First, let me apologize to the DVN (Dude’s View Nation) that have been so patient while I attempted to overcome my writers block. The problem was that I didn’t have anything I felt passionate enough to write about...until last night.
Last night at the local county fair, I found my muse. Actually I found way too many muses. No, it wasn’t the butterfly fries, the fresh squeezed lemonade or the funnel cake. It wasn’t even the fried Oreos (I know, how much better can dessert get?). It wasn’t the pig races or the long distance dog jumping. What brought back my inspiration last night came from a combination of both new and repeat parents.
Let me start by saying that last night while enjoying a London broil steak sandwich and a dog bowl of curly fries covered with sour cream and bacon (sorry Mike the trainer…I guess we’ll chalk that one up to a cheat meal), I was actually sweating from just sitting there. It was a brutally hot night. The kind where the air is thick and if you don’t stay inside, you need to shower stat. But, we braved the heat for our little guy …well, at least for an hour.
While at the fair, I enjoyed one of my new hobbies which is stroller identifying. Yea, I know its kinda lame. But, when you’re in the baby business, you get a free pass. Some stroller highlights included a throwback 2009 Uppa Baby Vista, a slew of City Minis, BOBs and a couple of Bugaboo Cameleons. What I also saw was a disturbing number of Snap & Gos.
When people walk into the store, they know all the buzz questions: Is this fabric organic? Did this product pass safety testing? (Seriously. No, we sell unsafe un-approved items here - yea, I just rolled my eyes). Are there off gases produced by this car seat? What people forget to ask is, “Can I keep my baby in his/her car seat outdoors in 100 degree temperatures for hours at a time?” I mean are you kidding me? Anyone who has ever had a child and removed them from the car seat will feel that your child’s back is soaking wet whether it’s hot, cold or anywhere in the middle. So on this lovely night in the end of July, let’s layer you in some North Face winter gear and see how you feel in it after 5 minutes, let alone a couple of hours. Get the point? Discomfort, heat stroke and potential dehydration. Those are just some of the terrible effects of keeping your baby in their car seat more than necessary.
What most people don’t know is that car seats are designed for one thing and only one thing. They are meant to keep your baby safe, in the horrible instance they are ever in an accident. They are not designed for comfort, sleep or toting your baby around the county fair in the middle of summer (or fall, spring or winter). Even though companies like Graco and Chicco offer frames that allow easy attachment of your car seat, it doesn’t mean that it’s the best option for your baby. Jessica Alba, are you reading this? I’ve seen all your interviews about your Honest Company for healthy babies…and also the photos of your infant in the car seat day after day. Contradict much?
Car seats put your baby at a maximum of a 45 degree angle which is the maximum angle to keep their air passage open, but more important the position to keep their spine safe in a car accident...car accident IN THE CAR. As the baby grows and they are able to maintain head control, a more upright position is okay, which is when we can switch them to a convertible car seat or put them in a non fully reclining stroller. It is always best to keep your baby laying flat for the beginning of his/her life (unless in the car because of the potential of an accident). Don’t believe me? There are people WAY WAY smarter than me that will vouch for what I’m saying. For example, Prof Kita from the University of Japan states “Any baby that lies flat for the first six months of life can be up to 30% healthier and more intelligent than a baby that sits upright.” Bam.
So now you’re probably asking, well what is my other option if I’m not using my car seat on my stroller? The answer is simple…a fully reclining stroller (fully fully fully - not almost fully, actually fully) or more preferable a stroller bassinet. Most of the better strollers include a bassinet or offer a bassinet option (BUGABOO CAMELEON, ORBITBABY G2, UPPA BABY VISTA). Even most of the better double strollers offer a bassinet option for your younger child. (BABY JOGGER CITY SELECT, BUGABOO DONKEY, ICANDY PEACH/BLOSSOM)
Here it comes...the snarky sounding statement I always hear. "Well, my baby loves the car seat. He sleeps in it for hours and hours." - My response. Wait for it. "Your kid isn't getting the optimal oxygen and they're hot, making them sleepier. " Zzzzzz.
With all the research we do about the best products for our kids, the more recent information about the downside of car seats when used too much - outside of the car- means it's time for fair goers (and people everywhere) to start making better decisions!