A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited to an event to learn more about child safety, particularly car safety, and the new GMC cross-over vehicle, the Terrain. I was interested in attending because I am very passionate about car safety. I live in South Florida, where we really have a car culture. Mass transit is unreliable and runs on a limited schedule and most people have long commutes to work, riding solo in the car. In addition to that, because of our climate, we have some extra concerns when it comes to keeping our kids safe. We have to worry about pool (and ocean, canal, etc) safety all year round. And the number of kids who die every year in Florida because they’ve been left in the car is mind boggling.
That’s why I was so pleased to learn more about how to keep my toddler safe in the car. The representatives from Safe Kids USA gave us so much information on what kind of car seat to buy (expensive is not better; they all meet the same federal guidelines and standards), how tight the straps should be (forget two fingers worth of space, you shouldn’t be able to get a finger in) and how long you should keep your child rear-facing (as long as possible, people! Up to the max height/weight of your car seat).
We also talked about toy safety, which is timely with the holidays coming up. We learned a neat trick to test whether or not a toy will be a choking hazard for your toddler. If the toy fits through the hole of an empty toilet paper roll, it’s a choking hazard and shouldn’t be given to a child under the age of 3.
As a strong believer in attachment parenting, I was grateful that the Safe Kids reps stressed that you should never use your car seat as a baby-sitter or bed for your baby. Your baby should spend 60 minutes per day, MAX, in the car seat. Of course there are times when you won’t be able to meet that ideal standard, say on road trips, but your baby shouldn’t be left in the car seat for extended periods of time. Babies need to be held and they also need time on the floor to crawl and explore.
After the information session, the ladies from SafeKids checked our car seat, and like most of the population, ours was installed incorrectly. Oops! Thankfully they walked us through proper installation and now our car seat is at one with the car.
We also had the chance to test drive the new GMC Terrain. It’s a nice little cross-over that comes with lots of cool features, like a rear vision camera, standard. It has a ton of room in the back and comes fully loaded for $30,000, including double TV/DVD players built into the headrests. Since we only have one kid, it’s probably more car than we need right now, but would make a great vehicle for a family of four, especially once the kids are older and need to be shuttled off to soccer practice, ballet, etc. The hugest selling point for me, though, was that the car gets 32 MPG. That rivals my compact car! My mom was so impressed she is thinking of leasing one of her own when her current lease is up. Yes, GMC has brought back leasing programs, too!
I had a great time at this event and learned a lot and shared a lot of it with you via my tweets that day. You can search for the Twitter hash tag #GMCTerrainMiami for more information.
Full disclosure: I was not paid to attend this event or to write about it, but I did receive a Sony Webbie as a free gift. Thanks, Sony!