Safety Not Always in Numbers 

Dear Parentworks, 

This summer my 9 year old son's soccer team won their local championship. After the match the coach and assistant coach wanted to take all the kids out to pizza. When my son got home and shared all his exciting news of the game and celebration, he mentioned that there weren't enough drivers for all the kids. The solution the coaches came up with was "double belting" some of the kids so they could all fit in the cars. I had never heard of this before and had an uneasy feeling - it didn't sound safe. Have you heard about "double belting" and should I say something about my concerns to the coaches? I don't want to offend these otherwise great coachs or have it affect their attitude toward my son.

- Double Whammy Worry

Dear Whammy,

First and foremost, the safety of your child always needs to outweigh other considerations. In  this case, you have every reason to be concerned. "Double belting" is where two children are seated together and one seat belt is used to restrain both children. After checking with my own state transportation department, I was told that most state laws require children to be belted with one person to one belt. I was also referred to my local "Buckle-Up" coalition group whose goal is to ensure everyone is aware of child safety laws. Both groups pointed out that a double belted passenger could potentially fly out of their seat in an accident and further harm the others in the car. It is important that you make it clear to your son that "double belting" is never an option for him in someone else's car. I would also have him tell the driving adult that he is not allowed to be a passenger in a car where anyone is riding double belted.  You're son's coaches may not be aware of how seriously this practice could endanger the life of one of the children in their care. If, after sharing this information and your standards for your son's transportation at events, the coaches become defensive or refuses to agree with your needs...find another coach. Because no matter what activity children participate in, safety needs to come first.