Choosing a Pediatrician…or Not

How to choose a pediatrician

Just as the language that we use when discussing birth tends to favor the term “OB” instead of “Doctor,” or “Midwife,” or “Care Provider,” when we talk to parents about finding someone to take their new baby to, the default term for this person is “Pediatrician.” These word choices leave out wide swaths of care providers. For births, it’s not uncommon for people to forget that there are Family Medicine doctors who also provide maternity services (and often they are the one kind of care provider where you can reasonably expect to see the person who did your prenatal care to also attend your birth), or they don’t understand that Certified Nurse Midwives are qualified, appropriate options in many places. For children, Family Medicine doctors are an alternative to Pediatricians, but there are also Advanced Practice Nurses who can do well-child (and sick child) care, such as Pediatric Nurse Practitioners or Family Nurse Practitioners. So, while there are things you need to think about finding a care provider for your baby, keep in mind that there are more options than just choosing a pediatrician.

1) Location- When you have a sick baby or a sick child, that ride to get things checked out can be very stressful. And while the best choice for you may not be the closest option, be realistic about choosing a provider who is 45 minutes away. The distance may become too much to manage. If your child is going to daycare, keep that location in mind when narrowing down options, too. Sometimes finding something largely between your home and daycare makes the most sense.

2) Access- This may be obvious, but if a clinic or provider has a full practice, it’s disappointing, but would mean that you’d have a very hard time getting appointments, especially for urgent issues. Every clinic has different arrangements for after-hour care, too. Find out what they do when parents have a sick child at 2am. Not everything is Emergency Department-worthy. Case in point: When my son had to have a pre-op checkup to have his tonsils taken out, the clinic we had been going to since he was born could not, would not find me any appointment within the 7 day window the surgeon required. I only got an appointment after escalating the issue to a manager and explaining that this was very important that he get in, because it’s hard to get surgeries scheduled. We’d had other issues with being able to get appointments, but this was the absolute last straw.

3) Bedside Manner- When you have a new, tiny baby, it can be overwhelming, and you need to find a care provider for your child who is kind, listens, takes the time to answer questions, and takes your thoughts and goals seriously. We all have bad days, but if you aren’t being treated well or respected on a consistent basis, then you need to look for another provider.  You usually have lots of options– find them!

4) Breastfeeding Knowledge- Again, moms face huge hurdles to make it to the 2 week mark with breastfeeding, much less to make it to 6 weeks or 6 months. Your baby’s care provider should be an ally to help you, not to try to discourage you. Unfortunately, not all pediatricians or other providers understand breastfeeding that well, and that lack of comfort on the subject may make them less likely to help a mom meet her breastfeeding goals. And just as study after study has found that when doctors have free samples of a medication to hand out, they are more likely to prescribe those medications to pateints, the same is true for breastfeeding.  A care provider who has free samples of infant feeding products may be more likely to default to that as the solution to a wide array of concerns, when it may not be necessary to go that route.  There are providers out there who really get breastfeeding, and if your goal is to breastfeed for any amount of time, pick someone who wants to and can help you meet that goal.

5) Are they up to date?-This is the car seat tech in me saying this, but if your baby’s care provider tells you that you can turn your baby forward facing at one year and 20 pounds, please know that that has not been an appropriate practice for at least a few years. Guess what? Best practices for car seats, medications, and everything else do change over time as we gather more and more information. I consider the car seat thing a canary in a coal mine, and I get concerned whenever I find care providers who are so blase about serious issues like car seats.

So, remember your options:

  • Pediatricians
  • Family Med Doctors
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • Family Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants

And I also like to point out that even if you do a lot of research, think you made the right choice, but start to have any of the issues I listed above, or if your gut tells you that something is just not right, don’t be afraid to switch. It’s easy, and it’s worth it.

Anything you’d add? Let me know in the comments below!

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

How to dispose of a car seat

Car Seat Disposal babylove

I got this little gem of a car seat 2 weeks ago. It’s expired and it’s time for it to go to car seat heaven. You can recycle car seats in the Twin Cities, but if you just need to get rid of it, I’m going to show you how to make the seat ready to throw away.

The goal here is to make sure that NOBODY would even think of fishing it out of the garbage and using it.

photo 1 (9)First, I want to point out that this seat is missing warning labels. See the place where there is sticker residue? That should have a label on how to position the handle.

photo 2 (7)This warning label is missing too.

photo 4 (7)Here’s the back. Just as an FYI, I hate this car seat. When we talk about what makes a car seat cheap or expensive, this kind of strap adjustment is cheap and VERY hard to use correctly.

photo 4 (6)So, I unthreaded the straps.

photo 3 (7)I turned the seat back over and pulled out the buckle.

photo 1 (6)

 

Then I pulled out the straps.

photo 2 (6)I pulled off the plates and the chest clips from the straps, and pulled the straps through to the back. I then pulled off the straps.

photo 3 (6)See? Here’s the little pile of hardware and straps. Can I just say again how GROSS this seat was?

photo 4 (5)Next, the seat cover came off. Ew. Gross. Just a quick reminder here– don’t be daft and try to make new covers if you find an old, dirty seat.

photo 1 (5)Next up? Cutting the seat cover in half. Someone won’t try to reclaim the seat by stitching it back together, right? Right?

photo 2 (5)I pulled out the padding.

photo 3 (5)A baby bucket!

photo 4 (4)

 

I unscrewed the handle. My hope was to get both sides off this way, but 9 years of crud had the other side totally stuck.

photo 1 (4)Action shot of me breaking the handle! Wish I had a hammer here.

photo 2 (4)There are all of the pieces, ready to be taken out to the dumpster. How does it look? Would you try to reuse it?

photo 3 (4)

 

So long, gross car seat! I hope you never try to protect a baby again. Rest in pieces.

Any questions? Let me know if I can answer any for you in the comments below!

Warmly,

Veronica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

UPDATED: Four (now 6) Convertible Car Seats to Consider

What Convertible Car Seats Buy now

Update 7/10/14: New car seats are always coming out, so I wanted to make sure to take a look at some of the new options out there. Diono has added three more seats to their lineup. You can see a handy comparison chart here I’ve added the Ranier to the list below. Additionally, after doing a couple of checks on Graco MySize 65s, I’m adding it to the list below. I’m still irked with Graco, but this is a good seat.

I got an email from a mom asking about the kinds of convertible car seats I recommend.  So, I’m going to finally write a post about it.  This is the number one question I get asked when it comes to car seats, so I guess it’s time I addressed it.

First, though, some caveats and disclaimers: 

There is no right right car seat for everyone.  You need to pick a car seat that works for your budget, that will fit your child and, especially in the case of convertible car seats, will fit in your car.  Additionally, I do not make any money on the sale of any brands that I will list below.  This is just my opinion based off of 4 years of experience. These are not listed in any specific order, either.

#1- The Recaro ProRide 

I like the ProRide for a few reasons. It’s got some of the highest limits both forward and rear facing. This means it’s going to do a good job of keeping your child rear facing for a long time and allowing your child to stay forward-facing in a 5 point harness for as long as possible.

  • Cost: $220-$260
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-40lbs and 49″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-65lbs and 22.5″ when seated
  • Dimensions: 27-29″H x 19″W x11″D
  • Weight: 20lbs
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, Adjustable head support, Recline level indicator, no-rethread harness adjustment

#2- Diono RadianRXT

Things I love about this car seat include it’s steel frame, that you can use the LATCH to anchor it to up to 80 pounds, that it’s also a booster, that it’s narrow frame means you can fit three into the back seat of many cars, and that you can tether it rear-facing. Yes, it’s a little pricey, but it’s the only car seat you really need to ever buy (in theory).

  • Cost: $250-320
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-45lbs and 44″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-80lbs and 57″
  • Dimensions (HxWxD):28.5″H x 17″W x 16″D
  • Weight: 26.15lbs
  • Expiration: 8 years from date of manufacture in harness mode, 9 years in booster mode
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, Adjustable head support, Expandable sides, Adjustable cup holder

#3- Combi Coccoro

While the two seats I listed above are FABULOUS at being able to be used for the long-term, if you have a smaller car or 2 kids in the back seat of your 4 door car (or, in a 2 door car), then you might need a seat that’s more compact so it’ll actually fit in your backseat rear-facing. This is also a really nice, lightweight seat.

  • Cost: $175-$210
  • Rear-facing limits: 3-33 lbs. and 40″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-40lbs and 40″
  • Dimensions: 17″ L x 15.50″ W x 28.25″ H
  • Weight: 11.75 lbs.
  • Expiration: 7 years from date of manufacture
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, Can be tethered rear and forward facing, starts at a very low birth weight, a very good seat for preemies, buckle has a visual cue to tell you it’s buckled correctly

#4- Evenflo SureRide DLX

For families looking for a cost-effective option, this is a good seat.  It has some features of the more expensive seats above, like high height limits in the forward facing position.  It does not have some of the nicer features of the other seats, and it can’t be tethered in a rear-facing position.  Also, you’ll find it’s missing some of the “ease of use” features the other seats have. But I will say I do like Evenflo seats and was thrilled to find this seat.

  • Cost: $85-$110
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-40 lbs. and 40″
  • Forward-facing limits: 22-65lbs and 54″
  • Dimensions: 24” High x 18.5” Wide x 28” Long for rear-facing; 28” High x 18.5” Wide x 20” Long in forward-facing mode
  • Weight: 10.5 lbs.
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture
  • Other features: Side-impact protection, made in the USA, fold-down cupholder

#5- Diono Rainier (NEW!)

As much as I love the Radians, The new Rainier has a few things up on them. First, the lifespan of use is 12 years from date of PURCHASE, whereas the Radians are good for 10 years from date of manufacture. The Rainier is also a little more padded and has higher weight limits. The one downside is that the Rainiers are wider, so you can’t get 33 in the backseat of a smaller car.

  • Cost: $290
  • Rear-facing limits: 5-50 lbs. and 44″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-90 lbs and 57″
  • Dimensions: 16 x 17 x 28.7 inches
  • Weight: 28.4 lbs.
  • Expiration: 12 years from date of purchase
  • Other features: Also a high back booster, can be tethered rear-facing, folds for travel

#6- Graco MySize 65 (New!)

OK, I do like this seat. I like that you can adjust the harness without un-installing the seat. I like that there are 2 separate sets of lower anchor straps so you don’t have to move the lower anchor straps when you go from rear-facing to forward facing. I like the recline settings. The infant insert is nice, too. The main downside is the lower height limit for forward facing.

  • Cost: $180
  • Rear-facing limits: 4-40 lbs. and 44″
  • Forward-facing limits: 20-65 lbs and 49″
  • Dimensions: Overall Height: 26″ x Width: 22.3″ x Depth: 19.3″
  • Weight: 19.34 lbs
  • Expiration: 6 years from date of manufacture (stamped on back)
  • Other features: integrated cup holder, ease of install, upgraded LATCH connectors

 

I was originally going to write about 5 seats, until I realized… I couldn’t find a 5th to stick up here.  That doesn’t mean that the other seats aren’t good seats.  It just means that there might be certain things, like difficult installation instructions or obnoxious quirks that leave me feeling lukewarm about them.  And remember, you DO NOT NEED an infant-only seat.  You will absolutely need to buy a convertible car seat, period, end of story.  Consider buying one really awesome convertible car seat and skip the expensive, limited-use infant seat.

So those are my thoughts, and they are only my thoughts. Do you have questions?  Throw ‘em in the comment section below!

Warmly,

Veronica (a proud Child Passenger Safety Technician)

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

The Safe Way to Save Money On Car Seats

Image via Flickr by jessicafm
Image via Flickr by jessicafm

 

Car seats are one of the more expensive baby items you will need to get before your baby arrives, yet the most important.  Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for children under the age of 12.  Somehow, though, they also become one of the least considered items for many families.  Why?  I don’t know– because they aren’t fun, or because they are hard to use, or overwhelming to think about, maybe.  And while many parents try to be cheap and get their hands on a used seat, this isn’t always a really good idea, as I’ve written about in a previous blog post.

I also know that conventional wisdom holds that you must buy an infant-only seat that has a handle and snaps into a base for your newborn.  I’ve heard of nurses telling moms this.  I’ve heard of store employees telling shopping parents this.  And yeah, it seems like that’s just how it is.  You have your baby, put them in a car seat to go into the car, then you take the seat out of the car when you get to your destination, and then your baby stays in the seat for hours on end.  Not only is that a horrible idea because it causes their skulls to be flat in the back, but it might be a huge waste of money.

Hear me out.

When it comes to car seats, know that to do a good job of keeping your child safe every single time you leave the house in a vehicle, it’s important that you are using the right seat, installed properly, and with your child correctly secured. That means selecting the right seat, and not skipping a step.  So, here’s what the full, complete, progression of what car seats your child will need could look like:

You could, in this scenario, potentially have to buy 4 seats for your child. If you figure an infant-only car seat will cost about $150 and another $50 for an extra base, a convertible seat can cost an average of $150, a combination seat can cost another $150, and a booster can run about $40….that’s a lot of money.  And this is buying the lower-cost seats.  When you buy seats that cost more, they are usually easier to use, more comfortable for your child, and can have additional safety features. Some more expensive seats have later expiration dates, with some of them expiring 9 years after the date of manufacture.

There’s another way.

You can, despite what popular opinion tells you, skip that infant-only seat.  Yes, maybe it looks pretty, maybe it came with your stroller, but you don’t NEED it.  Convertible seats are getting lower and lower weight limits, some as low as 4 or 5 pounds, and the car seat manufacturers are always adding ways to help make the seat fit small babies. You also can pay really close attention to height and weight limits, only buying seats that have really tall height limits.  There are convertible seats on the market that have forward facing in a 5 point harness limits of 50-54 inches. For some kids, that will get them to 6-7 years old, then making it possible to skip a combination seat, and go to a booster–as long as you have a child who sits safely in a booster.  In some cases, then, you can get away with only buying 1 or 2 car seats for your child.

What is an UNSAFE way to save money is to go from a convertible seat straight to a belt-positioning booster.  Don’t skip a step. Preschoolers simply aren’t big enough, nor are they mature enough, to sit in a booster in a way that always has the belt going across their chests and the lap part of the belt staying on their upper thighs. Another UNSAFE way to try to save money is by buying this seat.  It does not do well as a convertible seat, and it makes for a very poor booster seat.

And, a tiny rant: I need to call out the retailers who are confusing parents by lumping together combination seats with belt-positioning boosters and calling them all “boosters”.  I get why parents are confused.  Heck, if I saw that one seat was $150 and another was $30 and lumped (incorrectly) into the same category, I might go for the $30 seat too, despite the fact that it might not be a safe choice for my child.  I’m looking at you, Target. It’d be nice if you got on board with the rest of us who are actually trained on these things.

Finally,  if you do have questions, do what every single reputable car seat guide says to do:  get help from a Child Passenger Safety Technician.  We are certified and love to help!  I’m one, and you can find one near you by going here.

Safe travels!

Warmly,

Veronica

 

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Introducing BabyLove Memberships

BabyLove Memberships

We know that more and more families are trusting us for all of their prenatal education, postpartum support, and ongoing education as their babies grow.  To help these families save money, we created memberships with 3 different levels to serve various goals and needs.

Membership Levels

Silver-$400: Unlimited BabyLove* classes for one year, up to two car seat checks

In one year you could take:

  • Evening Lamaze Series
  • Labor Skills Workshop
  • Birth Communication Workshop
  • Cloth Diapering/ Babywearing Combo Class
  • Early Potty Training
  • Baby Care: The First Year
  • 6 Dancing For Birth series

With the two car seat checks included, the package could easily be valued at $715.  That’s a HUGE Savings!

TOTAL:  $715, Potential savings of $315

Gold-$500: Unlimited BabyLove* classes for one year, up to two car seat checks, and four hours of in home lactation support

This package includes everything above, with the same huge cost savings, but included an additional 4 hours of in home lactation support, which has a $140 value.

TOTAL: $855, Potential Savings of $355

Platinum-$950: Unlimited BabyLove* classes for one year, up to two car seat checks, four hours of in home lactation support, and BabyLove doula services

Our prices for doula services range from $650-$750.  Not only will you get all of the awesome classes you want to take with us, but you will also get two experienced doulas for the birth of your child.

TOTAL: $1605, Potential savings of $655

Right now, in order to purchase these packages, just give us a call or send us an email and we will enroll you as a member.  You will have the ability to sign up for all of the classes you desire for a one year period via our registration system without needing to pay.  We are happy to answer any questions you might have!
*BabyLove classes do not include classes taught by outside educators, such as Calm Birth®, Small Talk Infant Sign, and specialty workshops

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

5 Items to Avoid on Your Baby Registry

what to avoid on baby registry

I’ve been getting lots and lots of questions lately on if I had good resources about registries,  and you know what?  I don’t.  The truth is, there are millions, if not billions, spent on advertising to new parents.  What do you actually need? Well, a car seat is a must (though you don’t need to buy an infant-only car seat with a handle. A convertible car seat works just fine too).  Your baby needs a safe place to sleep.  Clothes are good.  And diapers?  Well, you might want to check out how much diapers cost before you decide if you’ll go cloth versus disposables.  There are some things, though, that shouldn’t go on your registry, period.

1) A Boppy

Why you should avoid it: Originally marketed as a way to elevate baby while playing on the floor, it quickly seemed like it was a necessity for breastfeeding moms.  Truth be told, it leaves a huge gap by moms’ stomachs, it isn’t high enough to bring baby all the way up to breast, and it’s better for baby to be at a 45 degree angle (or more) when feeding.  Would you be able to drink while lying on your side? Nope. So don’t make your baby do that, either.

A better choice: Instead of a nursing pillow, add some lactation support to your wish list.  Have friends or family members buy you some prepaid time with a lactation pro in your home that you can call for help.  It’ll be way better than a pillow, I promise.

2) Crib Bumpers

Why you should avoid it: Well, for one, the AAP has warned against using them for many years now.  They are a SIDS risk.  The  city of Chicago made it illegal to sell them. Older babies can use them as a step and can fall out of their cribs. I’ve never quite understood what we thought they were going to do, anyway.  I mean, it’s not like your baby is going to get a running start and crack his or her head on the inside of the crib rails, will he?  Nope.

A better choice: Have people buy you some gift cards for restaurants that offer take out or that deliver.  That way when the pre-made meals run out, of if you just can’t handle having one more lasagna, you have a way to feed yourself.

3) Sleep positioners

Why you should avoid it: Originally touted as a way to prevent SIDS, the AAP expressly warned against using them in their updated guidelines from 2011.  Though, honestly, since that happened, I don’t see them much on store shelves anymore.  Still, some mom might tell you that you have to have one…but you don’t.

A better choice:  How about asking for gift cards for a grocery store that delivers?  Doesn’t that sound nice? Heck, I would like them even now.

4) Wipes Warmer

Why you should avoid it: Two words: fires and infections.  Wipe warmers have been known to overheat and start on fire.  And even if that extreme scenario doesn’t play out, the warm, wet environment is a hotbed of germs and can lead to infections.

A better choice: Let’s see….in the middle of the night, some Netflix streaming might be really nice.  Throw a gift subscription on your list.

5) A Baby Bjorn (the classic model)

Why you should avoid it: Any baby carrier that places all of baby’s weight on his or her crotch can case bruising, numbness, tingling, and even hip dysplasia.  Think about it…would you want to hang in that position for hours on end? Probably not.

A better choice: Let’s see: a wrap carrier, a ring sling, a mei tai, a soft structured carrier….anything that has your baby sitting in the carrier, not dangling.  Unsure about your options? Well, we have a class to help!

As I was pulling out our old, icky wipe warmer (Yep, I make mistakes, too.  We used that wipe warmer until my 10 day old son ended up in the ER with a UTI.), I found an old white noise machine.  And while I didn’t list it above, you DO want a noise machine.  Trust me.  When that first thunderstorm hits and your baby sleeps through it?  You’ll thank me.

Simplicity is key.  Also, you’ll be glad to eliminate the clutter in your home.

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Car Seat Recycling Event!

Big news!

Do you have old, outdated, unused, or broken car seats sitting around?  You know that they shouldn’t be used any more, but you’re reluctant to throw them away.

Well, we can help.

Flier for drop off event 6-30-13-page-001

Working with the Recycling Association of Minnesota’s ReSeat program, we’re excited to announce that we will be holding a recycling event on June 30th from 10am-2pm.  Bring by your old seats to the BabyLove studio, and we’ll be collecting them so that they can be recycled by the ReSeat program.   ReSeat does charge a $10 fee to cover the cost of disassembling the seat.

Help us spread the word!  Please feel free to print off and share the flier below.

Flier for drop off event 6-30-13

(Also, we would love some help with this event.  Please call, email, or tell us in person if you’re interested in helping staff this event.  We’re not making a profit at all, so any extra hands would be HUGELY appreciated!)

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Buying Baby Items at Garage Sales

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Image credit: Mark Turnauckas via Flickr (used under Creative Commons)

Update 5/15/14: This is from last year, and I’ve already seen more used car seats that I would like to see. Why, people?!??!? 

One other disturbing trend I’ve found out about is that some kids’ consignment sales are claiming that the used car seats that they sell are “certified” to be safe. There is no such legitimate designation. PLEASE don’t think that those seats are a good choice. OK. So read on:

Now that the sun is out, the snow is mostly melted, temps are rising, it’s finally time for garage sale season.  Garage sales are a great way to save money on items for you baby or child, for sure!  There are some things you should keep in mind when out shopping to make sure that you’re saving money, not wasting it.

  • Don’t buy car seats at garage sales- I don’t know what else to say.  It’s pretty straightforward.  This is the ONE absolutely, completely necessary baby item you’ll need, but also the most critical to your child’s life.  Save money on everything else, but not this.
  • Make sure the item you’re buying wasn’t recalled- When you are out and about, it’s impossible to keep in mind all of the strollers, high chairs, and other baby items that have been recalled over the years.  There are a couple of ways to check on the status of an item if you have your smart phone with you.  Recall.gov keeps track of every recall issued.  They have a mobile app that you can download (though it looks like it’s only for Android phones), but they also have a mobile site that you can access easily on the go. Find more info on their website.
  • Be realistic on your ability to properly clean a product- I’ve been a mom for almost 8 years, and some things are just really hard to clean.  If it’s fabric, make sure that you can remove it completely, otherwise you’re just stuck spot-treating any dirt.  And plastic seems like it would be easy to clean, but some things have too many corners to clean. If it’s totally grungy, just pass on it.
  • Avoid drop-side cribs- Drop side cribs have (mostly) been illegal to sell or resell for a little while.  If they have been repaired and the drop side is in a locked, fixed position, then they are fine (because the recall has been fixed). Again, check out the info above to make sure the recall has been repaired.
  • Avoid stains- Is this obvious? Maybe.  I’ve seen so many pins, been told so many things to try on stubborn stains, but the truth is, baby stains are hard to get out.  There will be more onesies. Pass on stained clothes, no matter how cute.
  • Make sure the cloth diapers will work- Before buying used cloth diapers, ask if they used diaper cream, what kind of detergent they used, and, perhaps most importantly, why they stopped using them.  If their baby just grew out of them, that’s fine.  But if they stopped using them because the diapers leaked, you might want to pass.  You can try stripping the diapers, but that’s not guaranteed to work.

Happy spring and enjoy the garage sale hunt!

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

Used car seats: Are they safe?

used car seat

When parents face the arrival of a new baby, the number of things they feel like they need to buy can be overwhelming.  Things like clothes, diapers of some sort, and a safe place to sleep are a must.  Lots of things, like bouncy seats and jumperroos seem necessary, but are actually just extras that are nice to have.  If you can get those “nice things” for free as hand me downs, that’s great.  But what about car seats? Can you use used car seats?  Well, best practice is always to get a new seat.  Typically, newer seats have more safety features, they are usually easier to install, and they are just cleaner, for goodness sake.  But of you REALLY are dead set on using a previously used car seat, you must keep all these things in mind:

  • Can you ABSOLUTELY verify the history of a seat? If your sister is giving you a car seat she used, you would probably know if she was ever in a car crash with that car seat. You would have heard about the car accident when it happened.  However, if you are getting a seat from a friend of a friend? Maybe not.  And buying a seat at ANY garage sale or from a thrift store? Horrible idea. It’s amazing what people will rationalize when it comes to selling used car seats at a garage sale.  Your child is more important than saving a few bucks.
  • Are all the pieces there and in working order?  I have had people bring in previously used seats that are missing buckles, with cracked shells, or broken chest clips.  Sometimes you can order these missing pieces, but let’s get real:  If the seat is broken, it’s not safe.  Simple as that. You’ve worked really hard to heave a healthy baby, so don’t put thriftiness ahead of your child’s safety.  If the seat you have isn’t safe, get a new seat. Period.
  • Does the seat have labels you can read? If you can’t read the model name, number, or manufactured on date, you simply have no idea if the seat is too old to use, nor can you check if the seat had a recall issued.
  • Is the seat too old to use? Most seats have an expiration date 5 or 6 years after the date of manufacture. (A few brands have a 7 or 9 year expiration date.) Always check with the manufacturer, but if it’s expired, the manufacturer had determined that the seat can’t be assured to work in a crash.  Don’t use an expired car seat.  And if the seat will expire before your child will grow out of it, keep in mind, you WILL need to purchase a new seat when that seat expires.
  • Has the seat been recalled? When you get a new seat, you should take the little postcard it comes with, fill it out, and send it in. If it’s someone else’s seat, you will want to go online and check to make sure there wasn’t a recall issued since the seat was purchased.
  • Lost Manual? Check online. Car seat manuals are easy to lose.  Whenever there is a question on how and where to use a seat, a tech’s answer is to always check the manual. We can’t do that if it’s not there. So go find the manufacturer’s website and print out a new one…and don’t lose it.

If you do end up with a damaged or expired car seat, you have two options. You can destroy the seat and dispose of it in your normal garbage (as you see in the photo above).  You can also go to a recycling facility that will accept car seats. There may be a fee for this, though.

Lately, I’ve had some push back from parents and pediatricians when it comes to the subject of using used, unsafe seats.  I hear that “a used seat is better than no seat”….but no. There are plenty of resources for families who TRULY can’t afford a new seat.  We are happy to help families figure out their options, and can even be a resource for care providers who don’t know what options families have. If you have a used seat (or a new seat) and want to make sure it’s being installed and used correctly, schedule your individual car seat check with us today.  It’s worth every penny!

Warmly,

Veronica

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.