Traveling with Restraint

As parents, you’re trying to do the best you can to ensure the health and safety of your children. You feed them a nourishing breakfast, bundle them up warm, and if you live in a place where you have to drive them to school you load them into the family car and drive carefully. But wait.

Look at those children riding with you. Are they using seat restraints? Are you? In order to be safe, all passengers riding in the car should be properly restrained. As an adult, this means that you are using a lap belt and shoulder harness if available. For your children who are less than four years old (or forty-five pounds), it means that they are using specially designed car safety seats.

You might make the assumption that since you’re only going a short distance, it doesn’t really matter whether you take these safety precautions or not. However, a Washington State study found that fatal accidents involving young children usually occurred under ordinary circumstances on dry roads at low speeds during daylight hours, were unrelated to alcohol usage, and occurred within twenty-five miles of home. 1

It is interesting to note that even with the admonition to “buckle up for safety” only one out of every five adults uses seat belts. Of those adults who do use seat belts, only one-fourth of their children are properly restrained. 2 This becomes an ominous fact when you consider that motor vehicle crashes result in more deaths among children than any single disease. 3 In the 1970s, 16,820 children 0 to 4 years of age were killed in motor-vehicle-related accidents in the United States. 4

Studies done with car seats have shown that when they are used according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, 93 percent fewer deaths and 70 percent fewer serious injuries have been recorded. 5

Among parents who do not use infant restraints, one of the most common riding positions of an infant is in the arms of an adult. Unfortunately, this is the most lethal position. In a 30-mph collision, a fifteen-pound baby can suddenly weigh as much as 450 pounds. Regardless of how strong you are, there is no way you can hold on to that baby in a crash. As a result, the infant will hit the dashboard with the force of a fall from a three-story building. To compound problems further, if the adult holding the infant is not using seat belts, his body will act as a crushing force upon the baby’s body. 6

Some parents, even after they buy a car restraint, do not use it according to the manufacturer’s directions. For instance, they do not anchor the restraint by the vehicle’s seat belts, or they do not secure the harness, or they do not use the tether strap. The best car seat for you and your child is the one you’ll use correctly every time you are in the car.

Comparative shopping information about restraints may be obtained from many sources. Restraints can also be obtained on loan from many local and national government agencies. Pam Mahan Gurell, RN, BSN, Salt Lake City, Utah


  •   1.

    Robert G. Scherz, “Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents of Child Passengers from Birth through Four Years of Age in Washington State,” Pediatrics, Oct. 1981, pp. 572–75.

  •   2.

    Jerome J. Karwacki, Jr., and Susan P. Baker, “Children in Motor Vehicles—Never Too Young to Die,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Dec. 1979, pp. 2848–51.

  •   3.

    Keith S. Reisinger, M.D., et al, “Effect of Pediatricians’ Counseling on Infant Restraint Use,” Pediatrics, 67:2, February 1981, p. 201.

  •   4.

    “Accident Facts, Motor Vehicle Deaths and Death Rates by Ages, 1913–1979,” (pamphlet), U.S. National Safety Council, 1980, p. 60.

  •   5.

    Scherz, pp. 572–75.

  •   6.

    “Children in Crashes,” ed. Anne Fleming, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, June 1981, p. 16.

  • Pictures to Sing By

    To teach my children gospel truths through music, I let them make their own picture and word books for each Primary song or hymn.

    After cutting poster board into six-inch squares, I punch holes in the top and tie the pages together with string. Mother or an older child writes the words, and children draw original pictures about the words on that page. We sing one song each morning along with our scripture reading and family prayer. Denise Tenney Wasuita, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

    Cleaning by Flip Cards

    When my house began to look like the aftermath of the Mount St. Helens eruption, I knew it was time to plan a course of action.

    First, I listed every conceivable household duty (the list was two pages long!) and jotted down whether it should be done on a daily, weekly, monthly, or less frequent basis. Then on each of twenty-eight spiral-bound three-by-five-inch cards I wrote the days of the week (four weeks of Sunday through Saturday). Daily duties such as make the beds, wash dishes, and PSEJ (prayer, scripture, exercise, journal) were written on each card, while weekly duties were divided fairly equally between Monday through Friday. (Saturday and Sunday were free from chores.) Monthly duties were scattered throughout the cards, as were bimonthly and less frequent tasks, which were also identified by listing the month in which they should be accomplished.

    Instead of spending five hours on “cleaning day” trying to get the house presentable, I refer to my flipcards and clean only an hour or so each morning, giving me all day to do what I really want to do. Having this regimen in writing has given discipline and order to my homemaking. Christine M. Frisch, Manchester, Missouri

    Winter Tomatoes

    With a little care and planning, you can be picking tomatoes in February from your own indoor “garden.” Here is the procedure:

    1. Select a location with plenty of sunshine. Tomatoes need direct sun, not just light.

    2. Choose pots with good drainage. (The number of pots will be determined by the tomato crop you want to harvest.) Your tomato plant will grow bigger in a large pot, but even a pot as small as eight inches in diameter is satisfactory.

    3. Purchase commercial potting soil, or make your own potting soil by mixing one-third each of garden soil, peat moss, and sand. Remember that if your soil is not sterilized, it may have weed seeds, insect eggs, or other impurities that could cause problems. Soil can be sterilized by baking it at a temperature of 150 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

    4. Start a tomato plant from seed or from a cutting. Choose a cherry tomato variety especially developed to grow in pots.

    To start from seed: Plant several seeds in moist potting soil in a large pot, or in small pots to be transplanted later. Keep moist. Temperature should be between 60 and 80 degrees. Normal germination time is seven to fourteen days. For faster germination, cover the pot with plastic and keep in a dark place; no watering will be necessary. As soon as seedlings emerge, bring the plants to the light and remove the plastic. If seedlings are left in the dark, they will die when moved to the light. Seeds can germinate in three or four days, so watch carefully. The first leaves that emerge are seed leaves. When the next two leaves, the true leaves, emerge and when the plants seem healthy and well-established, select the best one for your permanent pot and remove all the others. Don’t try to grow more than one tomato plant in one pot.

    To start from a cutting: Select several healthy stems from a garden cherry-tomato plant. Cut back most of the leaves, leaving only two or three small ones. Remove any blossoms or small fruit. Dust the stem with commercial rooting preparation and place directly in moist potting soil. Keep the soil moist and the plants in a light place, but not in direct sunlight. After a couple of weeks, when plants are well established, select the healthiest one and gradually move to a sunny location.

    Plants started from a cutting will produce fruit much earlier than those started from seed.

    5. Give your tomato plant consistent care. Tomatoes in pots soon use up all the water and soil nutrients, so water regularly and add water-soluble fertilizer every two or three weeks. Watch carefully to make sure the drainage holes in the pot do not get plugged. You can usually determine when and how much fertilizer to give by watching the color of the leaves. Pale, slightly yellow leaves are a sign that either your plants need more fertilizer, more sunshine, or that you are watering them too much. Very dark green leaves that tend to curl a little indicate too much fertilizer. Compensate for this by frequent watering. Fairly dark green leaves and a healthy-looking plant show that you are doing everything just right!

    Your tomato will need staking. While the plant is still small, push one end of a twelve- to twenty-four-inch-long stick into the soil three or four inches deep and about one inch from the plant. As the plant grows, tie the stem loosely to the stake, using ribbon or cloth rather than string. If your plant is growing bigger than you want it to grow, pinch off the top growing tips. This will also help to produce earlier fruit.

    The result: If you start your tomatoes in September, you should be eating tasty cherry tomatoes by February! In fact, you can work this procedure throughout the year. Kathleen Hedberg, Burley, Idaho

    [photos] Photography by Jed A. Clark