We're thinking about not getting a car seat. Is this crazy? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 56 Old 06-07-2011, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I definitely know that a car seat is generally something that everyone needs, and until this week we hadn't questioned the idea that we would need one too. However, we can't figure out when we would ever use it.

We don't have a car. We live in a city where we can walk most places (work, stores, parks, friends' houses, etc.). We frequently take the bus or the subway, but we almost never take a cab. My in-laws live only about a mile away from us, and they're planning to purchase a car seat for one of their cars which they will leave installed all the time. We do ride in their car or borrow their car sometimes, and we'll probably continue to do that once the baby arrives. We could easily borrow the car seat from them if we had a planned outing in some other car, although it seems like that is unlikely to happen very often since virtually all of our friends use public transportation too.

My worry had been about a medical emergency, but my wife pointed out that in a true emergency we're unlikely to take the time to install a car seat in a cab or a zipcar--we would either call an ambulance or my in-laws or hop in a cab with the babe in our arms. If it was less of an emergency (i.e. a sick child's doctor appointment) we would probably use my in-law's car regardless of if we had our own car seat or not.

Are we missing something here? We may well be--this will be our first child. What else should we be considering? Does it sound to you like we need a car seat?

Thank you!

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#2 of 56 Old 06-07-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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The only thing I can think of is that a couple people I know that called ambulances for emergencies had to have a car seat for the ambulance.

 

Otherwise it is better to wear the baby in a bus than use a stroller.


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#3 of 56 Old 06-07-2011, 03:18 PM
 
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If you don't have a car, then there is not much point to buying a car seat. I guess that would be like buying gas for a car you don't have. Plus, since your in-laws are buying a seat for their car, if something did happen where you travelled or something, I guess you could perhaps borrow it.

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#4 of 56 Old 06-07-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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Ambulances generally have car seats of their own.

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#5 of 56 Old 06-07-2011, 03:49 PM
 
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I say wait at this point. If you ever decide yes you need one you can get one later. : )


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#6 of 56 Old 06-07-2011, 03:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

Ambulances generally have car seats of their own.



IDK happened to two people...


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#7 of 56 Old 06-07-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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I would skip a carseat in this case.
Even in the instance of needing an ambulance, this family would only have a seat if they were at home, otherwise they would be out on public transit and have to say they would need to run back home!
Plus if they live in an area with such buses and subways I'm sure the emt are use to people not having carseats.

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#8 of 56 Old 06-08-2011, 07:35 AM
 
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I think you probably don't need a carseat.  I'll also disclaim that I'm a bit more carseat-oriented than most people.  However, I would buy a $40 Cosco Scenera, which should fit from birth to about age 3, and keep it at your house.  It is unlikely that you'll be faced with an emergency where you'll need a seat, but if you do you're not going to want to go shopping right then and inlaws might be out of town for the weekend of whatever.  I think $40 for a three-year "insurance policy" is a reasonable investment.

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#9 of 56 Old 06-09-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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It doesn't sound to me like you need one, but I have heard of a few cases in which the hospital would not release the family after the birth until they proved that they had a car seat. might want to double check with your hospital about that. I guess you can just borrow the in-law's for that situation though...

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#10 of 56 Old 06-09-2011, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your replies, everyone. You've raised some useful things for us to consider.

In case it is useful to anyone else, I checked with my local rescue squad, and they told me that it is now required by the U.S. Department of Transportation that all ambulances and medic units carry child safety seats. So if you're in the U.S., you should be ok in an ambulance without your own car seat. I'm glad that's the law now!

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#11 of 56 Old 06-09-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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How are you planning on getting home from the hospital (provided your are birthing in one)?  As a PP stated many hospitals require a car seat for dismissal tho I assume there are exceptions. If your IL's are driving you home and already have the car seat properly installed in their car then I think you are all set. If you find you need one later you could buy one later. 


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#12 of 56 Old 06-09-2011, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good question. We're planning a home birth, but if we and up transferring my in-laws would bring us home, so we could use their car seat. Thanks for thinking of that!
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Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post

How are you planning on getting home from the hospital (provided your are birthing in one)?  As a PP stated many hospitals require a car seat for dismissal tho I assume there are exceptions. If your IL's are driving you home and already have the car seat properly installed in their car then I think you are all set. If you find you need one later you could buy one later. 


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#13 of 56 Old 06-09-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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My vote is don't get one. I don't drive and have three car seats for two kids. They take up so much space and are very rarely used. One I had to have to leave the hospital, another my mom bought for my dd and I think my sister sent me the third, I don't really remember since I just walk everywhere or take the bus... I used them  both for about a week straight when grandparents were visiting but other than that they collect dust!


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#14 of 56 Old 06-09-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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"almost" never take a cab is not the same a "never" . just buy a cheap one

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#15 of 56 Old 06-09-2011, 08:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

"almost" never take a cab is not the same a "never" . just buy a cheap one



Why?  She could just borrow her IL's.


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#16 of 56 Old 06-12-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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Not infant seats, at least not where I am.

 

Ambulances here have seats that are attached to the wall.  They are facing backwards, but completely upright, and they're for kids who can sit on their own.

 

I didn't have a car when my child was younger, and made a number of ER trips during his first years.  None of them were ambulance worthy (e.g. a fever of 105.4 after Tylenol, bumping head and passing out from crying but Dr. wanted him checked out, croup).  None of them were such an emergency that I couldn't wait to buckle in a carseat.  However, in all those cases, I certainly wanted to be there within 1/2 an hour, so walking to the inlaws, or calling and waking them up, or waiting for them to come back from the grocery store etc . . . wouldn't have been an option. 

 

I'd buy a seat.  If I really couldn't afford that, I'd have my inlaws get an infant seat with a base, keep the base installed in their car, but have the infant seat with my child (e.g. at my house when he's there, travelling back and forth) so I could use it in an emergency.

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#17 of 56 Old 06-12-2011, 08:58 AM
 
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Sounds silly to buy one, to me, especially since you can always borrow your inlaws when you need it. I'm going to guess that if you live in a big city, you probably have a smaller home, so finding a place to store a carseat could be a pain.

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#18 of 56 Old 06-13-2011, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PenelopeJune View Post

I'm going to guess that if you live in a big city, you probably have a smaller home, so finding a place to store a carseat could be a pain.


You're absolutely right--the main reason we would not get a car seat would be because we didn't want to store it in our tiny apartment if we weren't really going to use it. Thanks for clarifying that.
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Ambulances here have seats that are attached to the wall.  They are facing backwards, but completely upright, and they're for kids who can sit on their own.

 

I didn't have a car when my child was younger, and made a number of ER trips during his first years.  None of them were ambulance worthy (e.g. a fever of 105.4 after Tylenol, bumping head and passing out from crying but Dr. wanted him checked out, croup).  None of them were such an emergency that I couldn't wait to buckle in a carseat.  However, in all those cases, I certainly wanted to be there within 1/2 an hour, so walking to the inlaws, or calling and waking them up, or waiting for them to come back from the grocery store etc . . . wouldn't have been an option. 


Thanks for sharing your experience. It's useful to hear. So in those cases where you were heading to the ER but not taking an ambulance, did you strap the car seat into a cab? And then did you carry the car seat along with your child when you arrived at the ER? I'm just trying to picture how it is done.

The ambulance thing seems trickier to me, since even if we have a car seat at our apartment, our child could have an emergency away from home in which case we would have to rely on whatever the ambulance had anyway. I don't know. Hopefully we never have to ride in an ambulance with our child, although obviously I want to be as prepared as reasonably possible.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your experience and ideas!

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#19 of 56 Old 06-13-2011, 04:16 PM
 
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So it sounds like you will have access to a car seat, even if you don't store it at your house?

 

If the child is injured, the ambulance will transport. But they don't take guests so in the event of an injury to an adult in your hospital, they wouldn't let you both hop in generally. And certainly not restrained.

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#20 of 56 Old 06-13-2011, 10:23 PM
 
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Get one, just in case.


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#21 of 56 Old 06-14-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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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.

 

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#22 of 56 Old 06-14-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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I do not have a car seat.  I live in the city and don't use a car.

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#23 of 56 Old 06-17-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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I wouldn't get a car seat. You don't have a car and use public transportation. I don't live in a big city nor have I ever been in one, so forgive me if this sounds ignorant, but are you required to have a car seat in a cab? I guess I haven't seen many pictures of women carrying child seats in the streets of NYC or loading them in and out of cabs. There are so many "what-if" questions here. I live in a small apartment with next to no storage, I would not choose to keep something lying around for "what-if" situations. If it was life or death then the paramedics are going to strap the baby to the stretcher to work on them on the way to the hospital. Everything else, IMO, can either wait the 10 minutes for the in-laws to get there or just take a cab or whatever.


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#24 of 56 Old 06-17-2011, 01:06 PM
 
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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


 

I agree with this, but also, if you decide you might want one to store at your house, there are always second-hand car seats around for free or cheap once you start moving in babies' social circles. I know lots of people say you should never use a used car seat, but for very rare or occasional use, I don't see the point of buying new.

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#25 of 56 Old 06-17-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aikigypsy View Post




 

I agree with this, but also, if you decide you might want one to store at your house, there are always second-hand car seats around for free or cheap once you start moving in babies' social circles. I know lots of people say you should never use a used car seat, but for very rare or occasional use, I don't see the point of buying new.

 

I disagree with this completely.  There's no point to having a car seat if it is not a safe car seat.  If you get in an accident, having a safe car seat vs. an unsafe car seat could mean the difference between life and death.  And no one can be guaranteed that they will not get in an accident, even if they are the safest driver in the world and only drive a few miles a month.  A new car seat takes up no more room than a used one.  A new one can cost as little as $45 (less if on sale!).  A used one may have been treated well, or it may have been repeatedly checked as baggage, straps washed in the machine with bleach (or, well, without bleach, since washing them in the machine is damaging enough...), etc.  

 

Buying a used one for $10 will save you $35... less than a $1 per month if the seat lasts your kid 3 years.  Why choose to risk your kid's safety over $1 per month?
 

I say skip the seat for now since you essentially have one so nearby at your in-laws'.


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#26 of 56 Old 06-17-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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If your baby is very sick and you need to cab it to your ped's office ... wouldn't you want to have a car seat? Cab drivers are insane in the city.  Buy something cheap and put it in the back of a closet.


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#27 of 56 Old 06-17-2011, 06:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subhuti View Post

If your baby is very sick and you need to cab it to your ped's office ... wouldn't you want to have a car seat? Cab drivers are insane in the city.  Buy something cheap and put it in the back of a closet.



Usually when you need to get in to see you ped same day they squeeze you in at least a few hours into their day.  The OP could get the seat from her parents by then if she needs it.

 


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#28 of 56 Old 06-17-2011, 08:15 PM
 
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We live in a city too, don't have a car, and we have a car seat.  Well, it's in storage now and DD now uses a booster.  There are times when we need it:  we couldn't leave the hospital (DD was born in a hospital) without one.  My parents bought it at Costco, I believe, but it was safe and is still in good condition.  Are you in NYC?  If so, PM me and we'll give it to you.

 

Although we don't have a car, we rent cars from time to time to travel to the mountains or out of state, and it has gotten good use.  FYI, as it now stands in NYC, cabs and cars for hire don't require car seats...they only require that the child be restrained (either in seatbelt on parent's lap, seatbelt if under 12, or sling/carrier on parent's lap.  I rode in a police car with DD in a Bjorn on my lap (our apartment was broken into and the police took me down to the police station to report).

 

I just think it is good policy to have a car seat for whatever crops up.  Again, I have a car seat that I'd like to give away.  If you're  in my town, PM me!


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#29 of 56 Old 06-25-2011, 10:26 PM
 
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I think it is important to remember that even though cabs don't require the use of car seats, they are not any safer than any other vehicle. Legal does not mean safe, an unrestrained child in a cab is at the same (high) risk as an unrestrained child in a personal vehicle.

 

OP- if you hare certain that you would *always* have access to your ILs carseat, I wouldn't buy one. But, if they are on a day trip out of the city, will they leave the seat at your house? What if you can't get in touch with them and need to get somewhere in a hurry? If it were me, I think the what-ifs would compel me to have a seat, and be sure I was confident installing it.

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#30 of 56 Old 06-25-2011, 11:17 PM
 
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I would absolutely get one, just for in case you need it.

We went without a car for much of the first two years of our daughter's life. In that two years we needed to have a car seat several times. Once I managed to seriously cut my finger with a kitchen knife, requiring stitches. We had to call a cab, and my daughter needed to come with me to the ER because she was a young breastfeeding infant. Around here the cabs do not have car seats, and there is no way I'd risk driving across town with an infant unrestrained in a cab!

Another time my husband got quite ill and needed to go to the ER (we thought it might be his appendix. We got a friend to drive us this time, but without a car seat I would have had to send my husband alone and in severe pain, and I would have hated to do that.

Other times we caught a ride with a friend to an activity. It did not happen often, but it was nice when it did, and our car seat came in handy then.

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