Okay, tip. If you know someone who is adopting/has adopted, avoid telling them they "did it the easy way." I've done both. Adoption is harder.
Okay, peeve. What is with people driving in school zones? I should refine that with, what is with PARENTS driving in school zones?? Seriously, some of the worst driving I've ever seen has been in the school zone at Ayden's preschool, which is located in an elementary school. When it is drop off time at 8:45, people speed through the zone at 60-70 Kph, sometimes the worst offenders are DUMP trucks...child pedestrian vs. dump truck: who do YOU think will win? People park illegally. People merge back into traffic without signalling or shoulder checking. People don't stop at the crosswalk. People angle park to drop their kids off, ACROSS THE SIDEWALK, and then have to back into traffic to get back on the road. People park across the street from the school and encourage their kids to dash across the street half a block from the marked crosswalk (this happens more often at pickup time in the afternoon). People drive too slowly. People talk on their phones while driving through the school parking lot. People don't signal their intentions to pull over, off to the side. People stop dead in the middle of the driveway without pulling over, blocking traffic behind them, and sit there while a ridiculous number of kids pile out of their back seat.
Good grief! Basic rules, people: drive 30 in a school zone, signal and shoulder check, and take the time to go in the school driveway to drop your kids off safely. Even better? Walk your kids to school (hello, I'm guilty; it would take us 3 or 4 hours to walk to Ayden's school one way). Lots of people do, but lots don't. I wonder what happened to school buses? When I was little, I took the bus.
okay, hunting for infant car seat. This brings to mind one of those issues that is close to my heart (and line of work). Car seat safety. I can't tell you how much it breaks my heart to see kids standing up in backseats, or sitting on a parent's lap, or using an adult-sized seat belt when clearly not appropriate. The #1 way children are accidentally killed or injured in Canada is in incidents involving vehicles, (crashes or pedestrian vs. vehicle) so it would be prudent of us to take every precaution with regards to vehicle safety. Most parents know that car seat safety is very important, and that ICBC claims 8/10 car seats are installed incorrectly. My beef with this is that alongside this should come a public service announcement listing of 'common mistakes' made in carseat installation or use!! Some common mistakes I see or hear about, mostly through work:
Infant car seats have a carrying handle. This handle should be stored DOWN, out of the way when in the vehicle. Otherwise it interferes with the crash cushioning mechanism in rear enders, and the handle often breaks off and injures the baby (sometimes stabbing them in the head or torso).
All seat belts must be TIGHT; you should not be able to pinch the seat belt harness at all when it is fastened around your baby. The seat belt holding the car seat to the car should be so tight that you can't move it more than one inch in any direction. The best way to achieve this, in my experience, is to kneel in the seat while tightening the seat belt. Also, the H-shaped locking clip is good for keeping the belt super tight. Lock that seat belt by pulling it all the way out at the top, tugging firmly, and then releasing. If you pull on the belt, it should no longer pull out because it is locked.
Use your tether, and, after removing your knees from the seat to tighten the seat belt, tighten it as firmly as possible.
Infants must not be turned around until they are 22 lbs AND 12 months old. It is commonly believed that 22 lbs is the marker for turning your child front facing, but a baby's spinal chord will not stretch more than an inch when forced forward before 12 months of age, causing it to snap.
Preschoolers must not be moved up to a booster seat until at least 40 lbs (usually around 4.5 years of age, but Ayden is almost 5 and only 37 lbs).
School aged children must (legally in Canada as of Jan. 1st, 2008) be in a booster seat until age 8 or 80 lbs, whichever happens first.
Car seat harness belts should be AT or BELOW an infant's shoulders in the rear facing position.
Car seat harness belts should be AT or ABOVE a child's shoulders in the front facing position. (Often, kids will outgrow their harness belt before they are heavy enough for a booster seat: Ayden outgrew his and we had to buy a whole new car seat just for the 6 to 8 months between car seat and booster).
Register your car seat: there are a LOT of recalls of entire seats or parts. If you are registered, the company will contact you.
Also, don't buy second hand car seats.
Car seats expire after 10 years.
Car seats should be disposed of after a crash, much like helmets.
Car seats purchased in the U.S.A. are crash tested to lower crash speeds than those purchased in Canada, and are thus illegal to use and not covered by auto insurance in Canada.
I'm sure no one is still reading this, but at least I've had my say!!