to my own "safety freakiness" and it's a wonder I don't make my kids take their driver's permit in some type of safety seat :-) We follow the rule religiously and I even put the kids in highback boosters on long car trips. Kim just recently quit using a booster and she is 10.

Anyhoo, Paul is no where near the height and weight requirement--he is very small. I do allow him to go short distances over to friends houses when riding in friends' cars because he finds it embarrassing for me to haul out his booster when most of his friends no longer ride in theirs. This is where I begin to balance the safety issue against the psychological issue.

Which is the exact reason I hesitated to insist he take his booster on the trip with his friend. I walked out to their car and looked at him smiling in the backseat, all buckled up (with no booster). I did look to see that the seatbelt was not up near his neck--it wasn't. Then, I imagined how he might be embarrassed if I brought out his booster seat. And I thought about how the other mother didn't seem to think it was necessary.

SO I SAID OKAY AND LET THEM DRIVE OFF!!! I gave into peer pressure! And even tho I know he would have possibly been embarrassed, and even tho I know the other mother thought I was strange to still have him using a booster, the RIGHT thing for me to do would have been to just go get it and have him use it! They were going on a three hour car drive!

So, here I sit on Monday. Anxiously awaiting their return. Reminded of just how peer pressure can get us in trouble, even when we are 44.

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