An unidentified woman has been cited in Everett, Washington after a concerned citizen called 911, terrified that the woman was rolling along the highway with an unrestrained child on her lap. State troopers responding to the call found something even more surprising than a mom letting a kid play driver: she was breastfeeding her two-year-old.
According to KIRO TV, the woman was not cited for breastfeeding on the go, but improper child restraint. While there wouldn’t have been a problem if the mother had pulled over for a second, sitting a child on your lap (especially one as big as a two-year-old) and feeding them while taking the interstate is dangerous for a variety of reasons, including the risk of fatality to both mother and child.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that airbags are useful in saving lives, but won’t work correctly if the person using the airbag is too close to the airbag (as the child would have been in his mother’s lap) or is unrestrained (ditto). Statistics about breastfeeding as a driving distraction are not as prevalent as those about talking or texting on the phone, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that a toddler squirming unrestrained in your lap while trying to feed will offer some challenge to driving normally. And if that results in an accident where the airbag is deployed—or possibly even one that isn’t as severe—the child could face serious injury or death as a result.
When authorities asked the woman what she was doing, she told them that the child would not quiet down until he was fed and then admitted that this was not the first time she had done this. The mother properly restrained her child after speaking with authorities and will have to pay a fine, but fortunately, both parties were okay when police left the scene.
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