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Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Safety first

Posted May 2, 2010

"Seatbelts are not optional," I yell to my little one who is always unbuckling to pick up a toy on the floor of the car or retrieve something out of her book bag. I've said it so many times that I sound like a broken record. Even worse, I sound like my own parents. I say other things too, like, "It's against the law, Mommy could get a ticket, or even go to jail" and "If we get in a car accident, you could die."

Somehow, my pleas always seem to fall on deaf ears. Often, I pull off the road if I can, and wait until she refastens her seatbelt before we get back on the road. Usually, this results in a great deal of whining, but she eventually complies.

Recently, my husband was picking my older daughter up from a meeting at church, and he had my youngest one with him in the car. He returned 45 minutes late for the dinner that was now cold on the table with no kids in tow.

"What happened?" I asked aggressively tossing the dish towel over my shoulder to make the point that I had cooked (an unusual event in my house).

"They're walking," he said matter-of-factly.

"What do you mean?"

"I made them get out. I've had it. They refused to buckle up, so I made them walk. I followed behind them the entire way, driving like five miles an hour. They're at the top of the street now, should be here in a minute," he said washing his hands of grime and the conversation.

I looked up the street, and sure enough, there they were with little frowning red faces and blisters from their Crocs, holding hands as they slowly ambled down the hill. At that moment, I wasn't angry. All I could think about was why didn't I think of that.

These days, miraculously, my kids have no trouble buckling up.

Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here on Go Ask Mom every Monday.


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  • kittiboo May 3, 2010

    As a science teacher, I recently did a rather dramatic lesson on Newton's laws of motion with some of the kids. I showed them exactly why you should wear a seatbelt, and I'm hoping that THEY went home and explained "objects in motion tend to stay in motion..." to their parents. A little demo of an egg perched on a toy car that rolls down a hill and runs into a wall gets the point across nicely.
    To kellypratz- you'd be amazed at the number of small kids that are allowed to sit in the front seat of their parents' cars. I'm petite, and even *I* worry about the airbag for me! It makes me crazy.

  • kellypratz May 3, 2010

    I was having a conversation w/my 8 year old daughter the other day as she asked why can't she sit in the front seat w/me. I told her because mommy's car has an airbag and it's safer for you to be in the backseat. Which she replied "I wish I didn't even have to wear a seatbelt", I told her how that seatbelt will save her life if we were to get into an accident. Seems very hard for kids to understand how their safety is so important to us.

  • kittiboo May 3, 2010

    Good for your hubby! That's a hard lesson to learn, but I will file that idea away if ever I need it!