Question For Parents: Infant Car Seats, Do or Don’t

I know this is a much different topic than usual, but a friend of mine is having twins in a few weeks and she had asked me if I knew of a place to get affordable car seats, I said I didn’t right off the top of my head but would look around and get back to her. I asked what her budget was ($125 or less) and in one quick google search I found several nice, convertible car seats between $39 – 70 and I send her the links. She then informs me that the hospital requires you buy infant car seats in order to leave with the babies.So I’m just sitting there wondering how the fuck a hospital can tell you you’re not allowed to take your children home if you don’t buy an expensive infant car seat, that will need to be replaced anywhere from 2 – 1o months. It is true that some convertible car seats don’t have much, if any, head support for a newborn but they’re rear and front facing and there’s a simply and affordable solution to that support problem, buy a body support insert or make one if you have the sewing skills.

This “requirement” brought up some other questions as well, for example, what if the parent(s) don’t even have a car and they’ll be walking home or taking a bus?
Does the hospital insist they buy an infant car seat too, or would a sling be sufficient?Will the hospital allow them to go home on a bus or will they tell them they must rent a car/pay for a taxi? What if the family simply cannot afford to replace a car seat in less than a year?

I don’t have children yet, not sure I ever will, but even I realize that having even one baby is extremely expensive, even if you don’t buy all the unnecessary crap that’s marketed to new parents, so I don’t understand why anyone would buy infant cars seats when there is a more affordable and practical long-term option available.
From my childless standpoint this just seems like some bullshit.

I’d like to know what some parents think about all this, but keep in mind I’m talking about average size newborns between 5.5 – 10 lbs and about 20″ long.
Is this something you were required to do? Did you comply with their demand?
Do you think it’s okay for hospitals to have requirements that would force parents to spend more money than needed? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “Question For Parents: Infant Car Seats, Do or Don’t

  1. It can vary by the state. I do believe we had used infant car seat for our first child and a convertible for the other. Both lived. I do not know if any nurses are also car seat technicians or not nor how they check or enforce these.

    She needs to just check with state police and ask if any laws dictating what kind of car seats must be used.

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  2. Absolutely a car seat, if your child will be riding in a car! Rear facing, and strong, and buckled in properly. You have seat belts and airbags to protect you in a crash, but those can do nothing but injure a newborn.

    A rolled-up baby blanket snuggled on each side of their head at the top makes a fine head support until they have enough neck control that they don’t need it anymore.

    The infant carseats have other uses, too. My daughters often napped in them as a travel bed, and they can make an improvised highchair once they are on solid food. (Just drape a towel over it.) When you are out and about with it, you have a soft safe place to put your baby down, and the one I had was curved on the bottom so we could rock it like a cradle. I’ve seen models with slots on the underside that can perch safely on a shopping cart. Our infant carseat was one of the most useful items we had for the first months.

    Now they say not to get an old one, but if you can get a very recent model from a family whose baby just outgrew theirs, that might save some money. Try Freecycle, it’s a good source for tons of free baby equipment. Or often the health department or local government agencies can help with the cost if you can’t afford one.

    The only thing I don’t know is whether you need one on a bus, I guess that depends on state law.

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  3. Hey there, I’m not a parent, but I am aware that most states require some form of car seat for small kids. Here is a link to an old California Department of Public Health and Safety list of places where you might be able to get a free or reduced cost infant car seat. I don’t know if any of it is still valid, but since it’s a government program, it might still be around. Some of the places also have classes that teach people how to properly install them.

    I hope this helps!

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