Monday, July 12, 2010

It’s a CARseat, not a CARTseat.

(I’m stealing this quote from a friend, who posted it on my FB account after I related my frustration with this topic. Love it!)

I am becoming increasingly frustrated lately with the number of people I see in the grocery store pushing their children in the cart, whether they’re sitting in the basket or perched on top. I personally choose to wear Lucy in some sort of carrier when I shop rather than placing her in the designated “child sitting area;” however, at least children placed there are, generally, restrained. (I do want to point out, however, that even children sitting here are at risk. According to the AAP, roughly 25,000 children in the US are injured every year in shopping cart-related falls and accidents. 93% of them are under the age of 5.)

What REALLY gets my goat is seeing an infant car seat perched precariously on top of a cart. I know you’ve seen it- the baby likely falls asleep in the car, and mom or dad is hesitant to wake him or her up. So what happens? The parent carries the seat in, baby and all, and plops in onto the cart. Mind you, the vast majority of infant seats have no means of being secured to a cart- the “latch” mechanism many parents think is holding it on is actually where the seat attaches to the base. It wasn’t designed to, and will not prevent the seat from falling from the cart. I’ve read and heard countless stories of a cart being accidentally bumped into (whether by another shopper or even another child in the same family) and the child falling from the cart. Brain bleeding and damage are possible, and not uncommon, injuries in these types of scenarios.

What’s the solution? LEAVE THE CARSEAT IN THE CAR! Buy a wrap or sling- a Moby-style wrap is great for a newborn, and my daughter has spent countless hours napping while I’ve shopped. Wraps/slings/carriers add the extra benefit of keeping baby extra close and away from the curious, germy hands of strangers. Rarely does someone attempt to touch Lucy once while she is in her carrier- yet I frequently see strangers walk up to babies in carts to say hi. It’s all about establishing your personal space and keeping baby within it.

Further, I’m starting to think that many parents regard infant bucket seats as ideal (and convenient) baby habitat. I understand the allure of the bucket- heck, we have one, and I’ll confess that, on occasion, if Lucy fell asleep on the way home, I’d remove the bucket from the car and let her finish her nap. However, those occasions were few and far between. I understand that leaving an infant in a bucket seat for hours at a time is dangerous both physically and mentally. According to recent reports, incidents of “flat head” are at all-time highs, partly because of the “back-to-sleep” campaign, but also because some parents leave their infants in their seats for hours at a time.

Additionally, constantly toting an infant in a seat deprives him or her of interaction. A baby in a bucket is limited in what he or she can see, and parents tend to interact less with him or her. Contrast that with a baby being worn- he or she gets a whole new vantage point. You’re getting skin-to-skin contact. Baby is learning. I probably look like an idiot doing it, but ever since Lucy was 4 months old or so, I’ve picked up items in the grocery store and showed them to her. Spoken about them. Let her see and touch them (i.e. this is a red apple. Doesn’t it look yummy?) Mothering published a great article about this recently.

Of course, I still get plenty of “check out the crazy lady” looks. When Lucy was still in the Moby, people would come up to me and ask “is that a real baby?” Even better, there are plenty of times when I’d have Lucy in the Maya ring sling, nursing away, and people would ask, “can I see your baby?” They’d turn all kinds of red when I’d answer, “I’m sorry, she’s nursing right now.”

I think my favorite incident happened when I ran into a coworker at the grocery store when Lucy was 2 or 3 months old. She was in the Maya, nursing happily, when HE (yes, this was a MALE coworker) walked over unannounced and before I could say a word, pulled back the sling, cooed “hey, baby!” and patted her little head. HE NEVER EVEN NOTICED SHE WAS BREASTFEEDING.



Kacie said...

The "cart-seat" thing cracks me up! We skipped the bucket seat with my son, but I'm getting one for this baby because I'm having aNOTHER winter baby (and dang, those are hard up here in the north!) and I'll have toddler Johnny to tote along with me.

But I will not put the dang car seat on a cart. It drives me nuts when I see them, partly because it's so dangerous, but also, it's like don't you want to hold your little baby?!

I don't wear my son anymore, in part because he's 28 lbs., but also because he prefers to be on my front and my belly is just in the way. He doesn't seem to like being in the Ergo on my back, but I'm going to keep trying.

I can't get the waist part low enough to be comfortable. Oh well.

But what REALLY gets me is how I keep hearing from friends how people come up to them and tell them how their slings are so dangerous. It's like...ok so is the baby supposed to be in a cart-seat instead?

Emily said...

I grew up in PA myself, and I def. understand the convenience of a bucket- especially when I was visiting my mama in Erie over Christmas! You def. want to protect that little one from the cold and wind.

But, seriously, every time I see someone pushing a cart with a cart-seat in it, I cringe. Today, in fact, I saw a mama pushing a newborn like this in Target, and she was JIGGLING the cart ON PURPOSE to "soothe" her baby. OMG.

I just ordered an ergo today, and I'm really hoping Lucy likes it. She likes the ring sling in the hip position okay, but it gets pretty uncomfortable for me, and the mei tai just doesn't feel that secure.

You should print out some of these cards I have- they explain sling safety and provide info (websites, which slings are safe, etc.) I have handed them out to many people who come up to "warn" me- lol.

Ed and Elizabeth said...

Haha! This is hilarious! People are so ignorant. Grrr. Stop worrying about looking like an idiot b/c I did (still do) the same thing and now when we're walking through the produce section of Publix Jack doesn't hesitate to SCREAM out..."nana!!!!!" and point excitedly when I am picking out bananas. He LOVES to help! I pick out fresh fruits and veggies and hand them to him one by one, talking about them...then he likes to put them in the bag for me while I hold it open. He is so PROUD of himself. Keep it up! I think that's why he talks so much...and LOVES his fruits and veggies!!!! :)

samanthaclancie said...

Love the Carseat not CARTseat!!! :)

I will admit with Ri-Lee we did put her seat ontop of the car, that was until I saw a baby fall from it and luckily the seat landed facing up but the mom didn't even see it cause her back wasturned from teh cart and she was bout 2 feet away getting formula.

With Kaden I bought a sling and hated it, It was tight on both of us. I am so uninformed on sligs. I had to sit in cars to breastfeed because I didn't know about this wonderful thing you keep talking about. I try to still carry Kaden atleast on my hip (which is hard) but at 18 months he wiggles and weighs 30 pounds and I don't know any other way. I actually pay a sitter o watch them so I can go to the store because it is easier...

With Baby #3 I am calling you for info. I need slings!!!