(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.Resources: