Should breastfeeding while driving be banned?

September 5th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

John Weekes at NZ Herald reports:

Police and child welfare authorities are hunting a woman who was spotted breastfeeding and driving at the same time, with three other children in the car.

In a move called “highly dangerous”, the woman attracted attention with her erratic driving at Kamo, near Whangarei.

The Government has banned using a cellphone while driving. Will it also ban breastfeeding while driving?

I have to admit I have no first hand knowledge of how distracting it is to breastfeed while driving a car, but surely it is more dangerous than using a cellphone?

Or maybe the Government should do a compromise, and say it is legal to breastfeed while driving only if you use a hands-free kit.

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36 Responses to “Should breastfeeding while driving be banned?”

  1. Brian Harmer (686 comments) says:

    It would surely be bloody lethal for the presumably unsecured infant in the event of a crash.

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  2. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    It’s already illegal, under “dangerous driving”.

    But I guess expecting people to use their judgement and hence the law must be more specific, lengthy and harder to follow.

    Edit: as mentioned above also illegal for having an unsecured infant.

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  3. adze (2,089 comments) says:

    As others have noted it’s already illegal. The infringement is ‘child under 5 years not in an approved child restraint’ – $150 fine.

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  4. Elaycee (4,353 comments) says:

    DPF says: “…it is legal to breastfeed while driving only if you use a hands-free kit.”

    Haha – love it. :P

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  5. rouppe (962 comments) says:

    I note one of your tags in not humour so assume you are posing a serious question. So….

    Of COURSE it is stupid and dangerous to breastfeed while driving.

    1) The driver has to half-undress: At the very least open a shirt if not lift an enclosed shirt and undo a maternity bra
    2) The driver has to constantly use at least one arm to support the child appropriately, making it impossible to change gears or operate indicators, depending on the arm used
    3) The driver has immediately broken the law by having an unrestrained infant
    4) In the event of a crash (this could never be termed an accident) the infant will be crushed between the steering wheel and the body of the mother.

    Not to mention how the hell did she get the child out of the back seat, as it is illegal to carry an infant in the front. At least I think it is, I’ve never seen anyone carry an infant in the front seat…

    A new law isn’t required; Dangerous Driving is enough.

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  6. Crusader (302 comments) says:

    We commented to my mother how our first-born was screaming non-stop for an hour in the car. She said, why don’t you just breastfeed him? Well, that’s how she comforted me on long journeys. We pointed out the matter of needing to have the baby in a rear-facing capsule. Oh, she said.

    But that was all with someone else driving. Trying to drive yourself while doing anything else is plain dumb.

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  7. Andrei (2,545 comments) says:

    Right on schedule out come the tsk tsk brigade – WTF you’ll need to get a license to take a piss before long and then only in a government approved and certified piss pot

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  8. Liberty (257 comments) says:

    The worry is thickos like her breed.

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  9. Scott Chris (6,024 comments) says:

    Of babies? Most certainly. For adults, there is a salutary lesson as to why this activity is inadvisable, in the film adaptation of John Irving’s The World According To Garp, when Garp (Robin Williams) pulls into his own driveway and crashes into another car. Unfortunately, his wife is in that other car, resolving a conflict with her lover in a direct fashion. She loses some teeth; her lover loses most of his penis, which is in her mouth at the time of the crash.

    As the transsexual Roberta Muldoon (John Lithgow) mourns, “I mean, I had mine removed surgically under general anesthesia. But to have it bitten off in a Buick!”

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  10. Rich Prick (1,664 comments) says:

    They say women are better at multi-tasking. But I’d certainly draw the line at lap-dancing whilst driving.

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  11. burt (8,199 comments) says:

    The child should be taken away from here by CYPS or at a minimum the mother should be charged with reckless endangerment of a child.

    If I as a male passenger held a baby unrestrained by an approved child restraint (which is not the space between me and the steering where) I would be probably be charged….

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  12. burt (8,199 comments) says:

    Andrei

    WTF you’ll need to get a license to take a piss before long and then only in a government approved and certified piss pot

    Have you got any babies I can carry around unrestrained in the front seat of a car I’m driving ? Surely you would be happy for me to do that given your comment ?

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  13. lastmanstanding (1,279 comments) says:

    Andrei

    Tha woman is a contender for the Darwinian award. Not only that but she is endangering the life of the baby plus the other kids in her car not to mention those she might hit like pedestrians cyclists and other road users.

    No its not about tsk tsk It about how the bloody hell we allow nutbars like this to breed.

    I would sterilise her and take the kids and baby off her and place in any one of the thousands of male and female households where those present are unable to have children of their own but can be proven to be potentially loving and good parents who will raise the children to be positive contributors to our society.

    But of course Im not a PC culturally stupid prick

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  14. burt (8,199 comments) says:

    For the record; I think woman should be free to breast feed anywhere that is safe for the mother and baby. I’m happy to see it in restaurants, cafe’s, parks, stationary vehicles, bus stops whatever. There is noting wrong in my eyes with it and I think it’s perfectly natural. But while driving – that is simply stupid and dangerous.

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  15. burt (8,199 comments) says:

    Perhaps we could all chip in and by this woman a lift pass so she can breast feed while skiing ?

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  16. burt (8,199 comments) says:

    In the link to the NZ Hearld article;

    In 2009, a woman in Ohio, United States, faced charges of child endangerment after breastfeeding her baby and talking on her cellphone while driving.

    Here we will probably give her an emergency welfare grant for extra child seats which she won’t bother to use.

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  17. ben (2,420 comments) says:

    How about no response by government, for a change?

    It is already a crime to operate a car dangerously. What’s not already covered here? Must every way of driving a vehicle dangerously be spelled out in legislation?

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  18. scanner (340 comments) says:

    No one has stopped to consider that this woman may in fact be a Maori, and if so it is her right enshrined in the treaty to breastfeed whilst driving, and you white MOFO’s are just being racists.

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  19. nasska (11,154 comments) says:

    If the transport authorities & La Leche decide to get together on this & extend the nanny statism into breast feeding then they should consult the experts in OSH. These people would instinctively know that the way to safety is in the puerile signs they compel everyone to attach to anything that moves or stands still.

    All that will be required is mandatory printed warnings on all maternity bras to the effect that contents should not be exposed when vehicle is moving.

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  20. tvb (4,324 comments) says:

    The government should ban anything that causes driver distraction. These include loud music or any music/radios, GPS, warning lights, passengers including children, drinking/eating/smoking, cellphones, looking out of the rear mirror while driving, looking to the left or right while driving except at intersections, looking down while driving and anything else. I am fed up with the busy bodies who want to make it impossible to drive. Driving involves risks, – drive a safe modern car as I do. And why do we have a speed limit that reflects the state of cars 30 years ago. In the UK they are looking at making the speed limit 80 miles/hr. We could be the same here in NZ.

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  21. Andrei (2,545 comments) says:

    Come on people this story is hearsay.

    A citizen has denounced a mother of four to the authorities who are not on the side of parents in this country.

    So this poor woman, who may or may not have being doing what is claimed will now be subject to close examination and intrusion by the authorities – God help us all.

    Mothers breastfeeding infants while driving is not a significant factor in our road toll, like there has never been a recorded accident because of it that I have ever heard, and until it is I am not going to worry about it.

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  22. burt (8,199 comments) says:

    Andrei

    So if I choose to play chess online while driving it will be just fine because online chess playing is not a significant factor in our road toll.

    How can you defend this ?

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  23. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    At the very least, such a report should be followed by by the Police and CYFS, if possible. If this is an example of a mother’s behaviour, what else could be happening?

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  24. burt (8,199 comments) says:

    Andrei

    I have just put a BBQ into the front passengers seat of my car. I’m going to drive down to work cooking up some sausages, bacon and eggs. I’ll also put a grill in the back seat for some hash browns and a toaster on the dashboard and an espresso machine as well. Hey cooking breakfast while driving is not a significant factor in the road toll so I should just get a warning – right ?

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  25. Andrei (2,545 comments) says:

    Don’t be ridiculous Burt – every time somebody does something dumb out come the handwringers – and in this case it is something that isn’t even certain that it was done

    But

    look at the response a leftoid nanny stater has to this story

    At the very least, such a report should be followed by by the Police and CYFS, if possible. If this is an example of a mother’s behaviour, what else could be happening?

    And that should send shivers up your spine

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  26. burt (8,199 comments) says:

    Don’t be ridiculous…

    says the person who excuses stupid dangerous bahaviour that isn’t a significant factor in the road toll only because most people are not stupid enough to try it !

    Must be nice to be in your world – you can use any excuse you want to defend the indefensible then complain when others are as stupid as yourself !

    Do you regularly breast feed while driving ? Is that what’s making you take this mental position you are taking ?

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  27. Inventory2 (10,265 comments) says:

    What is even worse is that there were three other children in the car; all probably unsecured, if the driver’s attitude towards her baby is anything to go by. The Baby would become a projectile in the event that the car stopped suddenly.

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  28. Scott Chris (6,024 comments) says:

    Andrei

    If the state is charged with the responsibility of protecting its citizens from the irresponsible actions of other citizens, then surely an action which increases the risk of harm to others should be regulated. On the other hand if you wish to risk not wearing your seatbelt, then that should be up to you, provided your private accident insurance still covers you. You, however are morally obliged to minimize risk to those legally under your protection.

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  29. nasska (11,154 comments) says:

    …”, the woman attracted attention with her erratic driving at Kamo, near Whangarei.”…

    So as well as having a piss poor sense of timing when catering for the anklebiter the woman isn’t much of a driver either. Could have something to do with the action coming to the attention of the authorities to start with.

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  30. Shazzadude (526 comments) says:

    Sadly, my first reaction was to think that it was great that this woman was breastfeeding her baby-a lot of mothers these days are too selfish to.

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  31. burt (8,199 comments) says:

    Shazzadude

    Sure, valid point – but stopping the car would have been less selfish again.

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  32. Grizz (591 comments) says:

    Shazzadude,

    I do not think people have a problem with breastfeeding in public. They just would like it done in a safe manner, so that both mother, baby and other motorists are not put in any unnecessary danger. Smarter behaviour would be to pull off to the side of the road, stop and begin breastfeeding out of harms way.

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  33. Shazzadude (526 comments) says:

    Oh I definitely agree re: the breasting and driving.

    +5 good parent points for breastfeeding
    -50 good parent points for doing it while driving

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  34. janemarsh (2 comments) says:

    Any woman who has breast fed will tell you that it is not compatible with full concentration on driving

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  35. Brian Smaller (4,037 comments) says:

    As a member of the La Lecher League I am all for sucking on a breast, but perhaps not when driving.

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  36. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    First, they came for the cellphone users, and I did nothing, because I dont own a cell phone.

    Next, they came for the breast feeders, and I did nothing, because I dont have breasts, or a baby.

    Finally, they came for the blow jobs…

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