Sunday, December 09, 2007

For the Children

Catching up on some back-issues (or whatever you call internet postings) over at the Mexfiles, I learn that the infant mortality rate in Mexico is about 15.7 deaths per thousand live births. This compares somewhat unfavorably with the US, where the number is 6.37. Fear not, amigos, Burro Hall is here to help. Working together, we can cut that number in half in, like, 20 minutes.

See this weird contraption over here? This is what we in America all a "child's car seat" ("silla de niños para automoviles") It's a cushioned, high-backed, protective cocoon into which you lock the child by his torso with a series of straps and buckles. This device is, in turn, strapped into the back seat (the back seat - that's important) of your automobile.

I know what you're thinking. "My child will not be able to stand up and stare out the window!" Or, "He will cry if I do not let him sit on my lap while I am driving!" Or even, "But there is no place safer than in her mother's arms!" Yes, yes, all these things are true. But he will also be far less likely to fly through the windshield, slide across the hood and land under the front wheels if you are forced to stop short.

Seriously, Mexican drivers have none of level-headed patience and common courtesy that my hometown of Boston is so famous for, and they ply their unique brand of offense-oriented speed-demonism on cobblestone streets littered with surprise speedbumps and which, at least in Querétaro, don't appear to have been widened since the 17th Century. And yet in a year and a half here, I have seen a grand total of one (1) child seat, occupied by our friends' little daughter, who it's probably worth pointing out, is half American.

What has me totally baffled is that many times when I see a small child standing on the front passenger seat with his hands on the dashboard, his mother is driving an expensive late-model American SUV. Both parents are probably college educated, and the child presumably lacks for nothing. Except a fucking seatbelt.

C'mon, amigos, it's almost 2008. Can't one of this country's 50,000 pageant queens make this her issue? We've got Wal-Marts and Costcos here now. Let's see if we can't get that dead-baby number down in the single digits the year, shall we?


'Eddie Willers' said...

car Seats?
Kids inside the vehicle?


Round these parts, the kids are slung in the back of the pickup with the women and animals with, maybe, a cardboard box to sit on.

Seriously, remember when you travelled in the car with your folks? Bench front seats with no belts...hiding in the back in the footwell next to the transmission tunnel...excitement and adventure.

But before we get on our soapboxes about childseats how 'bout we campaign for driving tests and the proper enforcement of existing rules?

Burro Hall said...

Oh sure, I remember those seatbelt-free car trips. Coincidentally, the infant mortality rate was 350% higher back then (20/1000).

I'm with ya on the driving tests, but even the best drivers have to slam on the brakes every now and again. Even in a place as safe and orderly as this.