Car SeatsUnless you're a committed pedestrian / non-driver, this is (of course) an absolute MUST HAVE. In fact, hospitals here in the US won't let you take your baby home at all without one. This category is split into infant car seats, convertible car seats, and booster car seats. You do not need all of these right now!
With these last 2 children, I've received hand-me-down infant car seats (with the big handle to carry them) from trusted friends. I almost don't like these, but they sure are a lot easier than trying to bundle a newborn up in the cold! I just don't like when these become a place to keep the baby. If I'm just purchasing for myself, I totally go with a convertible car seat because it is the most versatile for your dollar. Booster car seats, on the other hand, aren't even to be used until your child is 4 years old. You have some time! Who wants to store a seat for that long? Plus there could be changes in safety regulations in that much time!
One more thing about hand-me-down car seats: Call the manufacturer! The seat I received didn't have a manual with it. I contacted the manufacturer to get one and found out there had been a recall on the seat! They sent me a free repair kit to replace a couple of bolts and all was well. I would have had NO idea about the recall if I hadn't called for the manual.
Car Seat CushioningThese could all be considered luxury items in my book. Spencer needed head support when he came home, but the nurse just suggested rolling up a couple receiving blankets until his neck is stronger. Full body support might be necessary if you have a preemie, but how will you know? I wouldn't register for or purchase this one unless you're having twins or are otherwise certain you'll be birthing a very small baby.
I had never seen neck wings until I went through this list. They're the same thing as the strap covers, but maybe a bit thicker. They support baby's head from being wrapped around the straps. I'm not sure what to think about these, but they don't seem as safe, somehow. I do like to have the strap covers for my babies, but still consider them luxury items. You could always wrap a washcloth or receiving blanket around the straps to keep them from cutting into your baby's skin. (You can see a set of strap covers in the photo above.)
Car Seat AccessoriesI suspect most of these things fall into the "luxury" category, but the word accessory kind of does that for me. Lets see what accessories you "must have:"
- Additional infant car seat base - if you have a caregiver that will be transporting your baby or if you have 2 cars, I could see this being a necessity. We only have 1 vehicle and no one takes our children anywhere without us. This isn't even a luxury for us, we simply don't need it at all. Your situation may differ.
- Weather protection boot - I am seriously clueless as to what this even IS. I was thinking it might be the covers you can get to sip your baby inside the carrier style car seat. When I click on this category, I am taken to car seat accessories. Even a search for this term on their site results in... nothing. one of those weather covers would be nice, but we have warm blankets. I totally see this one as a luxury, if I am even identifying it properly!
- Baby sunshade - Well, these are nice, I suppose. I've used them myself. A lot of them won't fit the curve of your car window. Also, Spencer was slightly jaundiced when we brought him home so a little sunshine was good for him. Unless you're going to be doing some long distance driving, I wouldn't sweat this one. I don't own one.
- Baby mirror - I really thought I had to have one of these with Sasha. So I got one. And she insisted on having it. Most of our usage of this product was actually entertaining Sasha. This time around, we're saving ourselves the expense. Other toys are fine. If you're a first time parent, you'll probably want this more and see it more as a necessity.
- Car seat cup holder - Seriously? Well a lot of car seats include these. Sasha's seat has one that snaps onto it (see above) and it is a cheap car seat. Booster seats usually include little slide out cup holders. And either way, how soon is your baby going to need a cup? We don't actually let Sasha have a cup while we're traveling. We just keep a drink in the front seat and hand it to her when she wants it.
- Car seat toys - These are as necessary as any toy. But that is just it, any toy can be considered a car seat toy. Unless you get a carrier style seat, you aren't going to be attaching toys to the seat. We keep books and toys on a rotation in the truck so that Sasha doesn't get too bored with them. She is 2yo, though. I haven't unpacked any toys for Spencer yet. Newborns don't need toys, they just need interaction with you.
- Car seat undermat - If you have a brand-spanking-new vehicle, this might be a necessity for you. We drive a used pickup truck, so it is just not. We were amused when we rearranged car seats. There are lots of crumbs and junk where Sasha's seat used to be.
That gets us through some of the "Baby Gear" that you "Must Have." We still have yet to cover strollers, entertainers, high chairs and the like. Tune in next week! What items do you feel you must have in the car?
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