The Cost of That 3rd Child

Fortunately, I beat the child-seat regulations, and was not forced to either limit my family size, nor buy a much more expensive car.

But, due to the new car-seat regulations, that lengthen the age at which a child may sit in a seat without having to be restrained in a car seat, many families experience adding to the size of their family as a FAR more expensive experience than they expected.

Current regulations on use of car seats, plus the lack of affordable options for cars with room for a third car seat, have forced parents to either flout the law, or leave one or more kids at home.

I remember the birth of my last child. After my husband picked me and the newb up, we drove to the house where our other two children were being watched.

There was only 4 years spanning the time of the first child’s birth, to the last one. Both of the older kids were restrained in regular seats. The youngest was the only one to be in a special seat (and, by the standards of today’s requirements, that newborn was woefully at risk).

Nonetheless, my husband drove carefully, and we arrived home safely.

Later that year, we drove to Florida with all the kids. Again, only the newest was in a car seat.

Today, that trip would NOT have been possible. We would have risked arrest, and potential loss of custody of all our children, for the “crime” of dangerous neglect.

I hate to think of what today’s current scolds would have thought of my own childhood, when we would sleep on long trips in the space above the back seat, in a recessed area. It was comfy. It allowed us to look at the stars. And there was no restriction on our flying towards the front window, in the event of a crash.

Of course, my Dad, a WWII combat veteran, drove like a little old lady, very carefully, and cognizant of the dangers on the roads. As did most parents. Then, the responsibility for the safety of children was squarely on the parents, not the government nannies.

Today, it’s estimated that car seat regulations save – at most – 54 kids a year. Worth it?

I’m skeptical of that stat. More kids than that are in cars driven by drunks, chem-heads, and generally idiotic/enraged drivers. Surely, SOME of those kids are the ones that die due to not being in car seats.


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    • Mark on July 12, 2023 at 12:16 PM

    My daughter in law is expecting twins.  They now have 8 children; the oldest is 12. Their full sized van is now too small.  I’m certain we don’t need to be as irreverent regarding safety as the Titan builder, but we have to find a reasonable balance. 

      • Mr Transit on July 14, 2023 at 2:48 PM

      WOW! That’s got to be quite a handful! Only have six myself, and we’re done. If they are indeed looking for a new vehicle, I’d highly recommend a Ford Transit 350 mid-roof 15 passenger van. The mid-roof makes it WAY easier to get to the rear rows to buckle up kids and help them open snacks or whatever. The mid-roof can also make it through a Chik-fil-a (and other) drive-through if they do that sort of thing. Take out the “jump seat” just inside the sliding door and it is even easier to get to the rear rows. We purchased a used one a while back; easy to drive and decent on gas with even the base engine (average about 17 mpg mixed city/highway). I like the base engine due to its simplicity over the other options. We have put boosters and carseats side by side in it without issue since each seat is large enough for a full-sized man. A used, lower mile, example can generally be had for not too much money either; new is another story as with all new vehicles.

  1. Used school buses of the type driven by after school pickup might work.

  2. And, congratulations!

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