A Mixed Reception?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 21:07 | Filed in Language, Local Interest

A headline in today’s Newcastle Evening Chronicle said “Public were split on child-seat law”. The first paragraph then reads:

Parents have given a mixed response to new laws forcing them to have special car seats for their children.Newcastle Evening Chronicle 19 Sep 2006

Hmm… that’s interesting, I thought. We’ve got too kids and while they are in the smaller child seats anyway, I’m Perfectly comfortable with the idea that children need booster seats until they’re big enough to get full protection from a standard seat belt. In what way was the reception “mixed”, I wondered?

So I read on … to find that the Evening Chronicle had talked to three different parents:

We’ve always had car seats for the kids so the new rules haven’t affected us.First Parent

Fair enough. Presumably no objection to the new law then. Still, what did the others think?

My car will only fit two seats in the back so at first it looked like I might need a new carSecond Parent

As it turns out, the new law offers an exception if you already have two child seats in the back, and you’ve not got room for a third. In any case, this person put an additional child booster seat in the front. Again, despite the fact that they initially thought it would cause them significant problems, no complaint about the new law.

And finally…

Your children are the most important thing in the world so I can’t understand why any parent would not have the correct car seat.Third Parent

Okay then, maybe it’s not the parents when directly quoted, maybe there’s something else to suggest it’s a mixed reception. What about car seat sales? Have these been affected at all, or are parents just claiming to comply with the legislation?

Sales of child seats and booster seats have more than doubled in the run-up to the enforcement of the new legislation, and are continuing to risea Halfords spokesman

And that’s it. What’s mixed about it? Which parents are split, exactly? No-one saying it’s a bad idea, and more people are trying to buy car seats to conform to it.

Surely, A mixed response is when some people are positive, and some people are negative? Everyone agreeing with and complying with the new legislation does not in any way constitute a “mixed” response. Or is it just sloppy journalism looking for a better headline than “people get on with new law”?

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4 Comments to A Mixed Reception?

  1. Erika says:

    September 19th, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Sloppy journalism, indeed. Maybe instead of “mixed,” they could have used “a variety of responses,” or “somewhat different points of view.” I’m shocked they’d even put a child in the front seat, and that it wasn’t already mandatory over there, because it is (I believe) in Canada. That’s a good point, though… what do you do if you have a small car and have a third kid? Leave one at home with the nanny! It’d be cheaper than buying a minivan. :)

  2. JackP says:

    September 19th, 2006 at 11:56 pm

    I wasn’t clear about the context of the law. It was mandatory that small children would have appropriate child seats. It is now also mandatory for children who are under 12 and under a specific height to continue to use a booster seat until they are either 12 or sufficiently tall.

  3. Erika says:

    September 25th, 2006 at 6:38 am

    Age 12? Wow. I remember being 8 years old sitting in the van with my feet up on the driver’s seat in front of me, on a highway road trip. That was 1993. The best the government can do is introduce legislation that prevents injury and death. This article talks about some resulting confusion… I can see why.

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