Posts Tagged ‘car seat’

When to Turn the Car Seat

Monday, June 13th, 2016

When to Turn the Car SeatCar Seats. This is seriously a topic that before having kids, I never dreamed was the hot-button topic it seems to be now. I didn’t know until I started researching seat safety, especially when I was looking to purchase our first convertible seat. Then I found there are entire blogs, web pages and forums all solely dedicated to car seats.

The real discussions seem to start however, not with purchasing an infant seat or even a convertible seat, but when to turn your child from rear facing (RF in car seat forum land) to front facing (FF). Ultimately, the safest position in the car for your child to ride in is rear facing in the back row of seats (the airbags in the front seats are dangerous to children). Car seat safety experts want you to continue this as long as possible. Maybe until high school. (I’m joking). The minimum recommended age for turning your child to front facing is at the second birthday, but continuing to rear face until your child meets the height and/or weight maximum for their seat is the ideal scenario.

I think every parent wants their child to be as safe as can be. There are different roadblocks, however, that prevent many families from rear facing up until these seat limits. First is the size of the car, or at least of the back seat. Even larger cars and SUVs now have fairly small back seats, and many seats, when rear facing, take up quite a bit of room. Parents can usually accommodate this by installing the seat in the middle seat of the back row. This only works for one rear-facing child, however. Second is the weight and height maximums of the car seat. If your car seat is on the smaller size or your child is tall and/or heavy for their age, the limit can be reached quite rapidly.

Without purchasing a new car (minivan, anybody?), there are a couple ways to maximize the space that you do have. First, if you haven’t bought your car seat yet (or are looking to buy another), consider seats that are designed to take up less room while rear facing. Some of these seats also have optional wedges that can be purchased for underneath the seat, making the seat’s footprint in the car even smaller. Placing the bulkiest car seats in the center, and from there behind the shortest person in the front row (at my house, the non-center car seat always went behind my seat, as my legs are much shorter than my husband’s) is ideal. If you’re facing a small car seat issue (vs a small car issue), can you hand down your child’s current small seat to a younger sibling in the family and purchase a seat with higher RF maximums. This is not in every family’s budget, but it is an option for some.

Finally, like always, if you have installed a new seat or even just moved the current ones, consider having the installation inspected by a certified technician. Often, fire stations have employees that can do this for you for free.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to two sons. She found her car seat jenga skills improved by bounds after moving to Japan and needing to fit two rear-facing American car seats into her tiny Japanese car. 

Keeping A Toddler Happy In The Car

Friday, March 18th, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 12.15.55 PMI have two toddlers.  Just when I think my kids are content with car rides, one decides to arch their back and scream when I gently place the first car seat strap over their arm.  Or better yet, my oldest who likes to “do it all by myself” proceeds to climb into every other spot in the car except for into his car seat.  It can be a real circus when they both are putting up a fight before an excursion that we are usually already getting a late start for.
When things get chaotic in my car, I remind myself that sometimes they are happy in the car and sometimes we get from point A to point B without a struggle.  I force myself to remember the tactics that work and put them back into action.
Get them excited about the trip before even getting ready to get near the car.  Tell them where they are going and why they are going there.  Act really excited yourself about your trip while you talk about it.  I catch myself sounding really fake when I talk up what fun we will have at the grocery store to my 15 month old.  She doesn’t always buy it, but when I tell her we are going to (eventually after running a few errands) pick up her brother from preschool, she is all in.
Dress them in comfortable clothing.  This is a bigger deal than I thought it was.  Ever since my older toddler started telling me what he needs and wants all the time, he started expressing his discomfort in his car seat. I learned that sometimes his pants were too tight, or his shirt was stuck somewhere on his arms where he didn’t want it.  I try to keep this in mind when dressing both my toddlers now.  Comfort in the car comes before that adorable jean overall dress that fits my daughter awkwardly in her car seat.
Have distractions ready.  I’m talking about toys that the little ones either haven’t seen or played with in months or objects that they have never had the privilege of holding before.  Of course they should be safe.  Trust me, I’ve given some items in my garage a desperate double take, but used my better judgment.  If I don’t have decent distraction items, the shoes and socks come off within minutes of pulling out of my driveway and get thrown all around.  It is obvious how many errands I ran in a week with my kids, by looking at the floor of my backseat.
Play Kid Music.  It can definitely be annoying to have to listen to kid songs in the car, but the results can be worth getting those silly songs stuck in your head randomly throughout the day.
Sarah Cole is a stay at home mom to two busy toddlers and finds that sometimes it can be easier to just stay home.

Why Are Moms So Mean?

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Bullying seems to be a hot topic with a lot of parents right now in schools; affecting our little ones left and right. But when you look closely you’ll see that it is happening in other places besides the playground; between adults, between grown women, and especially between moms.

Why are Moms so Mean?I wonder when it became okay to insert our parenting opinions and beliefs on others. Why are we so concerned with the hows and whys of how other people parent? Maybe it is the pressure we feel as women to have it all and do it all, but when one of our own succeeds, it seems like more often than not our gut reaction is to criticize. Unfortunately, the rise of social media has made it increasingly easy to do so.

Recently I saw an article on the Today Show parenting Facebook feed. It was a car seat invention that a woman invented with Intel to help parents and caregivers remember not to leave their child in a hot car. The inventor happens to be a mother, an engineer, and a former professional cheerleader. The comments on the article were harsh and critical and coming almost entirely from other females. They bashed her past as a cheerleader, her appearance, even the way she buckled her child into the car for the fake photo shoot. There was almost nothing in the comments section that was positive. The irony of the moment was not lost on me: Here we are, tearing down the woman whose career it was to cheer on others. We live in a society where it has become so easy to go for the jugular right from the comfort of our living room with no repercussions.

Why are Moms So Mean?When our days are filled with the precarious balancing act of trying to be great wives, mothers, friends, employees, leaders, and teachers, the very last thing we need is to be criticized and judged. Our feminist counterparts from generations before would be so disappointed in how we treat one another.

We are better than snide remarks on social media. We are better than judging parenting styles we don’t understand. We, as women, are far better than petty meanness. Another woman’s success is not our failure. We need to build each other up, complement each other, and help one another succeed.

Tessa Wesnitzer is a health and wellness coach who lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves her husband, two boys, green tea, long runs, and snowy winters.

Skipping the Infant Car Seat

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Skipping the Infant Car SeatWhat? Skip the infant seat? Did you read that right? Well, yes, yes you did. I did it and so can you, if you so choose.

When I was pregnant, I started reading up on car seats, trying to figure out what we would need. During that search I came across the options of an infant seat, the kind that snaps into a base and can be removed from the car, and the types that are called convertibles, meant to be used from birth through toddler-hood. There are pros and cons for both options, but here are the reasons why we eventually decided that going straight to a convertible was right for us.

  • Our car situation. An infant seat can be very useful if baby will travel in multiple vehicles. Since it’s the base – not the seat – that you secure into the car, it’s economic to purchase multiple bases for each car. This also allows you to install the base correctly in each car just once, reducing the risk of improper seat installation and use. In our case, though, we have just one car where baby would primarily ride and did not foresee the need to frequently uninstall the seat, so installing the convertible seat from the start was fine with us.
  • Our budget. Some women told me that their baby stayed in the infant seat for over a year, while others said their kids outgrew it within a few short months. Either way, at some point babies do outgrow the infant seat and you need to purchase a convertible. Since so many convertibles come with infant inserts and can be used from birth, we did not see reason to buy two car seats. We found a great sale on a great convertible instead. We were happy and so was our budget. Also, since it is not recommended to buy/sell a car seat used, we didn’t have to worry about what to do with the infant seat once we were done with it.
  • My interest in babywearing. A common reason for wanting an infant car seat is the fact that you can take baby along in the seat into restaurants and stores without removing them from the seat, or can use seat compatible strollers. I did not see this as necessary, as I planned to have options such as ring slings available for that purpose. That is exactly what I did and never had an issue.
  • Ease of use. I decided to not buy an infant seat because it was too easy to use? Yep, you heard me. While reading while pregnant, I learned that it is extremely dangerous to place car seats on top of shopping carts. I learned that babies who spend too much time in their car seats (car to store to stroller to car to nap at home) and other similar shaped devices are at risk for torticollis and positional plagiocephaly. I learned that an overturned restaurant high chair is nothing more than a tip waiting to happen when holding a car seat. No one means to overuse the car seat. It just happens. I knew that even with best intentions, we’d utilize the fact that we could take baby in the seat away from the car. Maybe I’d be strict about it, but would my husband or other caregivers always resist temptation? Rather than worry about it, we opted to skip the option altogether.

Of course, I am not encouraging anyone who may need to use an infant seat, such as in the case of premature infants, to opt out of one. In the case of preemies, always work with medical professionals to determine the proper car seat to use with your child. In our case, we were blessed with a 7lb, 9oz full term daughter who had no issue going home in her convertible seat, other than the fact that the hospital was rather confused when we couldn’t bring the seat in for inspection! (They inspected it in car.) If any of this resonates with you, maybe a convertible from the start is the right option for you as well.

Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and 2.5 year old daughter, who is still riding (rear-facing) in the car seat she first came home in.

The Ultimate Car Seat Checklist

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Editor’s Note: A while back, I wrote a post on when to turn the car seat. I was the worst possible person to write this post since I find the whole topic confusing, but that’s why I wanted to write it. The rules have changed between each one of my three kids, and on top of that, you get folks both in person and on the Internet giving out wrong information regularly. So the car seat authority from Mom’s Milk Boutique offered to set me straight and help our readers cut through the confusing info since they also sell car seats and are kind of experts on the topic. And so we bring you Car Seat Redux:

Did you know that 73% of car seats are not used or properly installed?

Now that you know, let’s check yours together:

1. Is your car seat expired or recalled?
Check the stickers on the car seat itself or call the manufacturer.

2. Are you using the proper car seat for your child?

  • Do they meet the height and weight requirements for the seat?
  • By weight AND age, should they be forward facing or rear facing?

It is recommended that a child be rear facing until age 2 AND 40 lbs. Children should be in a 5-point harness until they exceed the weight limit of their seat.

3. No children under age 12 should be in the front seat. No car seats should be in the front seat.

4. A list of NEVERS:

  • NEVER use aftermarket accessories.
  • NO covers.
  • NO mats unless tested with the car seat (Diono tests theirs).
  • NO hanging toys.
  • NOTHING between the baby and the car seat (unless it came with the car seat).
  • NOTHING between the car seat and the car’s seat.
  • NEVER submerge your car seat in water.
  • NEVER wash your harness straps–only wipe clean with a damp rag or towel.

5. A list of DO’S:

  • DO check the harness EVERY time you place your child in the car seat to ensure proper fit.
  • DO check the LATCH system or seat belt holding the car seat in EVERY time you use the seat.
  • DO check for visible sun damage, which can cause the plastic to break down.
  • DO check around the seat for choking hazards.(dropped food or toy items)
  • DO come up with a system which reminds you that your child is in the back seat of the vehicle: wallet, key fob, purse, phone, or any other item that you would not leave your car without.

6. With winter coming (already here in some places) please remember that coats and car seats don’t mix!