Monday, July 11, 2005

Of Car Seats and Common Sense

Every so often, some state in the US publishes a new law or guideline, raising the age and weight requirements for kids to ride in a vehicle with a car seat. In the last few years guidelines have gotten completely, totally NUTS. Depending on the state you live in, your child may have to be as much as five feet tall and one hundred pounds to legally ride without a car seat. Despite how crazy this seems to the majority of the thinking public, we are assured by the "experts" that this will increase our children's safety in the event of a crash.

Well, yesterday The New York Times published an article about car seats and it turns out that what most of us have suspected for a long time is true. We've been getting scammed. Apparently the much lauded data about the benefits of car seats in a crash is only in comparison to children with NO restraint or seatbelt at all. And further, it turns out that children over two years of age restrained with a regular seat belt are no worse off in a crash than a child of the same age using some form of car or booster seat. None, nada, zip, zilch....even when you control for all sorts of variables such as car type, crash type, etc. There even is data that shows children over two years of age in a booster seat fare somewhat worse off in rear impact crashes.

What's the moral of this story? If some "expert" wants you to believe them, over your own good sense, you can pretty well bet that it's someone trying to separate you from your dollars. Or in the case of car and boosters seats, about 50-200 of those dollars.

You can link to the full article at www.freakonomics.com

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Another Voice

Until I accidentally deleted it, my opening message was going to be about adding voices into the discussion of American life. About how there are just a few voices, media voices, that seem to be controlling the thinking of an entire country. And the need that I perceive for ordinary people to join the discussions of all aspects of life from: politics, the media, culture, education, religion, and philosophy. I was even going to include some lofty sentiment about the internet, and especially the "blogosphere", being a democratic place where our voices can be heard.

Really, though, that's all bunk. My motives and sentiments aren't particularly lofty at all. What I want is plain and simple. I want to sound-off on anything I like. And I want to encourage others to sound-off, too.

I will write, as the name of this blog indicates, on things that I see and hear. I will write my thoughts, and my opinions. I will be as fair as I know how, and show no quarter to foolishness. I encourage everyone who reads this blog to do the same.

I am adding another voice to the conversation. Some apathetic types believe that one more voice doesn't matter, can't make a difference. But Horton didn't believe that, and neither do I. Most importantly, it's my voice. Mine. That is what matters.