Convertible Car Seat Mistakes Moms and Dads Can Avoid

One right of passage for new parents that can often make them lose sleep is buying a new car seat. I remember the stress and anxiety that would build up trying to find just the perfect convertible seat that gave the ultimate safety for our child. It also had to be comfortable and easy to use. This is something that we were going to use for many years to come so we had to get it right. We are both careful drivers but this experience has probably made us overly cautious. A child restraint seat is one of the first big purchases you will make so it is good to know what to avoid.

One thing that we didn’t foresee as we were combing through countless reviews of the best convertible car seats was how this was just the first step to ensuring their safety. Once we picked a seat we were happy with we then had to learn how to use it correctly. Making sure that our child fit just right and that the seat was securely fastened to our vehicle required a little bit of a learning curve. Over time it became routine, but this is something that every parent should be prepared for when shopping for a new safety seat.

Getting Expert Help

Reading the car seat manual and adhering to its recommendations is vital. However experts advise parents to also read what the car maker says about car seat installation. One should make a point of following the two sets of guidelines. The same applies when moving the seat to another family car, since every car is different. It is therefore critical to make installation adjustments when a switch is made to ensure safety is maintained. Getting an expert second opinion from a certified technician is also a smart idea. Local firehouses and police stations routinely have car seat inspection events throughout the year which can help you get a better grasp on how to install the convertible seat correctly.

Making Sure All Straps Are Snug

If the car seat has no harness, kids need to wear seat belts fitted properly for protection. If the child is using a seat belt, with or without a booster seat, the belt lap section must rest low on the hips, not across the stomach or legs. The upper section should be across the chest, resting upon the body shoulder rather than on the neck. It should also not be put under the armpit. All children weighing between 40 and 80 pounds and are over 4 feet and nine inches tall require a booster seat to ensure the car seat belt fits properly. Also, it is advised that children below 13 years should not sit in the front seat.

Keep Rear-Facing As Long As Possible

Turning the child in order to see their faces using the rear-view mirror may seem convenient to the driving parent-but there are safety reasons to delay this.Experts recommend that kids should face the rear until they are two years old. This is due to the anatomical growth of the child. The vertebrae of children only fuse together only when they are aged between 4 and 6 years old. Therefore the impact of a frontal crash can severely damage the spine of a young child. In addition, if the child sits near the seat in front, they can hit it hard enough to cause serious damage to their legs, feet or even their brain. Facing the rear is a lot safer during all kinds of collisions. Most car seat manuals provide appropriate guidance on this. Some car seats can securely hold a larger toddler facing the rear.

Securely Fasten Everything

While it is inconvenient to keep loosening and tightening straps when kids get in and out of vehicles, the hassle is worth the effort to avoid them flying out in case of a crash. To ensure a proper and tight fit, the parent can do the pinch test. This is where after tightening the harness snugly, the parent can use his or her index finger and thumb to lightly grab the harness at the child’s collar bone, without digging too deep. Also ensure the harness chest clip is not too tight since this may lead to discomfort and red marks on the child’s skin.The chest clip should be slid up so it becomes level with the armpits.

Making Adjustments Over Time

Generally, safety seats are designed to fit a range of different ages. Therefore as the child grows, adjustments need to be made. An example is adjusting the shoulder straps for the forward facing kid. Parents should ensure that shoulder straps begin on the child’s shoulder, not below. Seats come with several different strap slots hence parents should ensure they adjust them upwards to match the child’s growth. Once the child’s shoulder is over the highest slot a new seat must be installed.

Getting The Right Seat

Whereas car seats come with age guidelines, the weight and height of a child is more important when choosing which one to install. There is a car seat finder tool on the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) website that can help a parent calculate the best seat for a child’s size.

Getting a Used Seat

Using old seats may be cost-efficient but may lead to safety concerns. Before installing a used car seat, one should ponder over several issues. This includes asking whether the car had been involved in a crash or if it is on a recall list. Older seats may be compromised since they may have been damaged in a car crash. The seat must not be over five years old since plastic weakens with age.

Summary

You obviously know how big of a deal getting a quality seat is, but knowing how to use it is just as important. Reducing the risk of injury by making the seat is used correctly will help put your mind at a little more ease and let you focus on getting to your destination without distraction. With a little practice and study, you will be an expert in no time.

What Dads Need To Know About Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder, or SAD (also known as General Social Phobia), is a psychological disorder that is experienced by up to thirteen percent of American citizens. It is characterized by a number of symptoms, and though it is a chronic problem that as of yet has no cure, treatments for Social Anxiety are growing in both number and effectiveness. Even though it can have drastic effects on how one interacts the with the outside world and other people, counseling and treatment for this disorder is rarely sought after by those suffering with SAD.

General social phobias may be caused by nearly any social interaction. Indeed, the mere thought or possibility of these interactions can trigger feelings of anxiety. These interactions can include talking to new people, public speaking, meetings, eating or drinking in public and even using public restrooms. Nearly anything that involves other people can trigger anxiety in individuals suffering from SAD. Although the potential triggers may be rather abstract in nature, the symptoms experienced are both very specific and very real.

Symptoms

Signs can vary wildly in intensity and scope, and every individual with SAD experiences them. As is often the case with psychological disorders, this anxiety manifests itself with both psychological and physical symptoms.

Psychological symptoms can include:

  • Fear that others are watching and analyzing the individual, even in typical social situations. This is sometimes called the “spotlight effect”
  • Intense trepidation of any form of interaction with a stranger or person of status, including professors or managers
  • Acute anxiety that may last for extended periods of time when anticipating a particular social interaction, including public speaking
  • Intense anxiety when faced with the possibility of an innocuous interaction.
  • Relentless and pervasive self-consciousness, constant feeling of “danger” in social situations
  • There are physical symptoms, as well.These may include:
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Sweating, typically around the palms
  • A perceived rise in temperature
  • Excessive tension in muscles
  • An upset stomach

How Do You Overcome Social Anxiety Disorder?

If you are at the point to where you want to do something about your social anxiety but realize that you don’t know what to do or where to start, seeking the counseling and help of a trained mental health professional is recommended. They will know exactly what to say to you without making you nervous and work with you to tackle the obstacles of your anxiety. The doctor will ask why you think you have a social anxiety disorder and will also want a complete list of your symptoms.

Be honest with your doctor and do not leave out any details of your feelings.  Don’t be shy on talking when talking with your therapist, they have probably heard it all before. With this information, your doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis and treatments available.

Medications

Some people are fortunate and have only minor social anxiety disorder and can overcome their fears without treatments. Others with more severe cases may require more involved courses of treatment. Your doctor may want to start you on medications that will help reduce your anxiety, but the drug usually takes several weeks for you to tell a difference.  Drugs are not a cure for anxiety, but can provide temporary relief as a patient works to try and resolve what triggers their anxiety and find solutions.

Another drug your physician may prescribe to help you overcome your social anxiety disorder is anti-anxiety medication, which should only be used for a short period of time. If you are prescribed this medication, you should not stop taking it without your doctor’s supervision because of the withdrawal symptoms you may experience.  Antidepressants are often used to treat anxiety disorders as well.  Anxiety and depression are often linked and these medications may not only help the patient’s anxiety symptoms but any signs of depression that they may also be experiencing.

Should You Seek Professional Counseling?

There are several types of counseling used for treating social anxiety disorder, so you may want to seek the right therapy as an effective way for overcoming social anxiety. Usually anxious thoughts develop after one or a few humiliating or embarrassing social situations that may leave you feeling overwhelmed emotionally.

By discussing these thoughts with a therapist and talking about the time or place your anxiety actually started, you could develop a more positive outlook and healthier perspective on overcoming social anxiety symptoms.

Breathing Techniques

The way you breathe is very important when facing anxiety, so learning the right breathing techniques will help you during an anxiety moment. By slowing your breathing down and breathing in regular patterns, oxygen feeds the brain and gives you the ability to think through the emotional issues.  This is a simple yet very effective way of alleviating a panic attack or reducing anxious feelings.

Treatment for SAD, and most other anxiety disorders, aims to get the patient back to being able to function and partake in social situations without their anxiety taking control and causing them to withdraw and avoid.  The prognosis for effectively treating social anxiety disorder is generally positive, but the first step is reaching out for help.  Patients do not have to live with their anxiety once they learn how to overcome it.  If you or a loved one one suspect you may be dealing with social anxiety disorder, seeking the help and advice of licensed mental health professional may be extremely beneficial in reclaiming your social life and the ability to be out in public with other people.

For more information detailing social anxiety disorder please check out this great video below.

Attachment Theory And Dad’s Role

Attachment Theory proposes that the mother is more important; the father is an economic and social support to her and plays ‘second fiddle’ when it comes to relationships with the children. The theory itself focuses on the behavior of children in relation to their secure base (or attachment figure) when they feel unsure or threatened, and their exploratory behavior away from their secure base when they feel safe. When children feel scared, they will stay close to their attachment figure, and when they feel confident and secure and their attachment figure is close and accessible, they will go exploring.

A baby works out who her primary attachment figure is using the following two criteria: firstly, the adult’s speed of response to her crying, and secondly, lots of lively playful social interaction initiated by the adult. These two experiences are the greatest promoters of attachment behavior in the first seven months of life. The primary attachment figure does not need to be related to the baby, it could turn out to be a nanny.

Sir Richard explained how his father was in fact raised by a nanny for four years and subsequently felt the pain of separation when she left the family. There is an instinctive need to select a primary attachment figure and if a baby is raised by a succession of different people, she can’t work out who that figure should be.

Security and Exploration

It is important that security and exploration remain in balance. Fathers generally are better at providing challenging situations for their children and helping them to explore. A father is an exciting playmate. Mothers are better at providing the secure base.

To back this up we were later treated to a comment which had been made by the four-year-old granddaughter of our Chairman: ‘Daddy does the best playing, Mummy does the best cuddling’. Research shows that children do better when they have both a mother and a father in a secure family. Sir Richard proposes that this should be amended to show two primary attachment figures

Whilst this seems to be a ‘linguistic nonsense’ (how can you have two primary attachment figures?), he put forward the analogy (having had a career as a scientific and medical photographer) that there are three primary colours in light and when they are brought together, something special happens.

The Regensburg Study

Sir Richard then went on to describe the findings of the Regensburg Study which was carried out in Germany by Professors Karl and Karen Grossmann. In 1980 they recruited a cohort of 55 married middle-class couples, with children. Amongst the many tests that the children underwent was one which measured the level of their parents’ Sensitive and Challenging Interactive Play. This was done with the children when they were two years old and produced what the Study calls a SCIP score.

The social and personal development of the ‘children’ was investigated at the age of 22, and it was found that they fell into three distinct groups: high social functioning, competent social functioning and low social functioning. There seemed to be no explanation for how they fell into these different groups from looking at the early tests.

Then they realised that the information using the fathers’ SCIP scores had not been analysed. When this was done a correlation was discovered: namely, the group with high social functioning had fathers with high SCIP scores and also felt secure with their mothers, the group with competent social functioning had either one or the other, and the group with low social functioning had neither.

This was really the focal point of the talk. Sir Richard went on to say that it is important for fathers to be able to get fun from playing with their children. If they are prevented from doing so, then the ‘payback’ is reduced and they are less likely to want to stay with the family.

Questions and Answers

One member observed that she had often seen fathers playing with their children insensitively, and asked what the effect on those children would be. Sir Richard replied that these children would not become highly competent in social situations and, on the contrary, would become anxious individuals. He stressed that it is important for the parent to be sensitive to the child’s temperament.

There was also a question regarding the typical age for the formation of the primary attachment bond. The bond is normally visible at the age of 6-7 months, but babies can delay making the primary bond until the age of 12 months, although this is not ideal. It is not good for a baby to form a close bond with a nanny and then for the nanny to leave. If there are clear primary attachment figures and three or more secondary attachment figures then there should be a good outcome.