Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Conspiracy Theory

Yesterday we went to the police station to have them check whether or not A. had installed the infant car seats correctly in our new family car, the Subaru Forester. He had, much to his fatherly pride. Unfortunately, there is barely enough room for him to fit into either the driver or passenger seats up front without bumping up against the infant seats behind him.

We'll be able to make do, but when the kiddos outgrow their infant seats and we have to get the larger, convertible car seats that go in backward until the babies are over a year old, there's no way both they and A. will fit into the car. (Unless the babies fit in the infant seats for a full year and can go straight to front-facing, which seems unlikely based on what I've heard from other mothers.)

"You're going to have to get a mini-van," the officer informed us.

Now, I don't have huge aesthetic hang-ups with getting a minivan or a small SUV (our Forester is a utility wagon, not an SUV, remember?) If we need it, we need it. With twins, it's not like we can go around kidding ourselves and other people into thinking we're all hip and young and unfettered.

But the whole thing did get me to thinking: a Subaru Forester is not exactly a teeny car. And at 6'1", A. is tall, but not freakishly so. Surely in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, where a hearty proportion of the population, male and female, is pushing 6 feet, people have twins. Or have both an infant and a toddler, necessitating two carseats at once. Or even just have one rear-facing car seat, and a tall adult in the passenger seat who needs a litle legroom up front. But you don't see the roads of these countries clogged with minivans and SUVs, do you, now?

My theory: the U.S. government is in cahoots with big oil and auto manufacturers on this one. The Fed's "safety" standards require that all rear-facing carseats are ju-u-st big enough so that anyone over, say, 5'10, has to seriously consider upsizing to a larger, more expensive, less fuel-efficient vehicle.

What do you think? Who's with me? I say we take to the streets.

An amusing aside: the officer who told us we needed a mini-van also told us he felt sorry for us that we were having twins. Not because it meant we needed to buy a new car. Just in general. Ah, so nice to receive condolences for one's children.


Blogger k said...

heres a thought from the netherlands: have you considered one carseat in the front passenger seat and another in the passenger seat behind? that way you can [mostly]reach over and replace fallen blankets etc and you bypass the whole legroom thing.
btw dont worry too much: our kid could fit into the maxi cosi bucket until a year, and when you are ready for seat no 2: look at the sweedish ones. they have the most rigorous regulations i know of and the seats are not giant. we are very happy with the sweedish backwards facing britax... it was a nightmare to reasearch and source though... :(

5:15 AM  
Blogger TLB said...

Isn't it illegal (or does it just seem like it because of all the warnings) to put children in the front seat these days? Airbags deploying and sending small children flying, etc.?

My sign-in word is "prrgf" which I interpret as sounding something like "preggef" or "preggers"--you, obviously, not me, since I am doomed to be childless.

2:39 PM  
Blogger congorilla said...

Oh god. A minivan. Well...what can you do?

Anywho, here's a nice little Christmas present. I found the Charlie Brown Christmas special on youtube--the entire show for free! It was awesome. I typed "free Charlie Brown special youtube" in google and I was led to the free sweet spot.

Lucy says it best for her Christmas list: I want tens and twenties. Tens and twenties...

12:17 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

George W. just called and told me that Hummers are a perfect fit for carseats.

1:49 PM  

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