Recently we did two things to help keep our children safe.
First we got brand new car seats for Asher and Ariella. We purchased two Foonfs by Clek. Meghan tells me they are some of the best on the market for keeping the kids safe and secure. We debated buying these car seats for a while. Meghan liked them because of their safety features, they are the only car seat made in Canada, they will fit 3 across in a car, and most importantly they would allow Ariella and Asher to rear-face longer than most other car seats. I did not because they cost about $100 more than my upper limit price for car seats. The debate ended when they went on sale dropping them into the price range I had budgeted. Phew!
Second Asher got his four month vaccinations and I got my booster shot. Meghan and I are both big pro-vaccine supporters. We are shocked and appalled by the amount of people who are opting to not vaccinate their children.There is obvious mistrust between the public, government, health officials and pharmaceutical companies. Because of this mistrust unfounded fears about the so called ‘dangers of vaccines’ are spreading.
I think we are only having a debate about the safety of vaccines because we have not experienced just how deadly the diseases we are vaccinating against are. We have never seen just how bad the measles can be. We have not had to suffer alongside a victim of polio. We have not witnessed the pain of watching helplessly as our infants die from whooping cough.
From time to time I will hear a parent say something to the effect of, ‘It is my right as a parent to decide if I want to have my children vaccinated. The government shouldn’t force parents to do this.’ This is meant to sound like wisdom, but all I hear is foolishness.
I believe in the use of vaccines much in the same way I believe in the use of car seats. With that comparison in mind let me put some of the normal reasons people chose to not vaccinate in the context of car safety.
‘It just breaks my heart to see my child wiggle and squirm in their car seat. They don’t like being buckled so I don’t buckle them.’
‘The government is OBVIOUSLY in the pocket of big car seat manufactures. They make up these stories about car accidents to scare parents so the corporations can get rich.’
‘I read on-line about a child who was in a car accident but they still got injured even though they were in a car seat. That proves car seats don’t work’
‘There hasn’t been a fatal car accident in my town for decades, so why should I have to put my child in a car seat?’
‘My grandparents never used car seats and they are just fine’
‘The human body can heal many injuries by itself so even if we got in an accident my child’s body can heal naturally’
‘Everybody drives really carefully these days so my child is safe without a car seat’
‘Car seats cause more injuries than they prevent’
‘Some car seats have been recalled, how to I really know that my car seat is safe?‘
‘I don’t want my child sitting in a car seat, who knows what they really are made out of’
‘My car has air bags, I think that is safe enough’
I don’t think there is a single loving parent that wishes their child harm. I really believe that parents who chose to not vaccinate their children do so because they believe they are making a good choice for their children. I also believe that it is the wrong choice. Millions of lives have been positively affected because of vaccinations. Yet today we are seeing a resurgence of diseases that were almost wiped out. And we are being reminded of how deadly they can be.
The prevention is not more dangerous than the disease.
Please listen to doctors, not celebrities about this issue.
Christopher, well said! I think the analogy is a very good one. I couldn’t agree more. It seems like vaccinations, instead of being an automatic thing parents do, are becoming another parenting choice – like cloth vs disposable diapers, breast vs bottle feeding, cosleeping vs crib sleeping, etc. What is scary is that because of the “choice” some parents are making, we are actually seeing outbreaks of diseases like whooping cough, and now a few cases of measles in NB as well. This is a topic that I feel so passionate about both professionally, and even more importantly, as a parent. Thanks for the post.
So true Anna. Vaccinating has become a parenting choice. And because of that, I think people are wary of speaking their opinion. Kudos to Christopher for writing this!
Thanks Anna, I think it is sad to see these entirely preventable diseases making a come back.
Very well said. I think your analogy is great. Unfortunately, in this information age, there is a lot of misinformation out there and it can be sometimes difficult to know who to listen to. Especially when it is the health of your child that concerns you. I echo your statement: listen to your doctor!
There is a lot of information to sort through, and it can be hard to know what source to trust which is why it is helpful to have a good relationship with your family doctor.
I think it’s important to understand and ask questions about what we’re putting into our bodies no matter what anyone tells you we should be doing. There was a huge push from drug companies to get girls to get the HPV vaccine. Some doctors and schools pretty much bullied young women and their parents into getting it with little room to ask questions (with their marketing tactics and lack of information or reluctance to discuss). Once women started looking into this drug, they found that it was REALLY new on the market, meaning less than 10 years (I don’t have the studies on hand, but google it yo!) which is really young for a drug and can have serious long-term effects that we don’t know about. Let’s take Yaz birth control, for example http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/06/11/birth-control-pills-yaz-yasmin.html . That’s scary! What if mothers weren’t advocating for their daughters and themselves. When do we decide enough is enough? How many deaths would it take? Education is key and choice is paramount. Obviously, we all want to do what’s best for our kids and car seats and vaccines are an awesome way of doing so, but I think we should never go about doing these things blindly trusting an authority like the government or doctors who have other interests *ahemmoneyahem* and pressures in their forefront. We should always advocate for ourselves and ask questions and have the opportunity to make our own decisions.
I totally agree Stephanie! We should not blindly trust pharmaceutical companies/government and always question on what’s right and healthy for our children, it is our job as parents. I’m not against all vaccinations but I’m definitely questioning some. Most are unaware and uniformed of the options, for instance the use of Thimerosal, a mercury based preservative that was removed from most of Canadian vaccines but is still in the Hep B shot. Did you know you can request a thimerosal free one at no extra charge? The only difference is thimerosal is used as a preservative so multiple doses can be kept in one unit, thus saving them money. I also wonder about the MMR shot which a court has just ruled in Italy is responsible for their sons autism, 3500 more in Italy alone have also filed suits. If not us as parents, who is going to question the safety of what is being given to our children? I’m really torn on this debate but it comes down to the chance my child may endure a sickness or the chance that their quality of life could forever be changed. For the vaccines that are tried, tested and true, and could result in life threatening sickness, I will do, but I’m doing my due diligence to find out which those are.
This is well said. And I agree wholeheartedly. The paramount question always is ‘what is best for my child?’ I hope I said that in the post well enough. I really believe both sides of this debate are trying to achieve the same thing.
I agree with Stephanie and MrsFumaglli… Everyone has their opinions on what is right and what is wrong. I would feel terrible if my son was affected by one of these diseases but at the same time I would feel terrible if my son was affected by one of the vaccinations…. I am picky as to which shots I allow my baby to get….There is no way I would ever allow him to be an “experiment” so to speak…. Whatever your opinion on the matter we are all trying to do right by out babies!
Very true, I wouldn’t experiment on my children either.
I agree that we should not to things blindly, and that we should ask questions. The problem I find it we are often highly skeptical of the medical professionals in our lives by far too trusting of random articles we find with a Google search. There is a lot of urban myth floating and fear floating around.
I completely agree and love the analogy too! Great way to make the point. My husband and I worry about all those unvaccinated kids getting our vaccinated kids sick. You just never know and its scary.
It is scary, I really hope we don’t see a big out break of something dangerous. Whooping Cough can claim a lot of lives if it spreads to the vulnerable.
I just don’t understand why you would be afraid of unvaccinated kids getting your kids sick, when you’re kids are vaccinated.
Vaccines are not 100% guarantee. Like the flu vaccine, it does it’s job often but if lots of people have the flu, different strains, your immunity can only defend for so long.
I have heard that said a few times. And it seems like a good point but all it really does is further illustrate peoples lack of understanding about vaccinations.
1st Vaccines for the most part are do not make a person 100% immune to the disease. For argument sake lets say that make a person between 60%-90% more immune. If I am the only person taking this vaccine even at 90% immunity there is still a chance I will get sick if I am surrounded by people who are sick. However if 80% or more of the population is 60%-90% immune than everyone’s chances of staying healthy are better because the disease can’t spread very easily. This is called herd immunity.
2nd even if I was 100% immune it would still sadden me to see a person die from a preventable disease because they incorrectly thought the vaccine was more dangerous than the disease.
Does that make sense to you?
I am a huge supporter of vaccines (and car seats incidentally). I agree that we should never blindly trust anyone when it comes to what we are putting into our and our children’s bodies.
I am viewed by some to be a relatively ‘crunchy’ mom. I go out of my way to analyze every ingredient in the soaps, lotions, and sunscreens I use on my son (paying an arm and leg because of it); I refuse to use canned goods unless I see it is BPA free; I chose Baby Led Weaning when it came time to introduce food to my son because it was more natural. When I had to make the choice to stop breastfeeding and go to formula I was devastated because I never wanted to put that into my child. I have made every natural chemical free choice I have been able to make and I still vaccinated my son.
It is not coincidence that once vaccines became common practice all the diseases that were being vaccinated against began to disappear. One of the things that has really spurred on the anti vaccine movement has been the study linking vaccines with Autism; particularly Jenny McCarthy’s insistence that this is why her son is Autistic. This study was referenced and highly publicized for a long time. It has been discovered that this study had falsified information and it HAS NOT been found that there is a link between Autism and vaccines. This false information was put out onto every popular culture outlet there was but when it was found to be false Jenny McCarthy was nowhere to be seen to say ‘nope I was wrong’, none of the daytime talk shows were educating anyone about the falsehoods they spread.
Protect your children, buckle up and vaccinate.
Thanks Holly. Did you know that Jenny McCarthy is now saying her son has been cured of Autism? This is leading an awful lot of people to wondering if her son had a different issue all together.
The truth is something is up. We are seeing a lot of illness, and conditions on the rise. And something has to be the cause. But whenever things like the MMR vaccine are tested in controlled circumstances no evidence of an increased risk of Autism or anything else is ever found. I really think people are scared and they are desperately trying to find the thing to do that will keep their children safe. I just don’t think avoiding (most) vaccines is that thing.
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