Thursday, May 28, 2009

Giada (and her jackass of a mother) on board

Ma ti pare?/Does this seem normal to you?

So I was tooling around Milan the other day and while stopped at a light, I was shocked to see an unrestrained toddler about the same age as my son poke her head up between the seats of the car in front of me and give me a nice snaggle-toothed grin. I quickly grabbed my phone and took a picture (above - I was half tempted to not blur the license plate so that I could shame this woman for all the world to see, but at the last minute I chickened out), which doesn't do justice to the fact that I could see this kid so well that I could tell you how many molars she had coming in. What you also can't see in the photo is that stuck to the lower left-hand corner of the back window is one of those safety stickers that says "Giada a bordo." Nice job on the personalized sticker, mamma. Now put your kid in a damn car seat next time. Fortunately this does not seem to be a common occurrence in Milan (I've heard tell that as you go further south in Italy, car seats are less popular) and seeing a child this small not in a car seat is a rare sight.

While we are on the mamma subject, anyone else going to MomCamp in Milan on June 13? I'll be there!

P.S. Just for the record, my child was not in the car while I was grabbing for my phone to take the above picture and I typically only use my cell phone in the car in hands-free mode!

23 comments:

Cath said...

I see this a lot in Bologna too - mad isn't it? I also have a neighbour who thinks it is perfectly ok to put your child on the car seat but not actually strap him in - not sure how she thinks this is going to work. (And don't even get me started on 3 year olds balanced on motorini....)

I bet the same mother would be having kittens if her kid was running around "sudato" - obviously much more dangerous than a head trauma.

erin :: the olive notes said...

just last week when I was in Italy I was riding in a car with a friend and we both commented on seeing this in cars around us! crazy.

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Effing nuts! What is wrong with these people, seriously? It's like the whole 'putting on the helmet without fastening the chin strap' thing. There's no way that would fly around here.

KC said...

Michelle, down here I see toddlers unrestrained in the FRONT seat often, though honestly, is the back seat any less shocking? My favorite is the toddler sitting in papĂ 's lap while he drives. I see that just as often. My BIL doesn't strap his kids in. I don't think my SIL ever had car seats for hers (one of whom should still be in one.)

Cath is right, God forbid any of those kids starts sweating!

J.Doe said...

I know that as a mother I should be outraged because I religiously use a carseat and strap my daughter in tightly but I can't help thinking of the eons ago when I was a toddler and how my mother used to put me in the back seat with 4 other uncarseated and unseatbelted toddlers and drive us all to a nursery school. We all survived.

Deirdré Straughan said...

There was a case some years ago (I believe in Milan) in which a toddler ot in a car seat was killed in a car accident, then the parents were charged with manslaughter. Public opinion agreed solemnly that it was cruel to put the parents through a trial when they had lost their darling daughter!

Lola said...

This is terrible! I live in slack, totally un-by the book Rome, but I've never seen something like this here. Perhaps the occasional 4/5 yr old in the back seat with no booster, but not a young one like this out of the car seat. It's so dangerous...

Will be perusing MomCamp, thanks for the pointer.

Baci

Gil said...

The middle of the back seat unrestrained is very dangerous as the passenger (either infant or adult) has nothing to stop them from flying right through the windshield!

(I've heard tell that as you go further south in Italy, car seats are less popular) The same can be sad for not wearing helmets.

Anonymous said...

Here in Sicily that child wouldn't be in the back. It would be upfront, standing on the separator thingy between the seats and blocking the rear vision mirror. There would usually also be a baby/ toddler 'steering' the car (always between Dad's legs curiously enough!) and possibly another kid in the passenger seat. One kid in the back to me looks tame.

Yesterday when picking up my daughter from her Asilo one of the teachers there was just getting on her scooter with her young son. 3 to a bike with just the one helmet... also once when we were on the AUTOSTRADA my husband suggested that instead of stopping for me to BF the baby, that i could just bf while he was driving (at 150kmph!), in the front seat for all and sundry to see (report/ take pics)!! He justified it by saying we could use the sling which would protect the baby - hmmm and what about the quad airbags.... Vanessa

Deborah Cornwell-Kelly said...

Spot on Cath! And maybe it's better in central Milan, but here in the hinterland it almost seems rare to see people actually using carseats. As for the Mums at school, I've lost count on how many times I've refused lifts because there's no carseat for baby (1) and boy (4) - only to be told, amazed, "but we're only going within Saronno"! Because carseats are only for the motorway, you see.

scatteredmoments said...

I see it up here all the time. It's so scary. The other thing that gets me is infants in the front seat. I don't have kids but I am pretty sure you can't do that in the states?

Chia of Bologna said...

You can't do that in Italy either...and honestly, I rarely witness all these todlers going around Bologna (or elsewhere) out of their car seats as you seem to see. Maybe I'm luckier.
Chia

Cherrye Moore said...

I see this ALL of the time here in Calabria, Michelle. It is crazy and somehow it surprises me every time. In fact, when I was in Reggio a few weeks ago I saw a kid, maybe 6 riding BEHIND his mom on a scooter! She'd have been helpless if he'd have fallen off!

I also have a friend who has her 5 year olds car seat in the front seat. Everyone else has to ride in the back. I don't get it.

Cherrye at My Bella Vita said...

Oops, sorry. That last comment was Cherrye of My Bella Vita. I was too quick with the "send" button! :-)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you could have back-ended her while taking your photo for your blog.

Michellanea said...

Sorry I've been lame on responding to comments. Busy couple of weeks! There does seem to be a north-south divide, and apparently, car seats are not always the norm up here in Milan either. I've especially noticed that as kids get a bit older (in Italy, they are required to be in a car seat until they are 1.5 meters high), parents get lax on putting them in a car seat.

As to whether I could have back-ended her while taking the photo, wouldn't that have taught the mother a lesson? All the more reason the kid should be in a car seat!

RD said...

i see this ALL the time in Florence, from young babies barely standing, to toddlers, even in the front seats. Makes me sick...and yes they all have the bimbo a bordo stickers! unbelievable....also seen way too young toddlers on the back of mopeds pretty often too..what is wrong with these people!?

RD said...

i see this ALL the time in Florence, from young babies barely standing, to toddlers, even in the front seats. Makes me sick...and yes they all have the bimbo a bordo stickers! unbelievable....

HB said...

One of my neighbours (Tuscany) was creating a huge fuss the other day, telling everyone in the street about terrible it was that one (foreign) family let their kids play out barefoot and how it was tantamount to child abuse and they should be denunciati etc - same day I see her driving with her two toddlers standing on the front seat leaning up against the windscreen!

Straniera said...

Just wanted to say that this post cleared up a mystery for me - the first time I saw I kid staring out at me from the back end of a car with his hands up against the window (which means he was standing backwards in the back seat?) I practically walked under an oncoming motorino. And the next few times I wondered if it was really common or if I was just lucky and saw all of the existing examples. Interesting (not to mention terrifying) that it seems pretty common across a lot of Italy...

PS I'm new to your blog and I'm really enjoying it. Complimenti!

Patch and Fi said...

So true - I see this all the time in Varese and Milano. It horrifies me - especially considering how they drive. However, the road code says " Children younger than the age of 3 CAN AVOID SITTING in the baby's chairs, if sitting in the back and if accompanied by a person who is at least 16." The road code also says that you can have up to 9 people in a car! There is no concept of road safety. A friend's son told us of a question in his driving test about the main cause of accidents on the road - the correct answer was "Bad luck". Hmmmmmm

Patch and Fi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fran said...

here in umbria - maybe we're in a kind of heaven ;) - people still follow the rules, baby in seats and well wrapped! maybe it's because it's a town, and controls are frequent.