Parents incensed by the latest changes to the car seat recommendations for children - that babies be kept rear-facing until 2-years-old minimum, that preschoolers stay in a 5-point harness until they outgrow the weight and height recommendations and that older kids stay in a booster seat until they are at least 4'9" and 80 to 100 pounds - are missing a major opportunity. Sure we could blather on about which parents are bubble-wrapping prudes and which are lazy, selfish scofflaws but why waste precious adult conversation on that when you could be using these new regulations to pay your kid back for every food thrown, every piece of clean laundry shoved under the bed and every Mother's Day card they filled in with "I love you. Now make me French toast for breakfast." (true story)?
Considering my eldest was placed on the front row of his class picture by himself - he's 8 years old 3' 10" and 42 pounds) - and my father-in-law tops in at 5'6" in his cowboy boots (the male equivalent of stilettos), here are some great moments of hilarity I can look forward to and they'll benefit my precious little peanut too. Win-win!
1. An advantage on his driver's ed test. Sure it'll be a little awkward carrying his booster seat to the licensing station but while other kids are getting butt cooties from the student driver cars, my sweetie will be riding high in cushy comfort. If things get tense he can always pull out his Fisher-Price car keys and press the horn button - the way things get "cleaned" around here, I'm sure they'll still be stuck in his seat somewhere.
2. Customized car interior for $50 or less. The teens these days love those crazy (expensive) customized car seat covers and while Graco only has a few bland color options now, given the way their market just expanded overnight, look for the new skully and bleeding heart fabrics coming soon to a booster near you!
3. First date equalizer. Girls are often taller than boys way into high school so it's to my son's advantage to have a little extra help when he leans in for that first kiss.
4. No back seat shenanigans. But that first kiss will be where it stops. No 16 and Pregnant babies will be made in our minivan. Between the four booster seats for my kids and the spare I'll keep for when my adult-but-4'9"-friend Shellie visits, there will be absolutely no room for anything on Prom night but hand holding. And even then they will have to take off the removable arm rests, detachable drink holders and head wings first.
5. Snacking convenience. Booster seats have gotten seriously tricked out. Even the low-end models come with two drink holders (one square shaped for juice boxes) and a snack receptacle he can use to store whole-grain fishy crackers or his graphing calculator. Because nobody should ever be farther than arm's reach from their insulated sippy.
Related: The 18 Most Annoying Male Habits Explained
Anyone else have tiny kids that will be in a booster seat until college?
Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything
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