When my wife was entering her third trimester, lines of parenting responsibilities were starting to be drawn. On my list, was everything regarding the car seat. Most importantly, installing the car seat correctly. In speaking with other dads, it sounds like the car seat responsibility usually falls on them. Our son was born a month early & as you may have guessed, the car seat was still in the box as we rushed to the hospital.
At that point, I had two days to install the base of the car seat before we took our son home for the first time. Instead of finding the time to read the manual or figure it out on my own, I relied on my skill set of networking – called a friend to do it for me. Fast forward almost two years, and I was still networking with friends to install the car seat for me on certain occasions. The truth about my poor car seat knowledge was revealed when my wife & I traveled to Florida recently, and rented a car with a car seat. Based on insurance liability, car rental facilities are NOT able to assist you with the car seat installation. Consequently, I was sitting in the car rental place with the car seat in my hands raising the white flag.
Time to MAN UP & take ownership of the car seat installation process! Still not patient enough to read the manual, it was time to enlist professional help. The Car Seat Lady came to the rescue. You might laugh and say things like “only in New York City would someone pay” to have a professional and certified car seat expert/consultant come directly to your door-step to assist you. Laugh all you want because I was taught by a master and now have the confidence and feeling of empowerment to install our car seat. Additionally, I got the 101 lesson on car seat safety. Alisa, my instructor, was patient, knowledgeable, and stronger than me (not saying much there).
A few facts regarding car seats:
- “Even if you are positive you installed it properly – it is still best to get it checked since we find that only about 1 in 100 seats are used properly.” -The Car Seat Lady
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the risk of serious injury was 78% lower for children in forward-facing car seats than in seat belts.
- Chrysler sponsors a free Website, SeatCheck.org , that lets you punch in your Zip code to find the closest child safety seat inspection service (ones that are free & ones that charge). Or call toll-free at 1-866-SEAT-CHECK.
- “the Center of the back seat is the safest place for a car seat to be installed because it avoids a direct hit in the case of a collision” – The Car Seat Lady
- “Rear-facing & Your toddler – Turning a baby forward-facing at 1 year is so 1990’s – new evidence suggests keeping kids rear-facing as long as possible” – the Car Seat LadyHow much does it cost?
Basically, $60 for you to visit one of their locations – West Village or Upper West Side. A fee of $100 if they consult on your turf (for a housecall).
What do you get for your money?
Each class lasts approximately one hour (mine lasted almost 90 minutes and there was no rush on their end – ok, I am a bit slow) and is a private, one-on-one lesson with your vehicle/s and the car seat/s. Here’s what happens at the lesson:
1. They will teach you how to install the car seat properly in your vehicle – and you will leave with the seat properly installed AND the knowledge of how to install it should it come out. Their goal is to empower you! They will answer all of your questions until you feel completely comfortable.
2. They will teach you how to secure the child properly in the harness straps – if you are pregnant they will use a newborn size doll to practice.
3. If you are using an infant carrier, they will show you how to secure the carrier without the base for times when you are traveling in other vehicles, like taxis or rental cars.
So dads, if you decide to give into your ego a bit & ask for directions, maybe The Car Seat Lady will help you too! Lastly, one of the most controversial discussions I have with parents in the city is regarding taking your children in a Taxi. Here are The Car Seat Lady’s tips for traveling safely in Taxis.