We're thinking about not getting a car seat. Is this crazy? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Family Safety > We're thinking about not getting a car seat. Is this crazy?
HeatherB's Avatar HeatherB 01:04 AM 06-26-2011
I really appreciate this discussion as my sister is in a similar situation. She lives in a major city, downtown, does not own a car, and neither she nor her DH drives. They're expecting twins and planning a hospital birth.

FWIW, they were told by the hospital that they could leave with the babies in a stroller if they don't have a car. Apparently a bus runs right there that could take them home, and that seems to be the current plan - to wear the babies on the bus.

They do take cabs a little more often, but she seems to think that could be given up, if necessary. Still, in the frigid cold or for emergencies, it seems well worth the ability to ride in a cab.

The only thing I haven't seen mentioned here is travel to other places were cars are necessary. I assume, in the OP's case, that borrowing the seat from the in-laws would be the easiest thing to do. For my sister, I'm thinking that may be a primary reason to have seats, though they may get off just fine not having any until they decide to travel.

It really is very strange, coming from a very large, very NON-pedestrian city, to think of surviving without a car seat in one's possession! But, clearly, it can be done!

(And I'm headed to visit my sister in a couple of days, where we'll more or less get a dry run for her of the city with a baby on foot - only she'll end up with two babies!)

chickabiddy's Avatar chickabiddy 10:15 AM 06-26-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

You will essentially have a car seat, it will just be stored a mile away in your in-laws car.  I don't see a need for a second.

 

Tjej



Which is terrific if the in-laws are always available.  There are situations where the OP may have to get somewhere in a hurry (but not ambulance-type hurry), but the ILs are out of town for the day or otherwise unreachable.

 

I still think a $40 Cosco Scenera is a worthwhile investment, though I do understand the inconvenience of having to store it.


homew/two's Avatar homew/two 12:02 PM 06-26-2011

Either you or in-laws buys a car seat, keep base in their car and keep seat in your closet. (unless in-laws might use it without your babe!)


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 12:35 PM 06-26-2011

They only 'have' a car seat if the in-laws are home or available when the seat is needed.  That will not necessarily be true especially in emergent situations.  An appropriate restraint should always be used, even in a taxi.  Kids who are unrestrained get just as killed in a taxi as they do in a private vehicle, in the event of an accident.  

 

You do travel in cars, if rarely.  I urge you to spend the 50 dollars that will keep your child protected for the next three or so years in the event of an emergency.  


tessioa9's Avatar tessioa9 01:35 PM 06-28-2011

No car, then you don't need a car seat. Since they both go together, the seat without the car doesn't really make sense and its not economical either.


tinuviel_k's Avatar tinuviel_k 02:50 PM 06-28-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by tessioa9 View Post

No car, then you don't need a car seat. Since they both go together, the seat without the car doesn't really make sense and its not economical either.


I disagree. If you can be certain that you will never, ever need to be in a car in the next five years then sure, getting a car seat doesn't make sense. But if you ever need to take a cab, of you ever need a ride somewhere, if you ever take a trip with someone then I think it is wise to have a seat handy. You can get a decent seat for not too much money and store it in a closet. There is no harm in being prepared, and there is potentially harm in not having a safe and legal way to transport your child by car should the need suddenly come up.
Maedze's Avatar Maedze 07:41 PM 06-28-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by tessioa9 View Post

No car, then you don't need a car seat. Since they both go together, the seat without the car doesn't really make sense and its not economical either.



This is not an accurate assessment.  The OP does ride in cars.  She just doesn't own one.    And a 50 dollar seat that can be used for at least three years is very economical. 


Anna Phor's Avatar Anna Phor 09:51 AM 06-30-2011

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherB View Post

I really appreciate this discussion as my sister is in a similar situation. She lives in a major city, downtown, does not own a car, and neither she nor her DH drives. They're expecting twins and planning a hospital birth.

FWIW, they were told by the hospital that they could leave with the babies in a stroller if they don't have a car. Apparently a bus runs right there that could take them home, and that seems to be the current plan - to wear the babies on the bus.
 

I live in a large city and don't own a car--and this was my original plan. A kind friend brought us an infant seat her son had grown out of while we were still in the hospital, and another friend loaned us a car to get home. I could not have managed the bus trip at 48 hours post partum. My advice to your sister would be to see if she can at least get a couple of borrowed seats for the first week. We had ped appointments at 3 days and 1 week plus a LC appointment some time in the first week; I think by the one week appointment I was physically able to manage public transit commutes but before that the car was really, really useful. It's the only time I've ever really needed a car to get around in this city.

 


seraf's Avatar seraf 10:16 AM 07-04-2011
I am a lover of car seats in my life bcause I'm a lover of cars.

However, I have lived in a city large enough that my car was often parked half a mile away from my home. Public transportation is harder immediately post partum, but your midwife will come to your house for the early visits, yes? Your parents are planning to be in town in that same time frame, I hope.

Not everyone rushes to the doctor or er just because they have a baby. In the 8 years I have been a parent, we have made a single (unwarrented) trip to the er. I cut my hand and could not have driven myself anyway, and yes, my mom drove us and controlled the kids while I was seen.

I wouldn't worry about it too much if you have easy access to you folk's car. If you get a month in and decide you would like one more than is convenient to borrow, you can always buy one.
seraf's Avatar seraf 05:07 AM 07-05-2011

I was thinking about it more last night.  A car seat is only as safe as its installation, right?  If someone had a carseat for emergencies only, what is to say they will have any skill at installing it?  I know I would have trouble installing an unfamiliar carseat in an emergency situation.


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 09:07 AM 07-05-2011


While it is true that a seat must be installed correctly to be effective, it is not logical or correct to conclude there is no point to owning one if the seat will be used rarely. 


The most sensible, cost-effective, and reasonable thing the OP can do is purchase a Cosco Scenera 40RF, to keep in her OWN home, not someone else's, familiarize herself with the seat, and the two different methods of installing it, and to practice both those methods of installation in a vehicle when she gets the opportunity.  Then, as with every parent who has a child, she is charged with keeping her head about her and using the seat correctly should the situation arise. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

I was thinking about it more last night.  A car seat is only as safe as its installation, right?  If someone had a carseat for emergencies only, what is to say they will have any skill at installing it?  I know I would have trouble installing an unfamiliar carseat in an emergency situation.



 


KaliShanti's Avatar KaliShanti 09:41 PM 07-13-2011

I would get a Costco Scenera. It is $40 or under if on sale. JUST IN CASE.


EviesMom's Avatar EviesMom 12:17 AM 07-14-2011

I don't think it's a matter of cost here. I think it's NYC and it's a matter of storage, literally. 500 square foot apartment is fairly common. Car seats take up a TON of space, truly.

 

So, with your inlaws having one, I would say just go with that, personally. How far away are they? If they're walking distance, then it's definitely fine. If you find you need another because you're doing more trips, you can stop by a babies r us or a target or a kmart pretty easily from any of the five boroughs or online. 

 

You will likely just take cabs less when the child is in tow, in my experience. Pedatricians here can't be just shown up at, honestly. Even very responsive ones, if it's not ER-worthy, you're going to have 2-8 hours before even a same day appointment. You can plan to subway, walk, or get in-laws to drive you by then. 

 

I live in NYC, two kids, and I now have 2 carseats--radian 65 and ride safer travel vest. The radian is $$$ and god-awful heavy, but I don't have in-laws with carseats and we use zipcars somewhat often. It works from very little (not ideal for newborns, but apparently it can be done) to 65 pounds. It folds up, meaning that it fits under the crib/toddler bed, which was a big plus for us. You're not going to carry it around "in case" of cabs though. As I said, it's HEAVY. When the kid is bigger, the travel vest rocks. It's for 30 lbs and up I think, basically a vest version of a booster seat. I have carried it around for just in case. 

 

The only times we had to go to an ER or urgent care, we walked. So do consider that as well. How far are you from a hospital? And it's not especially likely that you'll have to go there, from home, and need a carseat. They are used to parents not having them in NYC I have to assume. Actually, the one family I know who went in an ambulance, they had something for the small child to ride in. 

 

I would say no, you don't need a car seat. I would not go buy a big seat like the Scenara, personally. I'd buy something that folds (the two radians are the only ones I know that do) if you feel you need one personally and I'm correct that the $ is not the issue, the storing of a big, weirdly shaped object is. And they work to 65 or 80 pounds depending on the model, so I imagine it's pretty much for the entire carseat/booster seat age. 


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 06:43 AM 07-14-2011
Oh dear, NO the RADIAN will NOT get you through booster age. I hope you see this, pp, because it's really important. That 80 lb rating is inflated. Seats are also outgrown by height and the Radian is usually outgrown around 6 or so. Boosters are needed until a child is 4 foot 9 inches, which is the size of a 50th percentile 11 year old.

I like the Radian but I would not recommend it for the OP. To many installation works to trust it for a wide range of potential vehicles. The Cosco Scenera is fairly compact, and can't fir under or behind things.
Adaline'sMama's Avatar Adaline'sMama 12:37 PM 07-14-2011
Do you have a friend, sister, co worker, neighbor, or anyone that might call you and ask if you want to go somewhere with them? Lunch, shopping, errands, movies, ect? I wouldn't want to not be able to go somewhere with someone because I didnt have a careseat. There have been times when a friend was over and we wanted to go do something but DH had the carseat in his car and I couldnt go. Now I have two.
BennyPai's Avatar BennyPai 01:07 PM 07-14-2011

I completely agree with EviesMom.  Unless the OP is personally being kept awake at night with far-fetched what-ifs, it is not necessary to purchase a carseat in OP's situation. 

 

I have three children, and have never had a pediatrician work us in within a half hour!  I imagine that is even less likely in a city. 

OP's parents have a carseat in their car, and it seems that they are reasonably accessible. 

 

And I also agree that carseats are bulky - they take up a lot of space!  Unless you have a surplus of space, or perhaps an oversized walk-in type of closet, storing a carseat in an apartment would be a hassle.


EviesMom's Avatar EviesMom 01:46 PM 07-14-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post

Oh dear, NO the RADIAN will NOT get you through booster age. I hope you see this, pp, because it's really important. That 80 lb rating is inflated. Seats are also outgrown by height and the Radian is usually outgrown around 6 or so. Boosters are needed until a child is 4 foot 9 inches, which is the size of a 50th percentile 11 year old.

I like the Radian but I would not recommend it for the OP. To many installation works to trust it for a wide range of potential vehicles. The Cosco Scenera is fairly compact, and can't fir under or behind things.


Apparently you love the scenera. I've never seen one other than in the store, so I don't really know anything about it except that it's cheap.

 

Radian works in taxis and all rental cars or relatives cars I've used. Also works on planes. Don't worry about me with "it won't get you to booster age" because I switch to a vest as soon as the kid hits the minimums for it, as do about 20% of the people I know without our own cars in NYC. The rest do backless boosters, which I imagine you hate more. I might point out that I paid for a radian BECAUSE it folds to store. And because it fits into a stroller (without a child in it) to be rolled to the zipcar garage. The issues and the values are really different here than in suburbia. 


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 03:06 PM 07-14-2011


As a technician I 'love' the Scenera because it's inexpensive (great for giveaway programs and families on a budget), relatively easy to use, fits newborns, has a 40 lb rear facing limit, installs well in almost all cars.   I also own multiple Radians and I have seen many instances of complete vehicle incompatibility, including those with parents who thought the seat was installed perfectly.  Also, with a few rare exceptions, it is incompatible rear facing on airplanes (Great for forward facing though!)

 

I also own a vest.  I can't imagine why you would say I hate backless boosters, because I don't, but it sounds like you really aren't familiar with what technicians actually recommend?  

 

I cannot in good conscience recommend a Radian for the OPs purposes.  


Since you stated that you believed the Radian works for all of carseat/ booster age it was not unreasonable of me to believe that you thought the Radian, well, works for all of carseat/booster age.   If that's not what you meant, all you needed to do was clarify :)

(PSA, since even the size large vest has an 80 lb weight maximum, it may not get you through to seatbelt age either.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post




Apparently you love the scenera. I've never seen one other than in the store, so I don't really know anything about it except that it's cheap.

 

Radian works in taxis and all rental cars or relatives cars I've used. Also works on planes. Don't worry about me with "it won't get you to booster age" because I switch to a vest as soon as the kid hits the minimums for it, as do about 20% of the people I know without our own cars in NYC. The rest do backless boosters, which I imagine you hate more. I might point out that I paid for a radian BECAUSE it folds to store. And because it fits into a stroller (without a child in it) to be rolled to the zipcar garage. The issues and the values are really different here than in suburbia. 



 


chickabiddy's Avatar chickabiddy 05:48 PM 07-14-2011

Sceneras are cheap and light, and install without major incompatibilities in most vehicles.  None of those apply to Radians.  If the OP doesn't think he will ever need a carseat, it's far more cost-effective to spend $40 than $250 on a just-in-case item.


EviesMom's Avatar EviesMom 12:48 PM 07-15-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

Sceneras are cheap and light, and install without major incompatibilities in most vehicles.  None of those apply to Radians.  If the OP doesn't think he will ever need a carseat, it's far more cost-effective to spend $40 than $250 on a just-in-case item.


Cost-effective, yes. NYC size-apartment-effective, not so. I did say my first vote would be not to get a carseat since their relatives a few blocks away have one, and the OP don't own a car. 

 


EviesMom's Avatar EviesMom 12:58 PM 07-15-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post


As a technician I 'love' the Scenera because it's inexpensive (great for giveaway programs and families on a budget), relatively easy to use, fits newborns, has a 40 lb rear facing limit, installs well in almost all cars.   I also own multiple Radians and I have seen many instances of complete vehicle incompatibility, including those with parents who thought the seat was installed perfectly.  Also, with a few rare exceptions, it is incompatible rear facing on airplanes (Great for forward facing though!)

 

I also own a vest.  I can't imagine why you would say I hate backless boosters, because I don't, but it sounds like you really aren't familiar with what technicians actually recommend?  

 

I cannot in good conscience recommend a Radian for the OPs purposes.  


Since you stated that you believed the Radian works for all of carseat/ booster age it was not unreasonable of me to believe that you thought the Radian, well, works for all of carseat/booster age.   If that's not what you meant, all you needed to do was clarify :)

(PSA, since even the size large vest has an 80 lb weight maximum, it may not get you through to seatbelt age either.)



 


Well, lucky for me I have small-model kids too. They aren't going to even hit the 65 pound limit on the radian before they hit 8 years old anyway, which is the age in all the surrounding states and it does not appear to be tied to height nor weight (unless your child hits 80 pounds before age 8). Yes, safest if they're still in seats until they're taller and heavier, I know, but that's not the legal requirement.

 

I only commented at all bc they're asking about a NYC-and--carseats question and it seems that most answers just don't get what that means at all, as it's not the land of 80-pound 6 year olds, needs for super frugal seats, nor friends popping by with cars unexpectedly. 

 


Toposlonoshlep's Avatar Toposlonoshlep 11:54 AM 07-19-2011

Sounds like you're in NYC. As someone that had to call an ambulance for my LO while living here, I can attest that they can care less if your kid is in a car seat or not. They will have you sit in the ambulance with him/her in your arms and rush you off to the ER. I don't know where this is that they try to install car seats in an ambulance. It seems insane to me in a true emergency.

 

Also, I wanted to point out that although many MDC mamas and papas mean well, a large majority live in rural, suburban, or small cities. Living in NYC is its own beast and comes with its own challenges that only someone  living here understands. There is absolutely no reason you need to buy a car seat, especially considering that you are still waiting for your LO to come and people are already talking about 6 year olds and 80 lbs.? 

 


SeattleRain's Avatar SeattleRain 12:31 PM 07-20-2011

In an ambulance, the child may not be the one that has the emergency. YOU might have the emergency and be alone with your child. In that case, your child has to be restrained in the ambulance because you might not be able to hold them.

 

I actually once lived in a 500 square foot apartment with my husband and I know how small that is. I still think you should have a carseat. We buy so much crap for babies, I bet the OP has plenty of other stuff that is not directly related to a baby's safety. Carseats aren't all bulky at all. A Cosco Scenera especially is not bulky. It would fit in a baby's closet, or even in a regular person's closet. Also, many apartment buildings have some kind of storage room where you can store things like carseats or bigger items like bikes. A carseat is an essential item wherever you live. Sure, you could not get one, but you have no way of knowing if a situation may come up where you want to take one. I don't see any reason not to spend the $40 on getting an item that could potentially save your child's life.


Caneel's Avatar Caneel 12:57 PM 07-20-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleRain View Post

In an ambulance, the child may not be the one that has the emergency. YOU might have the emergency and be alone with your child. In that case, your child has to be restrained in the ambulance because you might not be able to hold them.

 

 

 but then who would be the person to install it if the parent was unable to do so?  Further, the ambulances I see have only front seat seating for two with no other seat belt seating suitable for carseats.    In a situation that warrents ambulance transportation, an ambulance crew isn't going to fuss around with directions and installation in the front seat of the rig.  They will leave the child with a police office and go.


chickabiddy's Avatar chickabiddy 07:53 PM 07-20-2011

Convertible carseats can be installed on ambulance gurneys with one set of straps through the forward-facing beltpath and one set through the rear-facing beltpath.


turalis's Avatar turalis 08:12 PM 07-20-2011

You are getting a car seat, you're just not keeping it in you house.  We've done this exact thing for the past three years.  My mum lives just a 10 minute walk away (less if we run) and both of our kids' seats are in her car.  For our hospital birth (DS1) they needed to see the car seat before they would let us go, but they didn't ask who's car it would be going into.  For our homebirth we just made sure the baby's seat was installed incase we had to transfer.  

 

We had one emergency where the nurse on the info line suggested we go to the hospital, when she heard 'our car' and the car seats were 10 mins away she said to call an ambulance - which we did, and it also meant we got seen right as we walked in the door.  The tricky part was getting home the next day, but in that case I was so sleep deprived my mum just came to get me.  In the case of our emergency it was around 11:00 pm and we didn't want to wake or worry my mum until everything was under control (turned out to be nothing but a really bad cough - but it happened during the N1H1 craziness), but she told me after that the safety and well being of her grandchild meant she wouldn't mind being woken up.  And not that we tested it out, but I'm pretty sure my husband would have been back with the car in less time than it took the guys to strap DS1 onto the stretcher with their kid adaptors (lack of a better word).

 

We just make sure that when she's getting the car serviced the seats stay at our place or hers so they're not stuck in the garage with the car.  


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