Let’s talk about backless booster seats – #CarseatFullstop

When Noah was just over a year old, we were given a backless booster seat for him to use. We did think he was still a bit small for a seat like that, even though it did say it was suitable for children from 18 months old and he was the right weight, being a big boy. So we put it away, to use one day when he was a little older.

With him turning 3 at the beginning of this year, and being well within the weight recommended on this particular seat, we thought we would use the backless booster seat in my mom-in-laws car, and keep his current car seat in our car. That was until I learnt some things about the backless booster seat – things that made me realise that it is not necessairily an ideal alternative for my child to use in any car.

And here is what I have learned, thanks to initiatives like #CarseatFullstop

Let's talk about backless booster seats

The biggest eye opener for me was that a backless booster seat offers zero side impact protection. Nothing. None at all. Independent crash testing has shown that in a side impact collision, the child’s head hits the car door, and they can slip out of the seatbelt. When I first read this, my blood ran cold. It seems so obvious to me now that I know this, simply because there are no side or back panels supporting my child’s body…just a cushion and a belt.

The booster seat helps to raise your child to the 1.5m height that they need to be, for the belt to be positioned properly around their little bodies. That doesn’t always help to keep their little, developing bodies safe though.

“A child under 1.5m tall isn’t safe in the car’s seatbelt – and it isn’t only height related – you will get a lot of people who will say, ‘Oh, I am 40 but only just 1.5m so I probably also need a booster seat.’ While technically the seatbelt can seriously hurt an adult  who is at or even just above or below 1.5m, the adult body is finished developing – a child’s is not.” Mandy-Lee Miller, Founder and Director #CarseatFullstop

It is also important to note that if your child is short, but heavier than the weight limit of the booster seat, they still need to use a booster seat until they are 1.5m tall, but preferably a full, high back booster seat. This is because their weight is caught by the seatbelt when in a booster seat, and not a harness. So it is important that the belt is positioned properly, with the help of a high back booster seat.

I’m not going to lie, after I found out jut how unsafe backless booster seats actually are, I was ready to throw ours away immediately. But, there is a place for backless booster seats in the South African context.

  • Many older South African children have to use public transport, Uber or some form of school transport. These products will at least protect your child from the seatbelt, so they are safer than nothing at all.

  • If your child is over 125cm AND over 22kg, your centre seat has a full 3-point seatbelt and you have to fit 3 car seats in the back. The centre of the back seat is technically the safest position in the car. The thought behind being able to use a non-car seat in the centre is that having two full car seats on either side will provide some level of side impact protection.

  • If you have just realised your child should be in a booster seat and you need something until you can save enough for a full high back booster seat.

  • If you are traveling within South Africa and are unable to take your proper full-back booster seat.

  • Taken from a post on the #CarseatFullstop website here.

If all you have is a backless booster seat, it is better to use it, than to use nothing at all. While it is not ideal, we will still be using our backless booster seat, FOR NOW, while we look into other, safer options for us to use for our Noah instead.

You are able to purchase BeSafe and Recaro car seats through #CarSeatFullStop, at great prices. So we will be looking into our options through them, and replacing our backless booster seat ASAP.

Education is key. I have been a parent for nearly 3 years, and until now I never knew the dangers of backless booster seats. Now, I know. Now, I can make the necessary changes to keep my child safe.

CSFS Fact 38

“Every child. Every time. No matter what.” #CarseatFullstop

You can find #CarseatFullstop on Facebook and you can visit their website here.

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Our favourite books to read

With it being National Book Week this week, I thought I’d share some of our favourite books to read, with you. Noah has quite a variety of books in his ever expanding library, but there are a few books that are his go-to every time he chooses a book to either read to himself, or have one of us read to him. In an attempt to include Noah, I thought I’d sit him down in front of his books, ask him to have a look through them all, and choose 5 of his favourite books to read.

Favourite Books

Now, in my mind I pictured him sitting beautifully in front of his books, looking at me, listening intently as I explained what I needed him to do. Then he would lovingly go through each book, and carefully choose his 5 favourites. Reality was very different to the expectation! You’d think I’d have known this, being his mom and all, but alas! He wasn’t really interested in sitting nicely and posing for a photo in front of his books. He was making silly noises and saying silly words while I tried to explain what I wanted him to do. And when it came to picking his books, well, let’s just say, he didn’t look lovingly at each book, he quickly searched for and grabbed the ones he wanted, with not much thought to looking through them properly. Ah, the joys of busy little boys!

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Anyway, here are the 5 books that Noah chose, in no particular order:

1.) Jeremy – Thomas and Friends

in December we bought a set of 17 Thomas and Friends story books from a mom on our local Facebook Moms Group. Noah has loved reading them from the day we got them. And Jeremy is definitely one of his favourites from the set. This story is about how Thomas is a bit jealous of Jeremy, because Jeremy can fly, while Thomas has to stop at signals. But one day, Thomas needs help to save the Sodor family picnic, and Jeremy was very happy to help! Such a sweet story!

2.) Planes

Ah, Dusty Crophopper, my good friend! Noah has both Planes DVD’s. He has Planes bedding and even t-shirts. He even has a Dusty scatter cushion and a Dusty teddy bear, never mind two actual toy Dusty planes. He is a fan, to say the least. And 9 times out of 10, he will take this book off the shelf, and sit and read it to himself. He received this book when he was a member of the Disney Book Club, and it is probably one of the best books they could have sent him!

3.) Thomas and the Station Cat

Thomas is a firm favourite here too! Cue the clothing and toy trains. Oh so very many toy trains and their tracks! My mom gave Noah this book. Thomas is on a mission to find the station cat, and looks all over Sodor to try to find her, only to see that she was hiding in a cupboard after having given birth to a litter of kittens! Another sweet little story.

4.) Cars 2

I have lost count when trying to remember how many Lightning McQueens there are in our home. We have a rather large one, a couple of Lego ones, and then a few smaller ones in red, there is a Fabulous Lightning McQueen and a Dinoco Blue Lightning McQueen, and even smaller ones than that. Never mind the t-shirts, pj’s, slippers and jerseys! But my Noah loves reading about the adventures of Lightning and Mater, and I’m pretty sure Cars 2 is his favourite in the Cars franchise!

5.) The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg

*Disclaimer – if Noah had not chosen this book, I would have!                                                     This is my favourite Christmas story, after the story of Jesus’ birth of course! It’s about a little boy who doubts that Santa exists, and on Christmas Eve he goes on a magical train ride to the North Pole, where he meets Santa, and receives a special gift from him. It’s the most magical story, and gets me in the mood for Christmas every time I read it! 

And here are my 5 favourite books that I read to Noah regularly:

1.) A Kiss Goodnight & Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Now I know these are two seperate books, but they are the same type of books, and I really don’t have a favourite – I love them both. I alternate between them each night, as they are filled with little rhymes about bedtime and dreaming sweet dreams, and goodnight kisses. I love reading them!

2.) I Wished For You – An Adoption Story, by Marianne Richmond

We have a few books about adoption, and I think this one is a favourite for both Jason and I, mainly because the Mommy Bear tells the Baby Bear she adopted that he is her wish come true. We LOVE that line, and often tell Noah how he is our wish come true. It is the most beautiful story, and they share the story of adoption so well! 

3.) I’d Know You Anywhere , by Nancy Tillman

Now this is probably my most favourite book to read to Noah. I had tears in my eyes the first time I read it. Basically, it’s a story of a mom telling her child how she wold recognise them if they were different animals (pretend). So, if they wanted to be a rhino, she’d recognise them by their smile, or if they were a pig, she’d recognise them because of their cute chin. The storyteller goes through a whole range of different animals, and shares how the mom will know it is her child, and then it ends with my most favourite line of all, “Because, child of mine, I’d know you anywhere.” I get chills just thinking of reading this book to Noah again!

4.) I Don’t Have Your Eyes, by Carrie A. Kitze

This is another story about adoption. It’s written beautifully, sharing how a child may not have the same physical features as their parents, but they do have other traits that resemble their mom and dad. It really is a beautiful story!

5.) My Amazing Dad, by Ross Collins

I bought this book for Jason and Noah to read, for obvious reasons! And Jason often chooses it to read 🙂 Basically, a little crocodile doesn’t think his dad is cool or has a cool job. And when he hears all the cool things his friends’ dads do, he feels even worse. Then Mommy Crocodile takes him to see what his dad does, and the little crocodile can’t believe just how amazing his dad actually is! Another lovely story!

And these are just some of the books we enjoy reading. We’ve read them all a good few times, and still love them just as much!

Do your children have any favourite story books that you have read over and over again?

“Mr. Brown Mouse” {Review}

Story time is kind of a big deal in our house. Reading is something both Jason and I really enjoy, and it is a love we have worked hard to instill in Noah from baby days. I feel like I can say with some confidence that we have been pretty successful with this too! Noah loves reading. He loves sitting with a book and reading to himself. And he LOVES reading stories before bed.

Now, as much as Jason and I love reading, and as important as it is for us to ensure that Noah enjoys reading, some nights, we simply either don’t have the energy to sit and read stories, or we’re busy and don’t really have the time. I know that sounds terrible – I feel so guilty just writing that sentence. But, it is what it is – life sometimes throws us curveballs, and some days are really busy and tiring, and unfortunately, bedtime story time takes a back seat.

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But now, we have a way to combat that! Yay! Enter our new friend, “Mr. Brown Mouse”, and his collection of audio books, filled with adventure, and some important lessons too! Yup, Noah’s new favourite at story time is sitting and listening to an audio book all about Mr. Brown Mouse and his latest exciting adventure.

Mr. Brown Mouse is the brainchild of Jonathan da Canha, a Durban based graphic designer and TV advertising producer. Jonathan and his lovely wife, Debbie have two children, Hannah (5) and Tate (4). With their kids being one year and one week apart, bedtime proved chaotic, and left Mom and Dad exhausted.

“They were in completely different routines and both completely dependant on us in their own unique ways. We were tired to say the least, and the first two years after our second child came along are a blur. Just after our son Tate turned two, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This took the challenge of parenting to new levels and left us unimaginably exhausted.” Jonathan

With an increased amount of time focused on Tate and coping with the realities of an autistic child, Jonathan and his wife Debbie…realized that they needed to find extra ways to spend necessary quality time with their daughter, Hannah who, at three-and-a-half years old was experiencing her own stress in trying to understand why her parents were so tired all the time and why her brother didn’t relate to her in a typical way – he screamed a lot and didn’t know how to play with her.

And that is how Mr. Brown Mouse was born. Jonathan started telling Hannah made up stories, and let her contribute to the stories as well, adding her own creative flair. When Hannah started asking for a new story every night, Jonathan started recording the stories on his phone, to use on the evenings when he just couldn’t come up with a new adventure.

There are 18 stories in the Mr. Brown Mouse collection, and to date six of the stories have been released.

1) MR BROWN MOUSE MEETS MRS GIRAFFE

Mr Brown Mouse rides on the back of ditsy Mrs Hippo and crosses the river for the very first time! Join him as he crosses paths with crocodiles, elephants and lions and makes friends with the tallest animal he’s ever seen!  A gentle first adventure, perfect for bedtime.

2) MR BROWN MOUSE & THE BIG BIG FIRE

Join Mr Brown Mouse on a courageous adventure to help save the animals and the forest from a big, big fire! With a little bit of thought and a sincere desire to help, almost anything is possible… But who will help Mr Brown Mouse when all the animals are running away?  Listen again and again to this daring story of courage and character! 

3) MR BROWN MOUSE & THE OWL BABIES

After waiting thirty days, Mr and Mrs Owl’s babies are ready to hatch! It’s terribly exciting and Mr Brown Mouse wouldn’t miss it for the world… after all, Mr Owl is his first ever friend!

4) MR BROWN MOUSE’S FAMILY IS COMING TO VISIT

Mr Brown Mouse’s family are coming to visit but he’s out of Honey Biscuits and tea! What will he do? Would he dare to ride on the back of big, old Mr Crocodile, all the way down the river to get more? Who will he meet on the way?

5) MR BROWN MOUSE & THE OSTRICH EGG

Mr Brown Mouse finds an egg! A very big egg! It’s even bigger than he is! What will he do and how will he find it’s mum.  And can he stop Mrs. Hippo from accidentally sitting on it?

6) MR BROWN MOUSE & THE BEAR

In his most daring and epic adventure yet, Mr Brown Mouse soars on the back of Mrs Eagle! Join him as he travels over the mountains to visit his old friend Mr Bear. But will Mr Brown Mouse be able to wake Mr Bear up?

I won’t lie, I was a bit concerned about how I was going to get my very active, very busy three-year-old to sit and listen to an audio book. But each story is between ten and twelve minutes long – the perfect time frame to keep my Noah captivated! While he was quietly playing with his cars one rainy afternoon, I told him I was going to play something for him on my phone, and I wanted him to listen to it while he played. Within a minute of starting the first audio book, he had abandoned his cars (something he never does willingly), and we were sitting on the couch together, listening intently to the story. I was amazed at how he would also react to what the storyteller was saying. He kept looking at me with big, excited eyes, oohing and aahing at the adventure he was listening to. And when the first story ended, he immediately asked to listen to another one!  I am so pleased with how he has grown so fond of Mr. Brown Mouse!

Mr. Brown Mouse won’t replace our regular story time though. That is also not what Jonathan and Debbie intended it to be either. Instead, we’ll keep Mr. Brown Mouse for those bedtimes where Mom and Dad are unable to read a story. It’s a win-win if you ask me!

The stories are perfect for children between the ages of 3 and 6, and are currently available as audio books only. To purchase your audio book, simply click here. Each individual story costs R29.95, or you can get all 6 for R149.95. You can also find Mr. Brown Mouse on Facebook and Instagram.

Jonathan and Debbie have kindly offered my readers a 10% discount on the stories. To redeem your discount simply use this code: FRP208TQQDT2.                                                    Please note that this coupon code expires on 15 September 2018.

Happy listening!

*We were sent the Mr. Brown Mouse audio books to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.