The science of parenting

The issue with car seats not being reusable after a certain number of years actually makes sense. Plastic isn’t permanent. It degrades over time. It may look perfectly solid, but not hold up the same way as a new seat in an actual accident. And, yes, there is probably a longer lifetime built into the car seat than what is defined as its “useful life” because that’s how engineering and regulations work. But this isn’t just something made up by the carseat industry to sell more product. Given the choice between a friend’s 10 year old car seat and buying a new one, we bought a new one. (Although we are using the old one as part of a cheap stroller set up, because the impact forces/plastic degradation issues there are unlikely to matter.) Also: Check your insurance … a lot of car insurance companies won’t cover accident claims if you were using an expired carseat. That’s a damn good reason to not recycle those.


But mostly just don’t drop them. That’s a big one.

And, hell, you’ve even got some leeway with that. My husband’s uncle, a doctor, says you really only need to worry if they fall from a height greater than three feet.


Yeah, I should modify that statement to say “don’t drop them very often.” Because one will eventually fall on the floor during your watch. And you will feel horrible. It’s probably when they start moving and you didn’t get as much sleep as you wanted the night before and a host of other reasons, but just try not to drop them very often.


It would be a sorry state of affairs if we hadn’t evolved to survive a fall from the average height of a baby being held by an adult :slight_smile: I tripped over mine once while she was still crawling, and tipped a whole cup of black coffee on her. I’d just the day before seen an article on ‘what to do if you burn your baby’, so I immediately picked her up & ran her under the cold tap. oooo, she was an angry baba after that…

(p.s. she’s not dead or anything)


I got bloody meat juice all over mine on Sunday night when I tried to eat a medium burger with her on my lap. She’s fine. Her sweater might have some issues, though.

Best. Postscript. Ever.


Each kid is different.

First kid essentials: car seat, babycarrierbackpackthingy, BOUNCY SEAT. Cosleeper was nice, but not really essential (you can always put the crib beside the bed, really). STROLLER. At the time we lived in a ‘walkable’ neighbourhood, and the stroller did triple duty - baby/toddler containment & transport, grocery cart, nap induction device. Stoller must be actually utile - meaning narrow enough for store aisles, has a storage thing down below, a place for baby snacks etc, easy to steer.

Second kid: bouncy thing made him cry. Hated backpackcarrierthingy. Stroller still good. Didn’t bother with the cosleeper.

In sum, every kid is different, and parent’s needs are a factor too. Our first kid thought nothing of bolting away in any random direction at random times, so the stroller kept him alive (a much better alternative to a leash). The second kid clings tight and it was never really an issue.

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You Americans and your bloody meat juice E. Coli burgers.

One of my friends is a pediatric psychiatrist. I give her full credit: when her second child was born, she freely admitted that she thought her perfect first child was due to their excellent parenting skills. Child number two quickly disabused them of that notion.

Kids are uniquely themselves, right from the start.


Pretty sure that is wasn’t blood but rather myoglobin. Happy to be informed otherwise though.

For more anecdata, my parents also followed the “Fuck it” method for eating and ended up with a trio of food-allergy-free foodies.

Even before looking at the explicit studies on early exposure, one of the basic facts of immunology is that frequent exposure if how the body learns to identify self vs. foreign, and safe vs. dangerous.

I’m curious, what is the actual relevant law here? In both the US and Canada? Seriously, what would they do if you just said “This is my baby, not yours. If I’d given birth at home you’d never know what car seat I’m using. I’m leaving now. You should not stand behind the car.”?

In New York City the police would write you a ticket.

Interestingly enough, in New York City a car seat is not required in a taxi.

I think that’s true in Nevada as well?

Each child is unique and what works for one does not work for the next, even if they are related. You have to parent like you are a scientist sometimes, I found that out with my oldest since he was clueless about his own needs and could not communicate with his cries what he needed. His younger sibs had differentiated cries for different needs, and this was revolutionary - before I had to be systemic to a fault. One parenting instructor I had talked about parenting being a dance that you do with your child, sometimes you lead and sometimes they lead but it is done together.

So use educated guesses tempered with a systematic awareness of what works and an understanding of what your goals are (living, whole adult that is healthy) to guide you. And above all else remember kids and humans are pretty resilient.


This appears to be an ideal location to place this for enjoyment by anyone on this thread.


I’m not so sure about that. It’s effectively what we did at St Luke’s Roosevelt, twice. We took the subway home though, not a car.

Same in Illinois.

If you had tried to get into a private car they would have stopped you. I had a friend whose job that was at Columbia.

Maybe, but it’s not like they followed us out to check.