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  #1  
Old 09-24-2014, 08:23 AM
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My new 3.5 year old DCK that started this week was just dropped of and was riding in the front seat of her mother's car.

I mentioned it to mom in a nice way and she said DCK's current car seat broke, the seat belt in her car broke and she hasn't had time to buy a new car seat....

What would you do?
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:34 AM
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I would call CPS right away. There is no excuse as to why she couldn't have her child in a car seat. If she needs help purchasing one then may even child services can help her with that. What if she were to get in an accident? You are a mandated reporter and that is a huge no no.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:44 AM
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I would contact mom and tell her if she doesn't have a car seat at pickup today you are legally obligated to report her.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Baby Beluga View Post
My new 3.5 year old DCK that started this week was just dropped of and was riding in the front seat of her mother's car.

I mentioned it to mom in a nice way and she said DCK's current car seat broke, the seat belt in her car broke and she hasn't had time to buy a new car seat....

What would you do?
As a mandated reporter I HAVE to report that.

I have it written in my policies.

I would tell this DCM that if she doesn't have a correct and legal car seat at pick up, you won't be allowed to let her pick up DCB without calling 911 the second she leaves.

not having time to buy a new seat? Please....we are talking about the safety of her child. What a lame excuse.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
As a mandated reporter I HAVE to report that.

I have it written in my policies.

I would tell this DCM that if she doesn't have a correct and legal car seat at pick up, you won't be allowed to let her pick up DCB without calling 911 the second she leaves.

not having time to buy a new seat? Please....we are talking about the safety of her child. What a lame excuse.
If something were to happen, I'm sure it could come back on you. Let the mom know that you will report.

I don't feel that it's my responsibility to check for proper carseats, but I do tell the parents at interview time that if I see something amiss, I will notify CPS/police.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Baby Beluga View Post
My new 3.5 year old DCK that started this week was just dropped of and was riding in the front seat of her mother's car.

I mentioned it to mom in a nice way and she said DCK's current car seat broke, the seat belt in her car broke and she hasn't had time to buy a new car seat....

What would you do?
I've never known of a car seat to break, not saying it doesn't happen, I just don't have first hand experience of it. The parent needs to notify the manufacturer.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:53 AM
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I remember one morning I left my DD's car seat in DH's car and he went to work. I had to call her out of school rather then risk driving with out. A friend of mine couldn't afford a car seat for her new born. She borrowed on for the trip home from the hospital but had to give back. She didn't take the baby out because she was saving up for one. When friends found out we all chipped in and got her one. There is no excuse.
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
As a mandated reporter I HAVE to report that.

I have it written in my policies.
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Originally Posted by sharlan View Post
If something were to happen, I'm sure it could come back on you. Let the mom know that you will report.


I'd report it to CPS. Not only for the safety of the child, but also for your own safety. If something were to happen the parent could sue you for knowing about the unsafe situation and not doing anything about it. I know it's crazy, but it's true.
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:30 AM
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This is absolutely nuts and I have a huge knot in my stomach from this. I have had nothing but trouble from this mother.

I looked up my states mandated reporter laws and if I read it correctly, if I don't report something I can receive a class 1 misdemeanor. I called the local CPST (child passenger safety technician) at the hospital down the street from me. She took the information and said she would talk with her supervisor and find out if I need to call CPS or the local baby safe hotline with the PD (we have a line where you can report children who are not properly restrained in a vehicle). What I am told from a second CPST: "Most states do not consider improper restraint in the car a CPS issue and we generally do not recommend reporting it as such. It's obviously illegal and unsafe.

I would come at it from an illegal standpoint. Mention if anything does happen to the child, she could then be prosecuted with vehicle homicide."

I am waiting to hear back from the CPST here on who I should call - CPS or the baby safe hotline. If I don't hear from the CPST by the time the children wake from nap, then I will call local PD and see what they say. Either way it will be reported.

The city I live in is the last city before no man's land. We are right on one of the biggest freeways in the state, the speed limit on the freeway is 75 mph and the one that people use to head north and out of the state. So we get a LOT of out of towners and it seems like there are always accidents. I cringe at the thought of what might happen to this little one.

The CPST also said they have resources where they can help get her a car seat or at least a booster depending on the child's size. Then at least if the child has no where but the front seat to sit, then she is restrained properly with a proper belt fit.

This mom might just be termed. The money is nice, but not the extra worry she has caused...in only 3 days!
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:35 AM
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When I first read it I assumed she was in the front seat, but in a car seat. But NO CAR SEAT ?????
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:38 AM
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Honestly, I would just let it go unless it is something that is recurring every day.

At this age, most of us were no longer using car seats (Heck I bet a lot of us didn't even use seat belts!) My DH came home in a car bed...an actual little bassinet you just plopped onto the back seat of the car with no seat belt.

In no way am I condoning that but I am just saying that we all survived so although it is not wise, I don't consider it to be abuse.

Hopefully DCM was smart enough to turn off the airbag and DCG had on a seat belt.
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:42 AM
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What is the law in your state regarding kids in the front seat? Would it be ok if she were in a car seat? Curious as to how many laws she was breaking lol
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by NeedaVaca View Post
I would contact mom and tell her if she doesn't have a car seat at pickup today you are legally obligated to report her.
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:48 AM
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Honestly, I would just let it go unless it is something that is recurring every day.

At this age, most of us were no longer using car seats (Heck I bet a lot of us didn't even use seat belts!) My DH came home in a car bed...an actual little bassinet you just plopped onto the back seat of the car with no seat belt.

In no way am I condoning that but I am just saying that we all survived so although it is not wise, I don't consider it to be abuse.

Hopefully DCM was smart enough to turn off the airbag and DCG had on a seat belt.
The laws are different now, legally the provider could be in big trouble for letting it go! Yes, I came home from the hospital in a box and my mom's old car didn't even have a seat belt in the back seat-she used her arm...doesn't mean anything now, laws changed and this provider and mom need to follow the law.
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:48 AM
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I would definitely tell her that the child can't ride without a proper restraint system in place, and personally, I would let her borrow one until she can replace it. Mom may not really understand the importance of having one, but I'd feel better knowing the child is safe.
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  #16  
Old 09-24-2014, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Soccermom View Post
Honestly, I would just let it go unless it is something that is recurring every day.

At this age, most of us were no longer using car seats (Heck I bet a lot of us didn't even use seat belts!) My DH came home in a car bed...an actual little bassinet you just plopped onto the back seat of the car with no seat belt.

In no way am I condoning that but I am just saying that we all survived so although it is not wise, I don't consider it to be abuse.

Hopefully DCM was smart enough to turn off the airbag and DCG had on a seat belt.
I don't think the mom is abusing her child. I think the mom has a lot on her plate, is going at this by herself and may not be the brightest crayon in the box

However, regardless of her reasons or excuses - it is illegal and very dangerous to her child. My goal is not to get the mom in trouble. My goal is to protect her child, get the mom some help and protect myself and my business. This is why a CPST was my first call and not CPS. However, legally I am required to report it. If I don't I could face legal ramifications. My concern right now is who I report it to.

While I do agree with you that back then many of us where not using car seats. The laws driving in general was different then it is today.

Laws in my state: Except as provided in subsection H of this section, a person shall not operate a motor vehicle on the highways in this state when transporting a child who is under five years of age unless that child is properly secured in a child restraint system.

Section H: A person who operates a motor vehicle that was originally manufactured without passenger restraint devices.

2. A person who operates a motor vehicle that is also a recreational vehicle as defined in section 41-2142.

3. A person who operates a commercial motor vehicle and who holds a current commercial driver license issued pursuant to chapter 8 of this title.

4. A person who must transport a child in an emergency to obtain necessary medical care.

5. A person who operates an authorized emergency vehicle that is transporting a child for medical care.

6. A person who transports more than one child under eight years of age in a motor vehicle that because of the restricted size of the passenger area does not provide sufficient area for the required number of child restraint systems, if both of the following conditions are met:

(a) At least one child is restrained or seated as required by this section.

(b) The person has secured as many of the other children in child restraint systems pursuant to this section as is reasonable given the restricted size of the passenger area and the number of passengers being transported in the motor vehicle.

A person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of fifty dollars, except that a civil penalty shall not be imposed if the person makes a sufficient showing that the motor vehicle has been subsequently equipped with a child restraint system that meets the standards adopted pursuant to subsection C of this section. A sufficient showing may include a receipt mailed to the appropriate court officer that evidences purchase or acquisition of a child restraint system. The court imposing and collecting the civil penalty shall deposit, pursuant to sections 35-146 and 35-147, the monies, exclusive of any surcharges imposed pursuant to sections 12-116.01 and 12-116.02, in the child restraint fund.

From what I saw the only two occupants in the car were the child and her mother. Therefore she needs to be retrained. Now, I do know that in the instance of a vehicle not having a backseat a child can legally ride in the front passenger seat provided that the airbags are turned off with a key and they are properly restrained in a car seat or booster.

The hospital CPST did state that if all the seat belts in the mother's backseat were broken then they could get the child a car seat or booster that would restrain her properly in the front seat. It is not ideal, but it is safer then her current situation.

If I had an extra car seat I would lone it to her in a heartbeat. But I don't. under no circumstances do I travel with the children and in the event of an emergency where a child needs to be transported, 911 is called to transport children. The parents know this.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:24 AM
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"no time to buy a new one".....hmmm. Yes, it's silly to think she doesn't have time.
Maybe "no time" really means no money. People who are struggling financially often try to hide the real problem.
There used to be a program that gave out free car seats. Try googling your state and free car seats. Maybe another family has one she can borrow? Maybe she just had to get paid on Friday.

Eta: lots of things come up when you google free car seat.
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Old 09-24-2014, 01:25 PM
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So, I just got off the phone with out local sheriff's office and feel a little defeated. She told me there wasn't anything they could do unless they pulled her over and the child was unrestrained. If mom is pulled over and DCK is unrestrained the sheriff said she could be charged with child endangerment.

She recommended I get the make/model and license plate of her vehicle and when she leaves, call the non emergency number and they will try to pull her over.

So here is what I was thinking. When mom picks up today I am going talk to her about car seat safety, etc and email her (for a paper trail) some info on free car seats or very cheap ones in our area. Then I figured I would explain the mandated reporter laws to her, explain that I was required by law to call the sheriffs office and explain what they told me. I will then tell her she NEEDS to have a car seat by tomorrow (I will be checking) or I will be calling the sheriffs office when she leaves on this situation. If that doesn't help (and she still keeps her kid here...) then I will call CPS on her because at that point she was given resources to help and if she did not utilize those resources then I would consider that abuse or at the very least neglect.

I also figured I would type all of this out in writing and have her sign it before she leaves and record the conversation. That way we both have a paper trail of the situation.

My biggest goal here is to help mom get this child properly restrained.

What do you think?
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Old 09-24-2014, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Baby Beluga View Post
So, I just got off the phone with out local sheriff's office and feel a little defeated. She told me there wasn't anything they could do unless they pulled her over and the child was unrestrained. If mom is pulled over and DCK is unrestrained the sheriff said she could be charged with child endangerment.

She recommended I get the make/model and license plate of her vehicle and when she leaves, call the non emergency number and they will try to pull her over.

So here is what I was thinking. When mom picks up today I am going talk to her about car seat safety, etc and email her (for a paper trail) some info on free car seats or very cheap ones in our area. Then I figured I would explain the mandated reporter laws to her, explain that I was required by law to call the sheriffs office and explain what they told me. I will then tell her she NEEDS to have a car seat by tomorrow (I will be checking) or I will be calling the sheriffs office when she leaves on this situation. If that doesn't help (and she still keeps her kid here...) then I will call CPS on her because at that point she was given resources to help and if she did not utilize those resources then I would consider that abuse or at the very least neglect.

I also figured I would type all of this out in writing and have her sign it before she leaves and record the conversation. That way we both have a paper trail of the situation.

My biggest goal here is to help mom get this child properly restrained.

What do you think?
GREAT plan of action!

I especially like the part about having mom sign off on the info you provided.

Good way to cover your own butt.
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Old 09-24-2014, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Baby Beluga View Post
So, I just got off the phone with out local sheriff's office and feel a little defeated. She told me there wasn't anything they could do unless they pulled her over and the child was unrestrained. If mom is pulled over and DCK is unrestrained the sheriff said she could be charged with child endangerment.

She recommended I get the make/model and license plate of her vehicle and when she leaves, call the non emergency number and they will try to pull her over.

So here is what I was thinking. When mom picks up today I am going talk to her about car seat safety, etc and email her (for a paper trail) some info on free car seats or very cheap ones in our area. Then I figured I would explain the mandated reporter laws to her, explain that I was required by law to call the sheriffs office and explain what they told me. I will then tell her she NEEDS to have a car seat by tomorrow (I will be checking) or I will be calling the sheriffs office when she leaves on this situation. If that doesn't help (and she still keeps her kid here...) then I will call CPS on her because at that point she was given resources to help and if she did not utilize those resources then I would consider that abuse or at the very least neglect.

I also figured I would type all of this out in writing and have her sign it before she leaves and record the conversation. That way we both have a paper trail of the situation.

My biggest goal here is to help mom get this child properly restrained.

What do you think?
That sounds great to me! Hopefully the DCM will get things figured out before she picks up, but it sounds like she may not. I pray the DCG is safe and a suitable car seat is found quickly!
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Old 09-24-2014, 02:10 PM
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Just about every other thought I had was mentioned above but with Amazon.com you can order everything and get it 2-day. No time? A few buttons on your smart phone while you're on the potty and your car seat is here!
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Old 09-24-2014, 02:52 PM
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When I worked for the County, a sheriff's deputy told me that this situation is a major pet peeve for law enforcement and told me anytime I see a child not properly restrained in a moving vehicle to call 911. It is child endangerment.
Your plan sounds well thought out and protects both you and the child. Good going.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:13 PM
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Thanks everyone for your support and advice, this is the first time I have had to make such a report and it really kinda made me sick today!

I spoke with DCM at pick up. I told her I was not a licensed CPST however I am knowledgeable on proper safety restraint use and asked if I could take a look at her car to offer my help. It turns out:

DCK DOES have a car seat and the seat belts in mom's car are not broken (mom was confusing the car seat harness with her car's actual seat belt). However, here is what happens: DCK doesn't like being in the car seat. She un-clips the chest clip on her car seat, undoes the crotch buckle and then climbs into the front seat. Because mom doesn't want to fight with DCK she just let's her sit up front in an adult seat belt so DCK doesn't scream and because "she won't listen to mom."

Mom thought her daughter was not supposed to un-clip the chest clip and because she was able to, she thought the seat was broken. I explained to her that undoing the chest clip can pretty normal behavior but it is a discipline issue and at 3.5 years old her child was plenty old enough to understand that this was unacceptable behavior in the car and she needs to stop. I told mom every time that DCK undid her harness and tried to climb up front she needs to pull over the car, re-buckle her in and explain that she is to remain that way.

Turns out mom also knows zilch about car seat safety, nor did she know that car seats expired. I explained to her that they do expire, how that works and gave her plenty of resources to aid her in getting a free or reduced cost car seat. She kept telling me how expensive car seats are. My response to her: Yes, car seats can be expensive, but medical bills are far more expensive.

I also explained the mandatory reporter laws I was required to follow and told her I called the sheriff's department and what they said. I told her if I saw DCK up front one more time I would be calling the sheriff's office when she leaves and would then place a call to CPS - especially since I have given her plenty of information and resources to fix this problem.

She seemed grateful for the resources and a bit taken aback by what I had to say. I told her legally I had to. That if something happened to DCK as a result of her not being properly restrained I could face legal ramifications - not to mention how utterly awful and at fault I would feel for not speaking up. I told her my goal was to not get her in trouble, but to protect DCK and help the mom if she needed it. We are always here for the kids we care for, but sometimes I think the parents need our help too...anyway she signed the letter that outlines all of this for her and we both have a copy.

I have to say that I think I am more upset knowing that she has a car seat and the mom was just turning a blind eye because DCK "doesn't listen to her." I mean, had her car seat or seat belt really broken and she had no means to get DCK a car seat by tomorrow I would have happily purchased one this evening for her, dropped it off at her apartment and even helped her to install it. But this just seems lazy to me.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:22 PM
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Sounds like this mom needs to see the video the results of not wearing a seat belt.

Ugh how horribly annoying.

Glad the talk went well I hope DCM follows through.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Baby Beluga View Post
Thanks everyone for your support and advice, this is the first time I have had to make such a report and it really kinda made me sick today!

I spoke with DCM at pick up. I told her I was not a licensed CPST however I am knowledgeable on proper safety restraint use and asked if I could take a look at her car to offer my help. It turns out:

DCK DOES have a car seat and the seat belts in mom's car are not broken (mom was confusing the car seat harness with her car's actual seat belt). However, here is what happens: DCK doesn't like being in the car seat. She un-clips the chest clip on her car seat, undoes the crotch buckle and then climbs into the front seat. Because mom doesn't want to fight with DCK she just let's her sit up front in an adult seat belt so DCK doesn't scream and because "she won't listen to mom."

Mom thought her daughter was not supposed to un-clip the chest clip and because she was able to, she thought the seat was broken. I explained to her that undoing the chest clip can pretty normal behavior but it is a discipline issue and at 3.5 years old her child was plenty old enough to understand that this was unacceptable behavior in the car and she needs to stop. I told mom every time that DCK undid her harness and tried to climb up front she needs to pull over the car, re-buckle her in and explain that she is to remain that way.

Turns out mom also knows zilch about car seat safety, nor did she know that car seats expired. I explained to her that they do expire, how that works and gave her plenty of resources to aid her in getting a free or reduced cost car seat. She kept telling me how expensive car seats are. My response to her: Yes, car seats can be expensive, but medical bills are far more expensive.

I also explained the mandatory reporter laws I was required to follow and told her I called the sheriff's department and what they said. I told her if I saw DCK up front one more time I would be calling the sheriff's office when she leaves and would then place a call to CPS - especially since I have given her plenty of information and resources to fix this problem.

She seemed grateful for the resources and a bit taken aback by what I had to say. I told her legally I had to. That if something happened to DCK as a result of her not being properly restrained I could face legal ramifications - not to mention how utterly awful and at fault I would feel for not speaking up. I told her my goal was to not get her in trouble, but to protect DCK and help the mom if she needed it. We are always here for the kids we care for, but sometimes I think the parents need our help too...anyway she signed the letter that outlines all of this for her and we both have a copy.

I have to say that I think I am more upset knowing that she has a car seat and the mom was just turning a blind eye because DCK "doesn't listen to her." I mean, had her car seat or seat belt really broken and she had no means to get DCK a car seat by tomorrow I would have happily purchased one this evening for her, dropped it off at her apartment and even helped her to install it. But this just seems lazy to me.
Bet mom and child get into the habit of stopping a block or two away from your house and "buckling up" so you don't catch her in the act.

I'd start chatting with DCK about safety of car seats and how it's important for kids to use them. Might be a great time to do a whole learning unit of this topic.

Sometimes it's easier to educate the child than it is the parents.

I wonder if DCK would spill the beans if they started to "pretend" to use the car seat...

Nicely handled too by the way Baby Beluga! Very professional!
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:53 AM
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If she puts the child in anything other than her proper car seat when she picks up the child tonight, get her tag number and make and model of her car and call the police immediately.

You should call the Child Protection Agency during the day today as well.

Also, you can let her know tonight that you can not release the child to anyone who you are aware of not having a proper car seat for the child.

I had this exact thing happen with one of my daycare kids a few months ago and discussed it here on this forum. I made a big fuss about it to the mother. I told them that if I see a child with no car seat, I am a mandatory reporter and am required to report it to the police immediately. I told her that I can not release the child to anyone without a car seat. The mother had her cousin (I think it was her cousin) go buy the child during the day and had it when they picked up the child.

If you make a big fuss about it like that, hopefully they will buy the child a car seat. If they can't afford one, you might be able to find programs that either give them away for free or sell them at a reduced price. Maybe you can try to find some of those programs during the day today and give her contact information about them tonight. In my area, though, the people at those places said that so many people need car seats here, that as soon as they get them, they are given away. So you have to get on a waiting list that's months long. So, the program didn't help my daycare mom and she simply had to buy a car seat at the regular store.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:08 AM
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DCK DOES have a car seat and the seat belts in mom's car are not broken (mom was confusing the car seat harness with her car's actual seat belt). However, here is what happens: DCK doesn't like being in the car seat. She un-clips the chest clip on her car seat, undoes the crotch buckle and then climbs into the front seat. Because mom doesn't want to fight with DCK she just let's her sit up front in an adult seat belt so DCK doesn't scream and because "she won't listen to mom."
Some car seat clips are easier to unbuckle than others. Maybe it's time for a new car seat. Mom can test them out in the store and choose one that dcg has difficulty unbuckling. Mom has no excuse...she unbuckles it, so I let her just so I don't have to argue with her. Really?? She's 3. What is she going to get away with at 13 to avoid arguing??

My son went through a phase where he managed to wiggle himself free. I would stop the car and tell him we are not moving until you are properly buckled. I had to be VERY firm with him.

The trouble is parents don't want to be firm, they want to be the good guy. That and it's just easier to give in
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:17 PM
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Blackcat, it's funny you mention that. Our theme next week is "Things that go" where will be learning about cars, trucks, boats, etc. and I had the thought last night about adding car seat safety. I thought I would either ask the local CPST if I may borrow one of hers (they often keep expired seats to use as demonstration pieces) or just buy a cheap used one from craigslist.

PVacation - So sad to me that the number parents not using car seats is increasing. Good for you for standing up for the child and good that the mom fixed the problem. When I contacted our local CPST yesterday she told me they had car seats there and the mom is off tomorrow... I emailed her a list of programs in our state that help with free or reduced cost car seats and I told her about one program the local hospitals do - you attend a two hour class on a Saturday and can purchase a brand new car seat for $25. Pretty good deal if you ask me. She has enough resources, if she doesn't take advantage of them that will be a conscience choice on her part.

Crafty Mom - good for you for pulling over each time your child did that! If only all parents would do that undoing the chest clip is a pretty normal thing, and it just takes consistent discipline to correct it. One of the things that is suggested to parents who have little ones who undo their chest clip is to put the child in the seat and fully harness them in. Then place a button up shirt on the child and over the harness and button it up. Kiddos have to undo all the buttons before getting to the chest clip and harness. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work. When I suggested this to mom she just said "Oh, well she would just undo the buttons." She didn't even TRY it first!
So frustrating.
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:30 PM
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Honestly, I would just let it go unless it is something that is recurring every day.

At this age, most of us were no longer using car seats (Heck I bet a lot of us didn't even use seat belts!) My DH came home in a car bed...an actual little bassinet you just plopped onto the back seat of the car with no seat belt.

In no way am I condoning that but I am just saying that we all survived so although it is not wise, I don't consider it to be abuse.

Hopefully DCM was smart enough to turn off the airbag and DCG had on a seat belt.
This attitude annoys me. The reason we all survived is because we weren't in serious accidents. Of course, most of our kids would be completely fine- but all it takes is one time. Recent accident near my house- 4 kids dead because they weren't in car seats. Chances of that happening to me are pretty slim, but why chance it?
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Old 10-13-2014, 08:03 PM
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At 3.5 she is old enough for some booster seats (depending on her height/weight and state laws). Perhaps it's time to make the transition if she is fine staying with a normal seat belt. They can make a big deal about her 'big girl' seat ... let her pick which one she wants.
If she can't stay buckled in the back with her big girl seat... then she will have to go back to her 'baby seat'.
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