By the time I was pregnant with my third child, I was a very busy mother and housewife. Taking care of my children (both under 3 years), my husband, and the house was a 24/7 job.
As my delivery day grew closer, I went into the garage looking for the baby car seat. I opened all the bags and boxes, no car seat. I couldn’t imagine what I had done with it, and how on earth was I going to get this baby home from the hospital without one? A trip to the store was in my future. Now normally, I love to shop, but not at the end of my third trimester when I could barely move from my size, so I did what every good mother does, I procrastinated!
Then, the inevitable happened. One morning, the contractions started and my water broke. So I packed the kids in the car and headed to the store to get that baby seat! I called the doctor on the way and left a message about my contractions and my water, everything was in order. We headed right to the car seats when we got to the store and narrowed it down to anything with pink. Then the phone rang, it was my doctor.
“Get to the hospital,” she said.
“I can’t, I’m in Target getting a car seat”
“What? I thought you said your water broke”?
“It did,” I said, “But I don’t have a car seat to get the baby home.”
“In all my years…I have never heard of a woman going shopping when her water broke”!
Well, I had to admit I hadn’t heard that either. Thankfully, picking out a car seat in today’s retail market is very easy. The regulatory safety standards set by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) make it mandatory for child car seats sold in the U.S. to meet their stringent standards. What’s even more encouraging is that there are safe seats for children of all ages no matter what your budget. While some seats do offer more bells and whistles than others and cost more, not having them won’t mean your baby isn’t safe. Good news for a family like ours whose pennies were already accounted for.
If you are using an older model, check online to see if it still meets today’s safety standards. Remember to take the cover off the seat and wash it from time to time. Babies drool, sweat and have leaky diapers from time to time so it will need to be cleaned. Don’t forget to wipe the plastic down with disinfectant from time to time. The car seat will go many places and those little hands find all kinds of things to touch. If you attach toys to the car seat, secure them well so they can’t break off and tangle the baby up. Also, check to make sure there aren’t any potential choking hazards that will break off. A little care and cleaning will keep your baby safe and healthy in their new seat!
Here is a free download that will list out some great car seat safety tips!