Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | May 22, 2014

What if Car Seats Were Like Vaccines

What if a big TV station, say WTOP in Washington DC, came out with a blockbuster story claiming that infant car seats were implicated in cerebral palsy? After all, something like 99.7% of babies diagnosed with cerebral palsy had been brought home from the hospital in a car seat. In fact, every single time they went anywhere in a car, they were strapped into them. That’s an impressive number. There has to be some connection!

Imagine video of kids crying piteously as they’re buckled into the wretched contraptions. After all, car seats are restraining and uncomfortable. Kids hate them! But parents have been duped into using the damn things claiming it makes their children safer. Pshaw! How could a baby be safer anywhere other than in its mother’s arms?

Suppose this idea gained traction. Cerebral palsy is a dreadful thing! Why take the risk? Don’t use those nasty old car seats. Besides, don’t you know that the doctors who recommend them are all getting kickbacks from the manufacturers? [Less preposterous than kickbacks from vaccine manufacturers. Far more money in car seats.] Some Playboy celebrity reality centerfold comes out as the spokesperson against car seats. Suddenly there’s pushback from new parents who want to decide for themselves what the safest way is to transport their precious bundle. Never mind decades of car seat research. They may not be automotive engineers, but their parental gut feelings are good enough. Besides, no automotive engineer ever had to listen to their baby cry whenever she gets strapped in.

Facebook communities emerge where car seat refusal is supported and celebrated as the newest way to keep babies safe. Parents are carefully steered to “research” that hypes the dangers of CP. “Why take unnecessary risks?” becomes their mantra. Because the hype is scary. Parents of kids with CP conspire to sue the car seat manufacturers, because “Someone’s got to pay!” Why did this happen to their child? No one has any good answers [hint: It’s not birth trauma] and vague discussions about prenatal injury to the brain like “Sometimes these things happen” is just not good enough.

Of course there’s no plausible connection between car seats and cerebral palsy. But that doesn’t matter. Studies are done to try and prove car seats don’t cause CP, which is technically impossible, since you can’t prove a negative. The anti-carseaters deny that they’re against car seats. They just want “safe” ones — defined as ones that don’t cause cerebral palsy. Do a large double-blind trial: randomly assign some babies to car seats and some to be held in mom’s arms and see how many in each group develop CP, they cry. It will take nothing less to convince them.

What happens? By and large, nothing much. Most kids don’t develop CP, however they travel in cars. And the vast majority of babies who ride in mom’s arms arrive safely at their destinations. There is a small uptick in infant fatalities that steadily grows as more and more people refuse to use car seats, but not many people take notice. The occasional family is devastated by the loss of a baby in a crash, and vow to tell their story high and wide. They do, but the only minds it changes are the ones that weren’t already made up.

Far-fetched? Sadly, not so much.


Edit: NOT plagiarized from this, which in turn is probably not plagiarized from this or this.

h/t TBTAM for the second 2 links.





  1. Except…every parent alive know that it is infinitely more pleasant to not have kids roaming free in the back of the van hitting and kicking each other. Tie those babie down…One in the first row and one in the third. Why do you think moms love mini vans?

  2. Brilliant analogy.

  3. I agree. Brilliant analogy. A coworker of mine won’t vaccinate her 11 month old and says she never will. Otherwise this woman makes good decisions. I just don’t understand. I’d be afraid to take my kid out of the house without vaccinations.

  4. Anti-vaxers are parasites who depend on others to do to their children what they won’t do to theirs. If there was a case of polio in town, the idiots wouldn’t be able to get the vaccine fast enough and they would want to sue someone for the “bad information” they had received previously.

  5. Your analogy is, uhm….interesting. What I usually ask of everyone that bashes the vaccine questioners is that you go read the package inserts that go with each and every vaccination. Make sure read each and every last one of them in their entirety. I don’t mean the little hand out that they give you at the doctor’s office. I mean the insert that comes with each vaccine batch the doctor gets. Did you know that most doctors have not even read them? Sad, but true. Remember you are in charge of your health and that of your child. Know what you are advocating for. I also suggest reading Dr. Sears’ book. He is not anti, but pro-knowledge. You should know what VAERS is and also about the vaccine “court” ) and why they are in place.

    You should know that when I was a child, most of these vaccines did not exist (but car seats & CP both did!). A grand total of 7 vaccines back in my childhood and only 4 of them were for “scary” diseases, unlike a lot of the “economic” vaccines of today (although even then, 3 of them were new “economic” vaccines). When I say economic vaccines I mean that employers and schools are/were inconvenienced and lose money/productivity if the mother is not at work/child misses school when ill with a typically mild disease, thus lots of pressure to make a vaccine for the disease from big business. We are now at 15-17 vaccines with a total of 34+ doses of the various vaccines if you do all of them.

    Also, you should know that back when my oldest was born, most of us started out being pro-vax (or simply uninformed…after all, back when my oldest was born, the internet was relatively new and almost everyone used AOL….). However, as we encountered problems and knew that our ped was reporting the reactions of our children to VAERS (nothing like blood in a tiny baby’s poop after getting the 2nd dose of Rotashield…and then they recall it before the 3rd dose, or your child who can say about 20 words stops talking for a year within a week of getting the MMR), we started digging, reading studies for ourselves, reading package inserts, etc. There were not “hollywood” people out there talking about it back then (as if I value the opinion of someone who acts for a living). There were no FB groups, etc. Our ped understood and agreed with delaying/not-vaxing our other children. He said the risk was there and could not be ignored. My children have recovered, thankfully and are normal, healthy children. They are the lucky ones.

    Please, just do some research before you bash others for their decision. They just might know something that you do not know.

  6. The comment above provides a list of regular anti-vaccine claims, all of which have answers. There is a reason that the scientific and medical consensus is that vaccines’ very small risk are vastly outweighed by their benefits: vaccines save lives. Their risks are real but very rare. Those who actually did research vaccinate. I removed some links since it didn’t post with them, so have search terms for most.
    1. Inserts: I’ve read the inserts, thank you. I actually also know how to read them, so I know most anti-vaccine activists misread them. The two most common problems in the way anti-vaccine people read them:
    a) reading adverse events as if they were caused by the vaccine – while in reality, manufacturers report anything reported after vaccine, caused by it or not. Including, for example, car accidents.
    b) Reading a list of ingredients and ignoring – i. Their existence in nature. ii. The very tiny amounts.
    google: “skepticalraptor” .vaccine package inserts debunking myths

    2. I’ve read Dr. Sears’ book. I also know how inaccurate it is – among other things, making up a non-scientific based schedule, and basing the risks of aluminum on studies that looked at intravenous solutions – given all day directly into the vein. Those are just two. See:

    3. VAERs: when referring to VAERS, readers should remember it is a passive reporting and anyone can report anything. It does not show causation. google: harpocratesspeaks VAERS few things we need to discuss

    I’ll skip the vaccine court for now as this is getting long – I’d be happy to address it later.

    4. Number of vaccines: it’s true that we can protect children against more dangerous diseases today than in the past – but to remind you, the immunologic load on their system is actually lower today. See: Offit et al, Addressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant’s Immune System?, PEDIATRICS Vol. 109 No. 1 January 1, 2002
    pp. 124 -129

    It sounds like you had a horrible experience with your child with Rotashield. Again: vaccine injuries, though rare, do happen (though they do not include, for example, autism). But the risks of not vaccinating are an order of magnitude higher.

  7. The first rota virus vaccine carried a very small increased risk of inturssusception, so small they would not have been able to find it in clinical trials, and they pulled it off the market in less than a year. That does not quite fit with the antivaccine narrative.

  8. Thank you, reissd, for your concern. I actually do know how to read and interpret studies (shocker, I know….lots of us do…kind of funny how that part of my education has come into play). Those are a starting place and usually contain enough information to cause people to at least ask questions, rather than go blindly along because the doctor and/or the government said they should do something. Regarding VAERS, it makes me sad that even though my doctor thought both incidents were worth reporting, that you just trashed it. Sigh. And as “un-scientific” as Dr. Sears’ schedules may seem to you, my children’s antibodies are still there. The older 2 who got the economic chickenpox vaccine still got chickenpox….right along with our younger 2.

    And yes, thepoop, I am VERY well aware of the information with regard to the Rotashield vaccine. Do you seriously think I went 15 YEARS reading studies and other documents and did not know that? Really? Yeesh. Funny, my ped and I talked about that at the time we had the problem (he is a pretty thoughtful, intelligent doctor). Rotashield should have never made it out of clinical trials. Obviously, they were not done nearly long enough or well enough — or somebody lied. Too many vaccines are being rushed to market without appropriate testing by anyone and approvals given that should not be given. Recalled – lovely. But how many children had to get hurt before they figured out they had a major problem on their hands?

    Ultimately….would you want any of those tiny risk to happen to YOUR child?? It is all well and good when it is some anonymous random child you don’t know, but when it your flesh & blood, suddenly, your child is that “tiny percentage” that others think should be sacrificed for the good of everyone else. This is where the rabid pro-vaccine people look like a bunch of selfish jerks….and it stays that way until it happens to them…suddenly, they get it.

    Please try and be a little more thoughtful when you go to bash those who question the safety of vaccines for their family. We really are not trying to “put everyone in danger.” We might have VERY good reason why they are gun shy of them.

    Praying it never happens to you or yours. Thanks for playing.

  9. A. Pointing out the limitations of VAERS, and how it should or should not be used, is hardly trashing it.

    B. The problem with a delayed schedule is – aside from the fact that it’s made up – that it leaves a child exposed to a disease longer with no discernible benefits.

    C. Vaccines are tested over years in clinical trials in thousands of people: hardly rushed to market. See: The problem with Rotashield was that the side effect was extremely rare – one in ten thousand. That does not make it less serious, but it does not mean lack of testing, either. In the subsequent trials the FDA required testing of tens of thousands of infants.

    D. Nobody wants an avoidable risk for their child. But it’s a balance of risks issues, and the risks of not vaccinating are actually larger than the risks of vaccinating. Substantially larger. Because the disease we vaccinate against carry very serious risks.

  10. Comparison between the risks of diseases and the risks of vaccines can be found here:
    1. For Australia:$File/quick_sideeffects.pdf

    2. For Canada:

    3. For the U.S.:

  11. Ferhoodle1: You are a wonderful mother; a concerned and educated parent who wants nothing more than the best for your children. So do I. Please look again at some of the links provided by the commenters above, and realize that we are engaging you because we care. We do not intend to “trash” you or your opinions. We are concerned because of our fear that, despite your excellent intentions, your children may be at unnecessary risk of disease and possible death. You feel confident that car seats don’t cause CP; we are trying to get you to understand, by analogy, that your fears of vaccines are similarly unwarranted.

  12. So many people have no idea how devastating having your child contract one of these diseases can be. After explaining that my son had pertussis as an infant, to a new acquaintance, she told me that she “had that all the time as a child.??
    Obviously she was mistaken, but some people who do know the difference between croup and pertussis still don’t grasp the risk they are taking. I describe what we went through. I give details. We almost lost our child. Most really don’t want to know, they’ve already decided. I still try, in the friendliest, non attacking way I can, to explain if it ever comes up. I don’t want to give up.

  13. […] Closing: Washington; climate change; if car seats were like vaccines; another study says what most people knew; another study shows what some people surely suspected; […]

  14. 1) You’ve plagiarized this piece from a much better piece of writing here:

    2) Do you not know how the Internet works? If you pass off another’s hard work as your own, someone will eventually figure it out. If you’re going to plagiarize, at least do a halfway decent job.

  15. Alecia: You are not correct. I am no plagiarist. However because I do know how the internet works, I will leave your comment (with its link to that crappy little piece) and address it above board.

  16. Twitter trail was intentional, honey. If I’m going to call someone out for plagiarism, I will use my own name. Here’s the original, published on April 29 if anyone is interested:

  17. witter trail was intentional, honey. If I’m going to call someone out for plagiarism, I will use my own name. Here’s the original, published on April 29 if anyone is interested:

  18. Double post, Alecia. Would you like to delete one of them, or shall I? Or do you just want more link exposure?

  19. […] also brings this to mind: What if Car Seats Were Like Vaccines Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | May 22, 2014 What […]

  20. Reblogged this on Mama In The Now and commented:
    Thank you for an incredibly truthful comparison. I know vaccines are such a heated topic. I haven’t had the guts to post about this topic yet – but I think I will share your post on my FB page… it’s THAT accurate and to the point.

  21. Hi there I honestly believe there is fault on both sides of this debate. Vilifying and ridiculing each other doesn’t bring about good health results.

    In Australia where I am we are having the same debate and the same rabid comments from both sides. I find it really distressing because in the end the children will be the ones who suffer.

    In 1996 when my first child was due to be born, her mother and I began researching into both sides of the debate to try and decide what we would do. We read and listened to hysterical comment from both sides of the argument and had many long discussions with the gynaecologist and our family doctor. They spent the time and were very willing to spend the time to educate us and provide is with logical responses to the questions we asked from our study from the anti vaccination side of the argument. Now granted that both of us soon to be parents are well educated my wife being a scientist we had a bit of an advantage in understanding what was being explained to us. Both practitioners spoke to us in laymans terms to enable us to grasp as much of the science behind vaccination as we could and to allay our concerns. They also both confirmed to us that they had vaccinated their children.

    This to me is the best way to convince those that may be unsure. Many like us were / are unsure because we wanted the best for our children. By these doctors investing the time we were educated. It made what was for us an initially difficult decision an much easier one. The other really good thing was that as each of or subsequent children was born again both practitioners spent the time to educate us on any changes/additions to the vaccinations.

    In Australia we are very fortunate to have one of the worlds greatest most respected immunologists who often goes on to television and radio to discuss immunisation. Sir Gustav Nossell is a gentle man who never screams or ridicules any anti vaxer. He refutes their claims in a calm gentle educated manner and is the greatest asset that those who want to educate people about vaccines have. You will see him on television explaining the most complicated theories and practices in everyday language without being condescending and as you watch the audience its like watching lights turn on.

    I really want everyone to just try and concentrate on the science and talk to people about the science. That way those like us who just wanted to understand it are able to. I would say that many many people who are anti vax just want to understand and want the best for their children. There will always be those who cant be convinced and ridiculing and vilifying them just gives them more ammunition to continue their anti stance.

    Dr I came across your article on the “mama mia” web site in Australia who republished it there to stimulate discussion.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and your blog readers.



  22. Reblogged this on autisticagainstantivaxxers.

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