Hi! My name is Michelle and like many of you, I am in the trenches of raising young kids. I want to share my story of why I have launched this business—I think it is a story to which many of you will relate.
When I was pregnant with our son, I was working as a senior executive in a traveling job, teaching a course at a local university, remodeling a house and trying to squeeze in some time for my husband, family and friends all before life was about to change! Being the type A perfectionist that I am, I created an excel spreadsheet of all the must-dos before our son was born. I compiled a checklist from websites, mom blogs, Pinterest, friends’ advice, pediatricians we visited, you name it. My list was THOROUGH (and ridiculously obsessive, I must admit). Video monitor-check. Blackout shades-check. Rock and play-check. Playing cards for the hospital bag-check. That’s just a small sampling of the over 300 “to dos” that I diligently checked off to make sure we were ready (if I only knew then what I know now—you are never “ready” 😊).
In the car safety category of my spreadsheet, there were 3 items. Buy a car seat. Install the car seat. Bring the car seat to the hospital. Check. Check. Check. We were ready just in time and on July 12, 2013, our son Jake was born.
When it was time to take Jake home, I was certain someone would show me just the right way to buckle him in. He was so little and the seat looked so big. No such luck. How hard could it be? I figured we were educated, safety conscious, well-intended parents and we would intuitively know how to most safely secure our son. So into the carseat he went and we headed home.
A week later we ventured to get our newborn photographs taken. Our family photographer (and now dear friend too), so bravely asked if she could correct me on a few things she noticed regarding how we had secured Jake in the seat. Please, yes! Then and now, I never refuse help from a fellow mama. I had the chest clip in the wrong place. The harness was so loose we could have fit two babies in it and I was riding with the carrying handle up when for this particular infant seat it needed to be in a different position while traveling in the car. Thank goodness this was our first outing in the car and these issues were corrected before another ride. Minor panic set in—what if?!
If you are reading this then I know you have or had some version of that same checklist I made. You care about safety. You would never intentionally put your child at risk. You bought that $350 video baby monitor and either are or will carry that thing around with you and stare at it for at least the first 2 years of your child’s life. You are figuring out if you should store cord blood. Of course you will add your child to your health insurance by name before you leave the hospital. You know where the baby gates will go when you need them. You have plug covers. And cabinet door locks. You have secured your furniture to the walls so it can’t tip on your soon to be climbing child. Your precious little one(s) will live in a safe and well-monitored home and you will minimize every single safety risk you can possibly control. Check!
And, while all of that is important, the truth is we might be doing those things more for our peace of mind and because a list says we should than for our own child’s safety. And, that is ok!
What is not ok and did not sit well with me since July 16, 2013, when I left the hospital with our son, is that we spend all this time, energy and resources on insurances and safety precautions that are not related to the number one safety threat of our children. Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent. Three out of four car seats are not used or installed correctly. (By the way, 93% of us think we are using our seats correctly when we are not. I was one of them!).
As parents, we can’t just give the installation and harnessing of our kids our best shot. We need to get it right. The right seat. The right size. The right harnessing. Every. Single. Ride.
Of course we all want to do that! My goodness, we want our kids to be as safe and secure as they possibly can be. But, this car seat stuff is so darn confusing and there is no one to ask (and, no, in most cities, you can’t just go to the fire department). In addition, the correct installation and harnessing is a moving target. The child’s age, height, weight, the car make and model, the car seat make and model and the installer themselves all make this safety formula incredibly daunting! And, as soon as you think you have figured it out, one of those pieces of the equation changes!
The pressures and worries of parenthood are immense and in my 4+ years as a parent, I see no end to that in sight. We all want nothing more than to “get it right” whatever that means or looks like for our family. For me, it meant becoming slightly obsessed with car seat safety, becoming a Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and launching this company!
I started Safe in the Seat to serve as your car seat safety expert. To provide families with a go-to consultant that can give you peace of mind that your child’s greatest safety risk is minimized as much as we can possibly control. 100% of families that I have worked with have had a least one life-threatening installation or harnessing error. 100%. I have two goals. One: Make sure every child rides away safer in their seat then when they arrived. Two: Partner with caregivers to ensure our kids are safe in their seats so we can check one worry off our never-ending to-do lists.