Did You Know? Winter Car Seat Safety

A quick note on comments before you start reading this post.  Since this seems to be a touchy subject and that parents on either side of the discussion can be quite, um, passionate, about their point of view.  Because of this, I reserve the right to moderate or delete any comment that I consider to be inappropriate in its tone or content.  We are all adults, it is quite possible to defend one’s point of view in a respectful manner.

Thank you.

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I’ve been debating whether I should actually write this post or not.  You see, writing it has the potential to earn me a fair bit of flak because it is a subject, just as a few others in parenting, that seems to have two well-defined and opposite camps.  Anyways, here I go.

What you need to know is this: I am not perfect.  I know, shocker, right (*fake gasp*).  I am also known to compulsively follow rules and compulsively read about a subject that grasps my attention until my brain is about to explode.

Did I mention that I was a bit compulsive?

A short (read: very short) while ago, as I was compulsively researching the best harness to booster seat for my toddler (’cause, y’know, the baby is getting just a biiiiiit heavy and big for her bucket seat), I came across a post that made the voice inside my head go: “say whaaaaaat?!?!”

Just like that ^^^

Just like that ^^^

You see, after about 2 years, 3 months, 1 week and 6 days (give or take a few hours) of being a mother, I learned that to properly secure my kids in their car seats, I should strap them in sans winter coat.

Go ahead, say it: “Bad mama!”

(For the record, adults should forgo the bulky coats too).

Now, in all seriousness though, the arguments behind the information that I should not strap my children in their car seats with their winter coats on makes perfect sense (you’ll see why later on).  The revelation, however, has left me a few things that I have trouble wrapping my head around.

1.  Why was I never told this?  I mean, I know it’s my job to be informed about the finer and not so finer points of parenting (ie: safety), but I very honestly had no idea about this.  Granted,  I did not read any of my car seat installation manuals (in which this point is covered) cover to cover.  I read what I needed to make sure that my child would fit in the seat and read what I needed to securely secure in a secure fashion (sorry, sorry, I’ll stop) the car seats in our cars.  BUT, it would seem that it would have been pertinent to know this a little earlier in this parenting gig.  I mean, at the hospital, they talk about shaken baby syndrome, they talk about putting your littles down on their backs to sleep, they make sure you are able to feed and bathe your child properly and they don’t allow you to leave the hospital until they have seen your newborn strapped into his/her car seat to make sure you know how to transport them safely.  But never do they say anything about coats and car seats at the hospital (or anywhere else for that matter).

2.  Why have I never seen anyone do this?  It gets cold where I live.  I’m talking -25 Celcius plus windchill.  And the cold lasts for several months.  Despite the fact that parents seem to be split 50/50 on the subject, never in my whole two years of parenting have I ever seen anyone strap their kiddo in their car seat without their coats on unless it was a baby that was in a bucket seat with a winter cover.

3.  How can I manage this with two young kiddos and, more importantly, do I want to manage this?

Now, I’ve read a few (read: a lot of) articles on the subject recently and they all include tips and tricks to do this.  I thought I’d share some of them with you.

  • Park you vehicle in a heated garage.
  • Buy a cozywoggle (advertised as the only winter coat that is car seat safe) for each of your kids.
  • Put the coat on the wrong side (ie: zipper in the back).  Once in the car, sit your kid, unzip, remove arms from sleeves, buckle up your kid and keep the coat on top of him/her to keep warm.
  • Remove coat once in the car and cover kiddo(s) with a blanket kept inside the vehicle.
  • Dress you littles in enough layers to keep them warm for their trek to the vehicle.
An example of layering.  Photo used with permission.

An example of layering. Photo used with permission.

  • Let your car warm up in the driveway before putting the kiddos in (for those of you who live in a place with anti-idling laws, I’ve read that there is a caveat that allows for idling for up to 15 minutes in a 1h period if the temperature is below or above a certain point).
  • Move to a place that doesn’t have winter.  (It would seem that Malta is one of the most temperate spots in the world)

Now, these are all great tips and I could use any one or combination of them, BUT, do I want to?  I’m trying to imagine the logistics of it all.

If I want to warm up my car ahead of time, that means that I have to leave the toddler and 6 month old alone in the house while I run outside to start my car.

If I want to put their coats on and them remove them once in the car, I still have to expose them to (sometimes) umbearibly cold winds as I keep the car door open to strap them in.  (And though the cozywoggle really is a wonderfully innovative product, I still have to unzip and expose my kids’ arms and torso to the chilly temps as I strap them in).

I don’t have access to a heated garage (unless we demolish the wall that’s separating it in two).

Oy!

In all fairness, I could manage pulling this off when I have a long road ahead of me.  For instance, I am considering (“considering” being the key word in the sentence) doing this when I make the 30 minute drive to and from daycare.  Maybe.

Methinks I can at least get baby girl out of the convertible infant car seat and back into her heavy muscle-making bucket seat, throwing a blanket over her until the weather gets warmer (now that I’ve removed her winter sleep sack, she should fit).

But when I have quite a few errands to run and I am alone with my two littles?  No, I won’t do it.

Food For Thought.

I thought I’d share this with you.  I put Amélie in her winter snowsuit in her bucket seat and tightened the straps until they passed the pinch test.  Then, without loosening the straps, I got her out of her snowsuit and put her back in the bucket seat where she failed the pinch test…miserably…

What do you do, coat or no?  Did you know about this?  If so, how/when did you hear about it?

Related articles:

Baby Giggles & Toddler Fun

I was finishing off some bread in the kitchen earlier this afternoon, when I heard baby girl squeal. I turned around to tell my toddler to be careful around his sister because I thought he had hurt her, only to realize that my daughter was laughing her butt off at something her brother was doing.

Winter in Canada

Winter in Canada is a great time to…

1.  Bundle up

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What. Is. This? I can’t even move in this thing!

2.  Go skating

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That was fun, can we go around the rink one last time?

3.  Be silly

Who needs the beach when you can just use snow?

Who needs the beach when you can just use snow?

4.  Get creative

When it's too cold to play outside, just bring the white stuff inside!

When it’s too cold to play outside, just bring the white stuff inside!

5.  Relax

Ah, this is the life!

Ah, this is the life!  Is my supper ready soon?

6.  Learn to share

What *is* this thing , big brother?  Can I put it in my mouth?

What *is* this thing , big brother? Can I put it in my mouth?

7.  Take up a new hobby

Making a scarf takes a lot of concentration!

Making a scarf takes a lot of concentration!

The Potty Training Chronicles: The Conclusion

PT Chronicles finalSo after a horrible day of potty training and two subsequent not so good days, things got better.  We are now a little over a month in potty training and Charles has not only managed to get back to where he was before his potty training hiccup but has managed to make additional gains.

First of all, it is no longer a negotiation to get him out of his diaper and into his boxer post-nap and in the mornings.  At first, we adjusted would give him a good 15 minutes to fully wake up before changing him out of his diaper.  Then suddenly, after a week or two of this, Charles started asking to have his diaper removed as soon as he woke up.  SCORE!

Secondly, on week three of potty training, Charles started to attend daycare again.  The sitter was super open-minded about this and Little Dude did wonderfully.  Because his friends (who are both two years older than him) are potty trained, he was super motivated to use the big toilet just like them.  He still prefers his potty when he’s at home, but outside of the house he can use a big toilet without a fuss (which is why we bring along a potty ring whenever we are out).

Finally, we’re getting more and more dry naps and this morning we had our first dry nighttime diaper.  YAY!

Oh and as a bonus, Charles is now able to pull down his boxers by himself!

I’m in no rush to get him out of diapers during sleep-time and plan on doing so only when he can stay consistently dry during naps (and later on during the night), but I’d say that potty training was a success.

Look out for an upcoming post on the keys to our particular potty training success story!

Did you write a post on potty training?  Care to share your story?  Feel free to post in the comments section!

Ten Thought Tuesday: Firsts

TTT1.  Last week, it would seem, was a week of firsts.

2.  After having received the green light by his allergist, Charles had his first taste of cheese on Saturday (which he loved, by the way).

3.  After nearly a week of red cheeks, awful sleep, bucketfuls of drool, constant nursing and chewing on everything she could get her mouth on, Amélie cut her first tooth on Sunday (closely followed by a second one the very next day).

4.  Little Dude spent his first week at daycare sans diaper.  And it went well!

5.  I went out with Charles to the rink (which is literally right across the street from our house) for his first skating experience on Saturday.  He had a blast.

All smiles despite falling once or twice.

All smiles despite falling once or twice.

6.  For the first time in years, the price of gas dropped to under a buck per liter around here.  Yay!

7.  Amélie took the train for the first time on Thursday.  She slept the whole way through, though, so she didn’t even notice :P.

8.  After almost completing my first crochet project (a scarf which I completely unwound because the perfectionist in me wasn’t happy with the result), I started my first project with a pattern.  It took a little getting used to, but I’m getting better at pattern-reading.

9.  Since Numb3rs isn’t available on Netflix Canada anymore :( , my partner and I started to watch the first season of House of Cards.  It’s fascinating to see all of the manipulation that can happen behind the scenes of political life.

10.  I’m looking forward to my first good night of sleep in a week and am crossing my fingers for it to happen tonight.  Wish me luck!

Have you had any “firsts” recently?

Bring Out The Cheese!

Last Thursday, we went for Little Dude’s follow-up appointment with his pediatric allergist.  It was freezing cold and there was oddles of traffic so I’m super happy we took the train and subway to go to the hospital.

We first sat down with the doctor who asked how things were going allergy-wise.  She was thrilled when I told her that we had successfully introduced milk in baking and cooking.  I also talked about the insane reaction that Little Dude had after taking Amoxil a couple of months ago.  Then, after some more waiting in the toy-filled waiting room, we went back in to see the nurse who would conduct the scratch test.  This time, she skipped the synthesized dairy altogether and used a drop of fresh milk right off the bat.  I was really eager to see how it would go, because last time, the test spot started reacting before we were even out of the nurse’s office.

Well, it turns out that we would be receiving good news.

1.  Despite the fact that Charles did react again to the fresh milk, his reaction was so small that the allergist gave us the green light to try hard cheeses with Charles.  She went on to say that if the hard cheeses were ok, that we could then try softer ones and even yogurt!

2.  Because Charles’ reaction was smaller than the control spot, the allergist is pretty confident that Little Dude’s dairy allergy will be history by the time he’s 3.  We will have a follow-up appointment in 6 months to keep monitoring his progress.

3.  It turns out that the little guy isn’t allergic to penicillin.  Though he had an immune reaction, it wasn’t an allergic reaction.  It was a serum-sickness-like reaction to either a virus or the Amoxil.  Since there’s no way to know which it was, I was told to avoid the Amoxil, but told that other forms of penicillin should be fine.

Perhaps, by his 3rd birthday, Charles will be able to have some buttercream icing or whipped cream on his cake!

Ten Thought Tuesday: 2015

TTT1.  Yay, first TTT in 2015.  2015!  I can hardly believe it!

2.  Potty training is going well.  I’ve got a post in my drafts that I’ve been working on, but can’t seem to find the time to finish.  Hopefully I’ll be able to update you all by Friday.

3.  I’ve taken up crochet over Christmas holidays after receiving a set of crochet hooks and a couple of balls of yarn. (I’ve been meaning to learn for a while now).  I’m currently working on a scarf now that I’ve got a couple of stitches down.  It’s not perfect, but I’m quite happy with it considering I only learned how to crochet about a week ago.

4.  Now that she has officially mastered thumb-sucking, Amélie has moved on to trying to roll from back to front.  She is so close!  Of course, she has decided to practice perfecting this new skill each and every time she is on her back.  And no time slot is off limits; yesterday, she had an intense session from 10pm to 2am.  It was fun…

5.  I’ve been making my bread for about a month now and am still loving it.  My sister got me a really wonderful breadmaking book for Christmas (the kneading technique in the book has seriously saved my wrists) and I am slowly working through it and trying the different kinds of bread and pastries that are presented.

6.  This Thursday, Charles has a follow-up appointment with his allergist.  I’ll be mentioning his reaction to the amoxcil he took a little while back.  I’ll be commuting via train and subway with both kiddos.  It should prove to be an interesting trip.

7.  On Friday it will be Amélie’s turn for a medical appointment as she has her 4 month check-up.

8.  A blogger I was following last year had written about her plan to do no-spend January last year.  My partner have decided to take the challenge for January 2015.  Besides paying the bills that need to be paid and tanking up when we need gas, we have budgeted 700$ for eating for the month (which probably means that we won’t be eating out).  Other than that, we’re planning on not spending a penny more.  I’m eager to see how it goes (ie: if 700$ is a reasonable amount and if we’ll be able to refrain from spending on other stuff).

9.  I have started working on getting Amélie to fall asleep independently.  Since she’s able to suck her thumb, I’m counting on that to be her method of falling asleep.  I’m hoping that I won’t have to get in to full-blown sleep training mode, but if I do, I’ll be using PUPD like I did with Charles a year and a half ago.

10.  Charles is still very much in love with his little sister and she loves him just as much.  One of the pictures that was taken of them at a photo studio captures the sentiment very nicely, don’t you think?

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