Before the toddler was born, we never even thought of going on a vacation, let alone a weekend getaway. We were both busy grinding away hours as corporate slaves 12 hours a day and 5-7 days a week. If a rest day was presented to us, we preferred home deliveries and sleeping to anything else.
But once the toddler was born and I stayed at home to become a baby slave (:P) rather than a corporate one, we suddenly had more time in our hand. We had all the housework sorted well enough to have the weekends free and the working partner also started to prioritise home over work. We wanted to now explore the world around us. (Look how much a tiny little mass can change!)
We couldn’t go off on long vacations as the corporate one still needed to go to work if not stay there endlessly. So we started thinking of road trips to weekend getaways. Our first trip was decided to be near to test waters. The baby had never been in a car more than 30 minutes at a stretch.
In the first trip, we took the entire house in the car. So much food and milk, we could feed 10 kids. But luckily, the baby seemed to have been born to hit the road. She absolutely loved the car and the hotel and all that jazz.
When I put up the first road trip’s pictures on a social network, I got a comment from an NRI. He was appalled that the baby was in my arms (though in the back seat) , “Where is the car seat“, he asked. He sent us an article about horrors of accidents to kids who travelled without a car seat. For e.g. articles like this: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-01-16/mumbai/30631215_1_car-crash-vikrant-baby
In India, nothing is a rule. There is absolutely no concern about child safety. We have too many other things to consider apart from that, much more important and daunting problems to tackle. We easily tug along one or sometimes 2 or more children on a motorbike, without even thinking twice. A car would be considered a safer option, that way.
Even we as adults, hardly wear a seat belt. It isn’t a rule in most non-urban cities.
Now, one can argue about practicality of having a car seat in India in three ways:
- Cost: Yes! Car seats are costly and have to be changed at least thrice according to age.
- Space: Our cars are usually small. Especially in the middle class sector, we drive hatchbacks like Maruti Suzuki Alto or Tata Nano or Hyundai. If a car seat is installed, only 3 adults can fit into the car comfortably. A family or 5 or more might not find it feasible.
- Speed: WE hardly go over a speed of 40 kms in the city, thanks to the traffic. We don’t have the expressways to warranty a need for a car seat.
But then we thought about it and bought a car seat right away. It was a tough few rides to acquaint the 6 month old to the new car seat. But now she is a pro. It is expensive, space-consuming and not really practical. But it is safe. That’s what matters more. Yes! We have to take an auto or hire a taxi when we have extra people travelling with us. But that’s a minor hassle. Though, many don’t understand the need. We are always asked to remove the car seat to solve the problem. We resist the advice and are at a receiving end a lot of rebuttal. But that’s fine. Safety and prevention is always better than cure, right?
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full-time mommy to an adorable 2-year-old girl and a part-time writer. 🙂 She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!