Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's Almost Driven Me Crazy

If you're not interested in car seats, this may well bore the crap out of you. BUT! Before you head over to I Can Has Cheezbrgr, please make note of this if you are buckling children into car seats:
1. Shoulder straps should be even with or just below level of baby's shoulders if rear-facing; straps should be even with or just above kid's shoulders when forward facing.
2. Chest clip thingy should be at baby's armpit.
3. There should only be enough strap slack to insert a finger between the straps & the kid's collarbone.
4. Don't put the car seat & kid in the front seat.
5. Use a car seat EVERY time!
Also, please note that a) I'm not a professional car seat person, b) if you misunderstand my summary, I'm not liable because of a), & c) it's all focused for babies, not toddlers, because I have no toddler experience. Yet. Also, don't sue. On to the post! (PS: Amoryn pics at the very bottom of this post. )
Amoryn has been growing like a weed (a carefully tended, lovingly nourished weed), and she'll soon be too heavy for her current car seat. So I've been on the hunt for the next car seat, & oy vey. The options. One older lady told me a lovely story about how when her kids were small, they'd just chuck a single mattress in the back seat of the car & let 'em bounce around. "They loved it", she chuckled.
Sadly, no longer an option. If nothing else, cars don't have back seats that big anymore. I have to admit, I've been going around in circles on the whole thing. I've finally sifted through all of the information I could find, & here, collated for your easy use (should you be buying a carseat in Canada at the very least, more particularily Alberta).
The only thing your baby really truly needs that you MUST buy before they are born is a car seat. (Unless you are planning on the raw foodist/home birth/granola/live in a hut in the woods lifestyle. If so, good for you, & what the heck are you doing on the Internet? You should be making yogurt or something.)
There are two car seat options for newborns:
1) The rear facing, infant only, easily removable, kind-of-looks-like-a-bucket car seat. These are great because they clip out of the car without disturbing your baby, & the precious, precious sleep of the baby. They also can clip into strollers & swings, depending on the make & model. They kind of suck because they tend to be heavy, & they are usually only good to 20-22 lbs or so. This is what we started out with, & I'd say it was well worth it, even though the girl will be out of it oh, say, next week.
2) The "convertible" car seat - it typically goes from rear facing 5-30 lbs-ish, to forward facing 20-40lbs-ish, to a booster seat, again depending on model. These are awesome because one car seat will generally get your kid to 40 lbs, 80 if there's the booster seat option. They are big, & they can't be removed as easily. This is what I'm on the hunt for.
This is the car seat sizing info I have found:
1) Until your baby is at least a year old, they have to be backwards facing.
2) Until your baby is at least 20 lbs, they have to be backwards facing.
If your baby is 8 months & 23 lbs, still backwards facing. If you baby is 14 months & 18 lbs, still backwards facing. Must be a year & 20 lbs!
3) Until you child is 40 lbs, they have to be in a car seat with straps, not just a booster seat.
4) Until your child is 80 lbs OR 9 years old, put them into a booster seat.
The Calgary Health Region has handouts, etc etc, that go through all of the information you need to know about putting your baby in his car seat. Here is the main link, & a FAQ link:
Handouts are available in Arabic, English, English - Aboriginal Peoples, Farsi, French, Punjabi, Simple Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Urdu, & Vietnamese. Aren't we multicultural - no wonder I can't always figure out what language I'm hearing on the C-Train - I admit, I don't know my Urdu from my Farsi!
Transport Canada (ie: gavernment people) maintain a website that list problems, recalls, etc. Here's the link - and interestingly enough, one of the carseats I'm looking at had a bulletin posted on it in August.
Land's sake, people, the internet is full of opinions. For once, I'm going to use this, instead of lamenting the fact, & heading back to look at lolcats. Before you buy a car seat, you may want to check out the following online reviews of carseats (Amazon is a shopping site, true, but has reviews of a lot of its products):
Or, just go to Google, type in the car seat name & "review".
And that's all I've got, until later today when I go & get the car seat I think I've selected. Until then, here's a pick of Am in her new wheels!
She is quite frankly delighted with it. Or maybe the camel. Hard to say.
She is happy though!
UPDATE: The first carseat I bought I returned because it was too tall & didn't have much seat padding. The second carseat I bought I am going to return because the belting has a flaw, one handle thingy is broke, & it might be too wide (& bonk into the man's shoudlers when he is driving.) Otherwise, I love the second carseat.

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