Parenting Battles – The Car Seat

Parenting Battles – The Car Seat

Admit it, we’ve all been there! Usually it happens when you’re running late for an appointment or it’s tiddling down with rain. The child goes as stiff as a board and refuses to get into the seat or if you’re really unlucky refuses the car altogether.

We’ve had this happen a lot over the last few years but it’s usually manageable with a bit of bribery. That is until last week when the 5 year old decided he wasn’t having any of his new car seat.

The day started well. We’d been to the local country park on a Home Start day out. The kids had done crafts, played in the park, done some pond dipping and had a picnic. I’d been brave and taken all of them on my own and was feeling slightly smug that everything was going well.

We headed back to the car after several hours and I loaded the 3 smallest into the car while the eldest got himself in. This was no different to usual but things were about to get ugly! The 3 little ones were all ready to go and I went to do up the biggest ones seatbelt but he’d decided he didn’t want to be in his seat.

No amount of coaxing, arguing or fighting him would work. I tried for a good 20 minutes all whilst he was screaming at the top of his voice. It must have sounded like I was murdering him in the back of the car!

I eventually gave up and called Daddy in the vain hope he would listen to him. Kids always behave for their Dad’s right? By this point, the others were starting to get upset and I was sobbing that we were going to be stuck here forever! Daddy tried his best over the phone but failed miserably.

Knowing it wouldn’t be long until no. 2 started to try and escape his car seat and, faced with the prospect of being stuck in the car park forever with 4 screaming children, I did what all terrible parents do – I went to drive off. I’m not proud of my decision but thankfully all it took was starting the car and putting it in reverse before the child panicked and put his seatbelt on. If only I’d done that 20 minutes earlier!

I’m very glad he saw sense so quickly as I couldn’t have driven off knowing he was unrestrained in the back of the car. I’d probably still have been stuck in that car park several hours later when Daddy came home to rescue us!

This is a scenario I really hope won’t be repeated but knowing children and car seats, I know it will! What are your top tips for car seat refusers? How can I ace this in the future?

Dad Zone – Keeping My Family Safe – Buying New Tyres

Dad Zone – Keeping My Family Safe – Buying New Tyres

So here we go again. Our annual visit with Mr MOT for our second car and all was well – kind of. The car passed but had advisories on 3 tyres.

I am often mocked by friends about my tyre purchasing habits. When we bought our family car, it came with budget tyres. To make it worse, the rear tyres were not circular anymore and had developed a flat spot that caused a really irritating drumming noise. Being a family car, used for transporting my army of kids daily, I felt it only right to change them. An obscene amount of money later, my car had new treads.

Given that tyres are a hot topic in our house, I thought I would use my first guest post to tell you the 5 things I look for when buying new tyres.

1) Brand and model
Look at what your car originally came with. If your car came out the factory with Pirelli P6000s, think about sticking with it. Car manufacturers spend millions developing cars to perform and handle in a specific way. Some of this is attributed to the tyre choice. If you like the way it drives from the factory, go for it again.

2) Tyre size
Check you’re putting the correct size on your car. When I bought my first Focus, it had smaller tyres with a lower speed rating than designed for the car. I can only presume the previous owner thought it looked “sportier”. What they didn’t consider was the impact this has on a number of safety and driving factors. A smaller tyre means your speedo is out. In my case it was 7-8% lower than what I was actually doing. This was also decreasing my fuel efficiency which nobody wants!
To make things simpler, websites like Point S help you search and buy tyres by just entering the UK reg number. So even if you don’t know the size, speed and load rating it doesn’t matter!

3) EU Tyre Rating
Just like buying a fridge or washing machine, tyres are required to have a rating. There are 3 ratings given to tyres for fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise. Fuel efficiency and wet grips are scored A to G with A being the best and noise by 3 bars, the loudest getting 3 bars. The AA give a good explanation of the ratings.
Personally, both my cars have nothing less than a B rating for wet grip and fuel efficiency and the noisest have a 1 bar rating (70db).

4) Reviews
These are vitally important. I always read through many consumer reviews and professional test drive reviews on a specific brand of tyre before deciding.

5) Price
Very obvious but shop around. Companies often have offers which make the individual tyre price cheaper the more you buy. Also, check cashback websites like Quidco for offers on top of the original discounts.

I hope this helps explains what to look for when buying new tyres for a safe family drive. I always like to remind myself that the tyres are like shoes for the car. The better they are (not always the most expensive) the less likely you are to lose grip and fall over.