Sunday, October 2, 2011

Travelling with Children

It's not easy to travel with children, especially if you are ALONE. You have to handle your child, your luggage, carry on bags, diaper bags etc. It's freaking stressful. When D was three months old we took our first flight from Montreal to Dallas. I was able to handle it pretty well, especially because my daddy flew to Montreal just to fly back to Dallas with me :) He toted D around in her bucket seat, I took care of checking us in and everyone at the airport was especially helpful when they saw D and passed us through customs quickly, let us board first etc. It was great.

Then D and I flew from Dallas to Fort Lauderdale. We did that trip on our own. The airport staff was great. Since I was travelling alone they helped me get thru security "Can I get that for you?" "Do you need help" were things I heard often. They were great. At one point I was struggling to carry D in her bucket seat and the diaper bag down the walk way from the boarding gate to the plane. A very nice business man asked me if he could carry something for me in order to help me out. He carried D in the bucket seat right to our assigned seats and even strapped her into the seat. He told me, "My wife used to travel with the kids alone and I know its hard. I hate to see a mother struggle." I thought that was sweet. He also helped me off the plane with baby D and made sure I had my stroller before he took off. I pushed the stroller a few feet before my husband magically appeared.

I have yet to make the jump to "international" travel (for some reason US/Canada isn't considered international). But if I were to travel outside of this continent I would make sure of a few things. One of those things would be the car seat laws. I know that that US isn't the most strict with their laws but its also not the most lenient. What are the laws where we are traveling? Are they completely absurb?

Example: I had a friend travel to Greece this summer. She informed me upon her return that the entire time she was in Greece her one year old (14.5 month) daughter was not in a car seat. That Greece's car seat laws are if the kid can walk they could be restrained by a normal seat belt. Uh? What?



So I did what any normal person would do. I googled the shit out of that. Google informed me that while Greece is great in welcoming kids they are horrible at protecting them and probably have some of the most lax car seat laws BUT they still exist. The law states that unless a child is 3 years old and 135cm that they can not ride in a car without proper restraints UNLESS in a bus or taxi. 3 years old?! Isn't that a little...ummm...not right? Man, here in Canada I have cousins that have kids that are 7 in still in booster seats due to their small size etc. 3. That is it in Greece. Three years old and you can be restrained by a seat belt that is made for adults. Sure, who cars if you get decapitated or squished by air bags....

I kinda of let it go. I pretended not to care but I can't do that. I do care. I care about my child enough to say "screw you Greece laws". Greece may say that by law a 3 year old can be strapped into a normal car seat but I'd rather follow the laws of where I'm from. You know, laws from somewhere more concerned with safety. Greece may be the birth place of democracy, philosophy, politics, math, science but they also get the crown for being the birth place of crazy driving, unmarked roads, horrible car accidents due to bad driving and unmarked roads.  Basically, its not a place I want my child to be sitting in a car completely unprotected.

I totally get that its hard to change the minds of older people from generations about certain things. My mom never had to be in a car seat when she was growing up in Greece and when she brought me home from the hospital in Montreal she was holding me in her arms, in the front seat of the car, smoking a cigarette. Uh, guess what. Times have totally changed. We don't get in cars with our children unrestrained, we don't smoke in our cars with our children, we dont sleep with our front doors unlocked either. Times have changed people.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm just smarter than that. I mean, as parents we don't really need laws to tell us what is acceptable and not right? Like, is there a law that says "Don't let your child drink bleach" I don't think there is (I could be wrong) but even without a law I know its wrong/not good. I don't need a law that says "Hanging a child upside from a ceiling fan is strictly forbidden." I kinda know that its not something you do.

So have you traveled with your child recently? Had you come across some laws or situations that you found completely insane?

(btw for all you rear facing fanatics, in Sweden there is a car seat that allows you to rear face until 55lbs!)

2 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure (not 100%, but pretty sure) that is is legal for a baby to sit in a lap in a taxi in NYC... On the flip side, taxi drivers are not permitted to start their meter until after a car seat has been installed if the passenger chooses to use one, but I always thought it was weird that you don't NEED a car seat in a taxi.

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  2. One of the many trips I made with Can-man alone, I had him in the baby bjorn and the flight attendant told me to remove him from it for take-off. Uh. Ok. Seems that he'd be safer strapped to me, right? I've also heard (but unable to confirm) that some airlines ask you to remove the baby from the car seat for take off. I always check the car seat so I don't know if it's true or not. Actually, I don't do that anymore, either, we both have car seats now and it's made flying MUCH easier.

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