Regarding Michael A. Smith's editorial on the alarming increase in parents’ opting out of inoculations for non-medical reasons ("Vaccine opt-out law a disservice to Texas children," The Daily News, June 18):

Ironically, on the same day, it was announced Gov. Greg Abbott had vetoed a bill requiring backward facing safety seats for young children. Such seats have been proved to be far safer than forward facing seats.

Enter Dr. Ben Raimer, a fine pediatrician who has devoted his life and career to the welfare of children — and who also worked mightily to promote the Republican Party. Raimer stated he and other pediatricians hope to somehow change the governor’s mind.

Good luck. Abbott justified his veto by stating the bill was a form of excessive “government intrusion.” Abbott simply turned his back on the children of Texas in order to blow an anti-government dog whistle to a portion of the current Republican “base” that doesn’t like regulations of any kind — and never mind the children who will suffer.

I can’t speak for Raimer, but I certainly admire his position in this matter. Let’s hope Republican voters will let Abbott know their values place the safety of children way ahead of a cheap political fan dance for a few lousy votes.

Mark W. Stevens



(9) comments

Carlos Ponce

It's amazing that those of us who were born in a pre-child seat, pre-seat belt age ever made it to adulthood. I was carried in my mom's arms and she had no seat belt as were my five siblings. "Critics of the bill said it was unnecessary for the state to regulate how a child sits in a car seat. Terri Hall, a parent who testified against the bill in both Senate and House committee hearings, said the government shouldn’t place 'arbitrary' regulations on car seats. 'I feel like the decision needs to be made between myself and my pediatrician about what the best car seat is for my child in the different stages of their life,' Hall said during a hearing of the Senate Transportation Committee." "House Bill 448 is an unnecessary invasion of parental rights and an unfortunate example of over-criminalization. Texas already compels drivers to use a car seat for a child under eight years of age. See Tex. Transp. Code § 545.412. House Bill 448 would get even more prescriptive, dictating which way the car seat must be facing for a child under two years of age. It is not necessary to micromanage the parenting process to such a great extent, much less to criminalize different parenting decisions by Texans," Abbott said in his veto statement. "Texas law already requires children younger than 8 years old or shorter than 57 inches to be secured in a car seat and that the car seat be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions."

Jim Forsythe

Before age two, none of the cartilaginous spaces ( vertebrae) have completed ossification. Those pieces of cartilage have the ability to stretch up to two inches. Yet only 1/4″ stretch is enough to rupture the spinal column, resulting in paralysis or death. This from please take the time to read.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Your child safety seat may be past expiration date and needs to be disposed of.-------- Expiration dates for child safety seats are in the seat on the sticker that's attached. Also if a sear is in a crash that put stress on the seat manufactures will tell you to dispose of it. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Child safety seats have expiration dates; usually six years from the manufacture date. There is a very good reason for this. Child safety seats are made from synthetic, petroleum based plastics and fabrics. While these materials are excellent for this purpose and make for a very strong and reliable child protective seat, they are subjected to a lot of harmful environmental factors that can weaken them over the years.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Some info and facts to consider:------------------------- Rear-facing is the safest option------------------- Most fatal crashes are head on-------- A child's impact is absorbed by the back of the seat which has a larger surface area than the harness---------- A child's head and body will move in the same direction on impact

Kelly Naschke

Maybe we should have a law against touching fire, and walking in front of buses, and jumping off buildings, and sticking your fingers in electrical outlets, and, and, and, and, AND how about letting me make my own decisions and using my own COMMON sense?? You don’t want to wear a seatbelt or helmet on a motorcycle....feel free. All herds need culling.

Robert Waggoner

Sometimes laws are put in place because some people demonstrate they don't have the common sense to protect themselves or their own children. To say go ahead and let those with a lack of common sense make their own decisions, the herd could use some culling. What about those kids that didn't have a say in the culling? We do need those common sense laws to protect those who won't protect themselves or their own children.

Bailey Jones

According to data I was able to squeeze out of the CDC, the death rate for kids aged 0-9 in car accidents has dropped from 1.42 per 100,000 in 1999 to 0.5 per 100,000 in 2017 - that's about 370 fewer dead children each year. Unfortunately they don't parse the data in such detail for previous years. But I can extrapolate back to my childhood when my best friend and I rode on the open tailgate of our station wagon down a red brick highway in north Texas. Or sat in the front seat of my dad's old Impala with no seat belts, posed to be catapulted into a metal dashboard that looked like the business end of a bulldozer. It's easy to say - In MY day, we didn't have X or Y and we did just fine. Yes, we did. We're the ones who didn't get killed or maimed. Just as my dad might have said, in MY day we didn't have fancy vaccines or antibiotics and we did just fine. History is written by the survivors. It really comes down to how much is a child's life worth vs how much safety is too much safety. It's a valuable dynamic to consider. And it's one that parents are still free to decide for themselves, and their kids will live, or not, with the consequences.

Charles Douglas

All of yall come forth with astute and well articulated points and data. I mean it, so much so that I'm sitting here now wondering who is more dangerous to a kid, ...a drunk driver coming at a vehicle head on containing the kid ..or an abortion doctor, about to start his procedure on the kid's mother? Who should that kid worry about the most? Who should society worry about the most? Stupid questions? Right!!! I'll go back to watching my westerns.

Gary Miller

Perfect safety depends on perfect/sober drivers. Instead of forcing their opinions of parents government should focus on eliminating bad/drunk/sleepy or distracted drivers. If only good drivers are on the road which way a car seat faces won't make any difference.

Paul Hyatt

It is amazing to me how many whine about the safety of children, and yet most of those who do are the very ones who demand that the innocent are slaughtered upon their altar of convenience that they call "Choice".... Truly Amazing....

Ed Buckner

Mr. Ponce, et al., it really is absurd to analyze this as if there are two and only two choices: complete freedom for individuals to take risks or no freedom at all. Government regulation of everything or government regulation of nothing. In fact, it makes sense to impose regulations if those regulations add significantly to reducing risk AND do not unduly restrict the rights of individual citizens to act. Of course there are cases where that balance is hard to reach or even hard to know--that is why unbiased research on health and safety matters is always desirable. In this case, the facts seem clear: improved safety seats for young children can significantly improve safety and save lives without unreasonable costs to individuals.

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