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Applying Pro-Vaccine Logic to Car Seats

admin June 13, 2014

pro-vaccine logic

 

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**Note: I’m well aware the original article was satire.  I thought it was poorly done and used a ridiculous comparison to make a point.  I’m responding to it not because I think it was serious — really, like I could believe someone is recommending against car seats?! — but because a lot of people do think that vaccines are kind of like car seats, i.e. “prevention” and may be swayed by the original nonsense.  And by the way, if you’re commenting just to tell me that I’m stupid, I missed the point, I’m selfish, or you are otherwise rude or condescending, I’m not publishing it.  My blog, my rules.**

I didn’t even want to click.

There’s a new vaccine propaganda piece circulating, comparing getting your children vaccines with making your children use car seats.  If you’ve been around here before, you might know I’m not a fan of the first, but I’m firmly in favor of the second.  

The post was illogical at best.  Everyone who’s done any serious research into vaccination could see that immediately.  Unfortunately, though, it was put on a very popular website and a lot of parents who haven’t looked into vaccines a whole lot might be swayed by this…unfortunate…piece.  

So, I sighed and clicked anyway.

Let’s just go ahead and break this down, bit by bit.

Shaming is NOT the Way to Get Your Point Across

Most articles that push vaccination are pretty shame-heavy.  As in, “If you don’t vaccinate, you don’t really love your child.”  or “If you don’t vaccinate, you don’t care about your child’s safety/protection.”  or even “You’re a detriment to society at large if you don’t vaccinate.”  Basically, it’s all anger and fear.

I don’t like that.

Vaccines are a medical procedure.  They are something that you should research carefully, discuss with a medical professional you trust, and decide about on an individual basis.  You may decide to fully vaccinate.  You may decide to go with selective or delayed vaccination.  You may decide not to vaccinate at all.  That’s your business, and it should stay your business.  This fear-based nonsense has no place in this discussion.

It keeps popping up, though, so I keep addressing it.

By the way, if you believe that vaccines should stay a family’s personal choice, you’ll want to check out this post.  Help us speak out for parental rights.

Are Vaccines Like Car Seats?

No.

Let’s just start with that.  Vaccines are nothing at all like car seats.  When you put your child in a car seat and use it properly, there is no risk to them over 99% of the time (assuming you don’t get into an accident).  If you do get into an accident, then there is a tiny risk of injury, but the chances of the car seat protecting your child are far, far greater than any risk of injury.  Unless you don’t use the seat correctly, in which case malfunction and injury risk goes up, but that’s not because of the car seat, that’s because of user error.  (Learn to use your car seats properly.  But that’s not the point of this post.)  There is also no benefit to getting into a car accident without a car seat.  There is no benefit to being injured or killed in a car crash — and death is pretty darn likely if your child is under 5 and not strapped in at all.  Car crashes, in fact, are the #1 cause of death in children 5 and under.

In contrast, every single time you inject a vaccine, there is a risk of injury.  Every single vaccine carries a list of potentially dangerous ingredients.  For some children, the potential risk from a vaccine far, far outweighs any potential benefit.  For others the risk-benefit analysis isn’t as clear.  But there is always a risk.  A vaccine is simply nothing like a benign car seat.  That was mistake #1 in this post.

Now let’s look at the actual claims in this article, piece by piece….

… something like 99.7% of babies diagnosed with cerebral palsy had been brought home from the hospital in a car seat.

This is the first completely illogical statement.  Cerebral palsy is a birth injury.  It would be diagnosed before a baby ever got into a car or car seat.  If the condition occurs before the correlated event, then, well, it isn’t correlated at all!  Unlike vaccine injury, which occurs after vaccination….

“How could a baby be safer anywhere other than in its mother’s arms?”

Outside of car, this is usually true.  In a car, it’s absolutely false and everyone knows it (or should).  An infant’s weight is multiplied times the speed at which the car is moving.  A 10-lb. baby in a 30 MPH crash is a 300-lb. weight and the mother could not hold onto it.  This is basic physics.  Comparing this to vaccination is…crazy.

“Less preposterous than kickbacks from vaccine manufacturers. Far more money in car seats.”

Doctors do not get kickbacks from car seats.  They do get kickbacks from vaccine manufacturers.  What’s more, they get reimbursed more from insurance companies if their patients are fully vaccinated.  It’s why some of the doctors in my area who used to be okay with a parent’s choice are now pressuring parents to vaccinate.  They aren’t getting reimbursed for visits if their patients are vaccinated.

“They may not be automotive engineers, but their parental gut feelings are good enough.”

It does not take an automotive engineer to examine the car seat research, watch the crash test videos, and realize how much safer car seats are for children.  In fact, it’s blatantly, clearly obvious.  Vaccine science, on the other hand, is more complex, but parents can still make sense of it.  It doesn’t take an expert in either case.  This is deliberately telling parents they’re too stupid to make an accurate decision because they are “just” parents and they are only going on their “guts” — not the evidence they can see for themselves, which they’re plenty smart enough to understand.

“Parents are carefully steered to “research” that hypes the dangers of CP.”

This is just offensive.  There are actual risk factors that can increase the likelihood of CP (and it’s not car seat use) and parents should be aware of the information!  The same goes for vaccines.  Doctors aren’t sharing the actual risks.  They aren’t discussing the situation honestly and openly with their patients or patients’ parents.  Parents have no choice but to go out on their own, seeking information.

“Do a large double-blind trial: Randomly assign some babies to car seats and some to be held in mom’s arms and see how many in each group develop CP, they cry. It will take nothing less to convince them.”

…and exactly why can’t we do this study with vaccines?  Is it because they are so clearly amazing that to withhold them would be unethical?  Oh yes, that is the logic they use!  If they are so determined to prove vaccines are safe and have nothing to do with autism or other developmental disorders, why don’t they just do the study already?  It’s their “gold standard,” after all.

“There is a small uptick in infant fatalities that steadily grows as more and more people refuse to use car seats, but not many people take notice.”

Despite that, yes, more parents are refusing vaccines, and more people are catching these illnesses, death rates are not higher!  Nobody has died of measles in more than a decade, despite thousands of cases.  Very, very few have died of pertussis (5 – 20 per year).  In contrast, much greater numbers are dying or being permanently injured by vaccines.  Nobody wants to talk about that, though.  That is perfectly acceptable.  (The total number of deaths from vaccines isn’t high compared to, say, deaths from car accidents.  But it’s a good 4 – 5x higher than death from diseases we vaccinate for.)

Basically, this post starts with an absolutely ridiculous premise (that CP is somehow related to car seat use, even though first car seat use occurs after a CP diagnosis, not before) and then goes on to make logical fallacy after logical fallacy, with a good dose of shame and anger thrown in for good measure.

You just can’t take stuff like this seriously.

Get Vaccine Information From Good Sources

I think it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: don’t get your vaccine information from poor sources such as this one.

Instead, look for actual published studies.  Look for factual books written by doctors.  Look at data from the CDC and the WHO.  Those are valid sources of information.  This sort of drivel, is not.

If it’s presented as a way of mocking parents who disagree, don’t even waste your time.

If it contains actual facts and maintains a respectful and balanced tone, at least give it a read.  You can choose to discount it if you want.  But please, look for real sources.  Not this shame-anger nonsense.

What did you think of this ridiculous “pro-vaccine logic” analogy?

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  1. First, I would like to say that I totally agree with you about protecting parental rights and about making informed decisions when it comes to vaccines and all other medical procedures. However, I feel that your argument here is weakened with incorrect information. Cerebral Palsy can occur from injury during the first several years of a child’s life, not just birth, from falls, near drowning, abuse, and, yes, car accidents.

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  2. Had a friend post the article you are critiquing (she is pro vaccine and a nurse and a mother). I am more or less on the other side then she is in how trusting I am of vaccines. I don’t think this article was serious at all about CP and car seats and that was their point. That parents who don’t vaccinate decide based off of some super crazy non related thing that is not science (like following a celebrity or something like that). I agree it does not help with the discussion but encourages people to be divided rather then united in making sure everything is as safe for kids as possible. Thanks for your undoing (but tiring, I’m sure) effort to keep people informed and help point them to actual science then silly analogies.

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  3. […] part of this. Comparing vaccines to car seats? Really? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. This article sums up a lot of good points regarding to the first article. I highly suggest you read it. One of […]

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  4. Thanks for replying to this nonsense. The original article was so insulting that it has actually made me question some of my friendships with the people who posted this on FB. The logic used is so faulty that if he were writing on any other subject, he’d be laughed out of the conversation, but bc he’s able to play on this hot button, emotion fueled topic, he’s gone viral. I just want to tell him that it must be nice to be so far intellectually advanced over us idiot mommies who follow Jenny McCarthy like she’s the second coming. Intelligent, educated, facts driven mamas who have spent hundreds of hours on the CDC website and Pubmed can’t exist, and I’m so relieved he pointed that out so I can stop living this lie. (Heavy sarcasm).

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  5. What is your source for the statistic that there are 4-5x deaths from vaccines as compared to the deaths by the disease for which they vaccinate? I need to know that source! 🙂

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  6. I just had to comment on a point you’re making.

    I find it very ironic that you detest the way pro-vaccine people use fear to illicit an emotional response and sway their audience’s opinion… when you are doing the same thing here.

    You made a critical mistake in one part of this article that many anti-vaccine people make – you use real data, but don’t interpret it correctly. Data is skewed from its original meaning toward a bias, and it is done incorrectly. Let me show you what I mean.

    You say, “Nobody has died of measles in more than a decade, despite thousands of cases.”
    This is NOT true, AT ALL. Where did you get this information? Put plainly on the WHO website, “In 2012, there were 122,000 measles deaths globally – about 330 deaths every day or 14 deaths every hour.” In America, even if the number of deaths was zero (which it isn’t), the reason more people aren’t dying from measles is because of vaccination.
    You used incorrect information here, AND you used it wrong.

    Then, you said, “Very, very few have died of pertussis (5 – 20 per year).”
    Again, plain wrong. So very wrong. From the CDC website (found with a simple Google search): “Worldwide, it is estimated that there are 16 million pertussis cases and about 195,000 pertussis deaths in children per year.” Wow… that’s pretty far from the 5-20 you state. Are you looking only in America? Again, I don’t understand where you can find this information. People NOT being vaccinated against this are dying. In places around the world where people are not routinely vaccinated for pertussis, they are dying more often. In America, where this vaccine is routine, there are fewer deaths. Yet you make it sound like pertussis is harmless. In fact, from that same CDC website: “Despite generally high coverage with childhood pertussis vaccines, pertussis is one of the leading causes of vaccine-preventable deaths worldwide.”

    And then you said this: “In contrast, much greater numbers are dying or being permanently injured by vaccines.”
    This is the most ridiculous of all the things you’ve said yet, and the most irresponsible “fact” to be putting out for people to read and share. People will read that and fear for their children due to vaccines, because you have tried to paint a picture that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent. And again, you’re very wrong. You may have found some data, but you did not interpret it the right way, or compare it against other data. Basically, let’s say 1 million people got the pertussis vaccination last year, and 80 died. Then let’s say 1000 people got pertussis, and 20 died. That means that while 2% of people died from pertussis that year, only 0.008% of people vaccinated died from THAT vaccination. Do you not see the HUGE difference there? If 1 million people got pertussis, there would be far more deaths (see the data I provided above).

    You are comparing apples and oranges here, and you are perpetuating the exact stereotype that the article you mention is against. You’re taking numbers and what they actually mean, and skewing it in an illogical way to suit your purpose.

    I hope I didn’t come across as too inflammatory, because really, I was shocked to read that bit in your article and I really do intend to just inform you of your seemingly honest mistake. I don’t want others to make the same mistake you have and believe facts without context. If you choose to vaccinate or not is (somewhat) your business, but please learn to do a more thorough investigation in the future.

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  7. But you do realize the reason there are fewer child deaths from the actual diseases is because of vaccines being given for those actual diseases? Your statistical comparison actually is a positive indicator for the effectiveness of vaccines.

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  8. What about my infant’s right to NOT have your unvaccinated child spreading Pertusssis, Rubella etc. My infant didn’t have a choice about getting vaccinated because he was too young.

    YOU take away MY right to protect my child with your scant “research” and fables. The recent measles outbreaks can be completely attributed to people like you. What qualifications do you have to write a book about health? Are you a doctor?

    I know this will NEVER actually show up on your website, but I wanted you to know that REAL parents actually DO due diligence with their research. They understand that they owe it to their child and to those who cannot receive a vaccine because they are too young or have compromised immune systems.

    By the way, I have Lupus. I just had chicken pox for the second time in my life. The vaccines I had may or may not be working any more. Your child, spreading disease, could very well be the person who sends me into a Lupus nosedive and ends my life.

    Thanks for your ridiculous opinions (they are, after all, only opinions. You have NO fact upon with to base your theory.)

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  9. Shaming is the *only* way to get the point across to people like you that ignore evidence, science, reality, fact, and reason at every turn,

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  10. Thank you so much for just pointing out how stupid that article was. Pro or anti vaccine, anybody should be able to read that article and realise the arguments make no sense.

    Also, browsing the comments here, and people blaming the anti-vacs for outbreaks is making me cringe. I’ll have everybody crying that know I was fully vaccinated as a child and suffered pertussis three times between the ages of eight and sixteen. Vaccines do not always work, and who knows how many of my fellow classmates I spread my pertussis to!

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  11. I’m not going to comment on the vaccine thing, since I am pro-vaccination. However, the car seat reference and Natalie’s comments about data sources and interpretation got me thinking about the Freakonomics study (and ensuing brouhaha) demonstrating that, in fact, most of the time car seats are less safe than seatbelts. It’s interesting reading: http://freakonomics.com/tag/car-seats/

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  12. Love your reply. I have not seen the article mentioned yet, but I am sure it will make its way onto my newsfeed eventually. We don’t even vaccinate our pets and I wish I had never been vaccinated either- can you detox from the metals and chemicals from the vaccines received in childhood to lessen continuous damage?

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  13. Michael grow up! Sorry couldn’t resist. Nobody is going to change my mind with backwards thinking, its called learning

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  14. Kate, why are there trollers in your blog page? You should not entertain idiots like them. They are in your blog post commenting and persuading non sense. Only like minded individuals who knows how to respect and not belittle should be in this page. If they are SO confident in their beliefs then anything that contradicts their beleifs should not rock their confidence. And for those who think that unvaccinated babies carry some unknown organisms that will make them sick…hahahah! Ignorance!

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  15. You say car crashes are the #1 cause of death for children under 5 but then claims car seats have no risk at all. If most all children are in car seats, then how are they dying in car accidents? Could it be because they are not in the seats correctly? Then, there is a risk associated with car seats. Also, car seat or not, there is a risk every time you ride in a car. Therefore, there is risk involved with car seat usage.

    There is not a risk every single time you vaccinate. For 99.999984% of Americans, there is no vaccine injury risk whatsoever. If you are part of the 0.000016%, then there is a risk. So, there is a 0.000016% risk of vaccine injury. I get this statistic by comparing the number of vaccines given in USA in the last 30 years to the number of vaccine injury claims compensated.

    The risk of vaccine injury is extremely low. Riding in a car is far more dangerous.

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  16. When I first read this, I thought “wow someone who thinks the same way I do!” Because I have been comparing vaccines to car seats, and here is how.

    In 1983, the CDC recommended vaccine schedule increased. In 1986, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed under President Reagan. Why? Because vaccine manufacturers were having to pay so much money to vaccine-injured children that they were about to go bankrupt. Back then, it was considered a public health emergency to not have ready access to vaccines, so the vaccine manufacturers asked the government to be relieved of liability to continue manufacturing. If a child is harmed by their products, they are not held responsible. If it was safe, they’d say “we believe in our product and that it is safe, and to prove it, we will give you a refund if you’re not satisfied with the results (or pay the damages).” Now, if a parent decides to vaccinate their child, they are held responsible if the procedure doesn’t work as intended. It’s now a risky medical procedure and they can’t promise that it won’t harm your child, so you’re fully responsible for any injuries that occur. However, most pediatricians never say “vaccines can cause injuries and we’re still researching how they affect health, so if you decide to vaccinate, know that if there is an injury, the manufacturers are not liable for the damages they might cause. If you still want to go ahead with this medical procedure, know about the side effects and risks (and potential benefits).” That is not what happens in many doctors offices. Some do give informed consent, but not as a whole (yet).
    Then I think:
    What if a car seat manufacturer said “we’re going to go bankrupt from paying all these injured families due to our faulty, unsafe car seats; can you (the government) grant us financial immunity so we can afford to keep making car seats and keep up with the demand for car seats?” Would you still buy your child a car seat from that manufacturer, knowing they might be injured or die in an accident, or shop around for someone who does good research and takes the time needed to make the safest car seats possible?

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on both sides, and this is my thinking. With any other product, the manufacturer offers a money-back guarantee. Not with vaccines!

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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