Bedtime – science or sanity saver?

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Ah, summer time.  For most school age kids, it’s a break from the hectic up-at-dawn mornings hurriedly getting ready for school. It also means more lax bedtimes, and if you are certifiably insane and willing to give up your evening quiet time (which I am not, can you tell?) it means your kids are up late. That’s great if they sleep in, but most do not. So how much sleep do kids really need? And how important is it to maintain a sleep schedule?

The answer to both is a lot, and very.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, kids ages 1-3 need 12-14 hours, ages  3-5 need 11-13 hours, and ages 5-10 need 10-11 hours. Kids desperately need these hours for both physical and mental development. Kids who don’t get enough sleep can have mood swings, behavioral problems, cognitive problems, and physical symptoms such as headaches. You know how awful, forgetful, and physically ill you feel when your newborn hasn’t let you sleep in weeks? That’s how your kids feel. Although instead of being a coffee guzzling zombie like you, they ramp up in activity and also in bad attitudes and behavior. Sadly, the NSF says about 30% of kids fall in this category of less sleep than what is recommended.

PubMed has a study published by the Japanese Society of Child Neurology that shows the long term effects of having an early bedtime. A large group (over 40,000) children were followed over a lengthy period of time and it was found that children that had an early and predictable bedtime at the age of two were much less likely to have attention and behavioral issues at age 8. There are literally hundreds of studies showing the positive effects of consistent and early bedtimes on children’s health, and I could type them out for days.

So even though you may not need to be up and at ‘em first thing in the morning, try to maintain your child’s sleep routine throughout the summer. Vacations and other adventures are always going to throw a loop into your routine, but for the most part try to keep it within the norm. The recommended bedtime for elementary aged kids and younger surprisingly isn’t when-they-collapse-on-the-floor-o’clock. It’s between 7-8pm. My kids are in bed between 7 and 7:30. Yes, it’s still light out in the summer. Black out curtains work wonders! They are healthy and well rested, and I get a few peaceful hours to myself in the evenings after being tortured playing with them all day. Everyone wins.

sleepmeme

Try to have the same routine every evening. Rooms should be nice and dark, nice and cool, and kids shouldn’t have TVs in their rooms (so basically nice and boring). Turn off electronics an hour before bedtime. Try to avoid school and sports functions that last up till bedtime.

So yeah, I get a lot of flack for peacing out early from social functions and whatnot because my kids have to go to bed. Whatever though, it’s science ya’ll. Science and sanity. My two favorite things.

sleepmoo

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August and September 2016 Carseat Deals, Stroller Sales & Coupon Codes

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We find the lowest prices on carseats, strollers and other baby gear in August/September, 2016. Bookmark us and check back frequently for the latest bargains and promo code offers!

Deals Collage Graphic - Spring Summer 2016 - final

Update 8/29/16: We’re the experts on car seats and deals, so we know where to find the best discounts on the products that parents actually want to buy! This list will be updated anytime we see a great deal or promotion code below recent average prices, so you don’t have to wade through dozens of normally priced models to find the bargains.  You can help us (and your fellow shoppers) by leaving us a comment if you find a deal on a carseat, booster or popular stroller that isn’t posted yet.  We recommend that you bookmark this post, as we will make full updates at least a few times per week in 2016!  If we see a bargain deal price on a popular model from our Recommended Carseats List, like the Britax Pinnacle, Britax Advocate ClickTight, Chicco NextFit Zip Air, Graco Milestone, Diono Rainier, Diono Radian, Maxi-Cosi Pria, Clek Foonf or Clek Fllo, we’ll update as soon as possible!

What you need to know about Amazon pricing: it’s FICKLE. When a product’s price is reduced we rarely know how long it will remain at that price. Sometimes it’s a few days, sometimes it’s a few hours. The best advice we can offer you is to ACT QUICKLY if you see a great deal on something you really need or just seriously want. Just adding something to your cart does not guarantee you that item at that price – you must complete the checkout process to seal the deal. Most items on our list offer FREE SHIPPING & FREE RETURNS to Prime members but always double check this before you put the item in your cart and checkout. Not a Prime member? There’s a 30-day FREE trial. It’s a no-brainer! Try it out and score some great deals. You can always cancel before the 30 days is up if you’re not sold on the many benefits of an Amazon Prime membership.

Looking for more info on a certain carseat or booster? Check out out REVIEWS page. We have in-depth reviews of over 100 carseats and boosters.

Prefer to shop at other stores?  If you received great advice from us or discovered a good deal here and then share it with friends, please mention us and also share our links to AmazonAlbee Baby, Diapers.comTarget.com, Walmart.com, Kohl’s, BuyBuyBaby and BabiesRUs.

Select Editors’ Picks:

These carseats may not be great deals right now, but are among our Editor’s Picks and are reader favorites, too.  For our current deals, please scroll to the next section.

NEW – Indicates a new deal or lowered price within the last 7 days
** – Indicates a CarseatBlog.com Recommended Carseat

Chicco KeyFit30 Fuego  Graco SR40 - Fern

Infant Carseat Deals:

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Giveaway – The Blogiversary Celebration Continues!

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Chicco NextFit Zip - GenesisIt’s our 8th “Blogiversary” but this celebration isn’t about us – it’s about you! We are thankful to have so many awesome readers and followers who all care deeply about keeping kids safe. We want to reward you for supporting us throughout these past 8 years and we know the best reward is another awesome giveaway promotion!

This week the celebration continues with a NextFit Zip Convertible in the brand new Genesis fashion, courtesy of our generous sponsor, Chicco!

This promotion is now closed. Thank you for participating – a winner will be announced soon!

Chicco NextFit Zip Specs:

  • Rear-facing 5-40 lbs.
  • Forward-facing 22-65 lbs.; up to 49″ tall

Chicco NextFit Zip - zipper Chicco NextFit - stock with baby

NextFit Zip Features:

  • ReclineSure® 9-position Leveling System adjusts for an accurate fit to most vehicles
  • Two RideRight® bubble levels indicate correct positioning in both rear- and forward-facing modes
  • SuperCinch® Latch Tightener with force-multiplying technology achieves a tight, secure fit
  • Zip & Wash seat pad easily zips out from shell
  • ComfortFlex® harness management with padded, flex-out design keeps both sides of harness waistbelt up and out of the way for easy in/out!
  • 6 Position height-adjustable headrest for growing children
  • Two-position chest clip accommodates growing children in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes
  • One-pull harness tightener for quick and secure fit
  • Integrated slide path makes it easy to re-position the Latch strap when switching from rear to foward facing
  • Infant insert provides added support for smaller babies
  • Thermal-insulated cup holder for either side of seat
  • Secure and convenient vehicle belt lock-off

How to Enter NextFit Zip Giveaway – USA

  • Leave us a comment below (required to be eligible to win), then click on Rafflecopter to qualify yourself.
  • For extra entries, be sure follow the Rafflecopter instructions to visit our Facebook page, visit the Chicco USA Facebook page and tweet about the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print – winner must have a USA shipping address to claim the prize. Only one prize will be awarded. Only one entry per household/family, please. If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count. We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above. We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules for any reason. The contest will close on August 28, 2016, and one random winner will be chosen shortly thereafter. If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize within 7 days, a new winner will be selected. Good luck!

 

Mythbusters: Can Infant Car Seats “Click” Into Shopping Carts?

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Anyone who has had a baby in an infant car seat has faced the grocery store dilemma- what to do with baby while you’re shopping? Especially a sleeping baby. And I know we’ve all seen what seems like the easiest answer- putting the infant seat, with baby, into the top part of the grocery basket.

There are signs posted on the infant seat and virtually every car seat manual says that you shouldn’t do this, but, is it really as unsafe as the signs lead us to believe? Is there a reason we can’t make use of this incredibly useful position for baby? Let’s find out.

MYTH: Infant car seats can safely “click” into the tops of shopping carts if you hear an audible “click.”

First, I would like to clarify that yes, there once was a seat that specified in the manual that you could do this (the Baby Trend Flex-Loc), however, the current manual does not allow it. So let’s set aside that seat/manual for the remainder of this discussion because it’s no longer true of that model of car seat.

As CPSTs, we counsel parents on this one quite a bit, mostly because nearly every infant seat manual specifically states not to put the car seat on top of the shopping cart. But do we know that it’s actually dangerous? The answer is sort of.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has put forth a document describing the injuries to children related to grocery charts from birth to age of 5. Within that report, they state that

“Of the 12 incidents reported as falls, three involved a car seat with the child in it falling from the shopping cart; of these three incidents, one was a fatality and one involved a hospitalization. The fatality occurred when a 3-month-old boy fell while secured in a car seat that was not secured to the shopping cart after the cart was pushed over a speed bump in the parking lot.”

More on that terrible tragedy in a moment. It further states that,

“There were nine incidents coded as “other,” covering a range of hazards. Five of the reports concerned failures or inadequacies of the restraints in the shopping cart seat (including one involving a car seat); none resulted in injuries.”

So, it’s clear that a car seat improperly placed on a grocery cart can cause injury to an infant. Upon further searching, the single death cited by the CPSC did involve an infant seat in the top of the grocery cart. In a news report on the child’s death they report that the seat was placed in the part of the car closest to the push bar, where a toddler might sit, which is precisely the myth we are discussing.

Just in terms of design, a cart can be very top heavy if not properly balanced. Anyone who has tried to stand on the bottom basket while pushing has felt that tipping motion and you can imagine if you have a 20 pound child in a 12 pound car seat, it wouldn’t take much for the cart to tip and the child to be injured. But I think there’s another piece to consider.

Your rear facing only car seat is made to click into one style base. You cannot put a Graco infant seat in a Chicco base because the locking mechanisms are not interchangeable. And the same is true for an infant seat and a grocery cart. You may hear an audible “click” but that does not mean that the seat is actually locked in because you have no way of knowing if the shape of the grocery cart is similar to the shape of your infant seat base. The part of this is that because the shape of a grocery cart won’t be the same as the shape of your base, trying to click it onto the cart might actually ruin the locking mechanism of your car seat. And you wouldn’t necessarily be able to see that or know that it wasn’t working until it was stressed by a crash.

Yet another hazard is a potentially broken shopping cart. The carts are used by dozens of people each day and they will break down over time. How terrifying would it be if this was your car seat with your child in it?

And last but not least, car seats are not meant to be used for long durations outside of the car. I know it’s convenient, believe me, I’m guilty of using my car seat for a few more errands than I should, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Car seats are meant to be at a very specific angle and if they are too upright, as they often are in strollers and grocery carts (especially when in the top of the cart) baby may not be able to breathe properly. And, obviously less seriously, excessive use of infant car seats can result in flattening of the back of baby’s head (brachycephaly), which may require use of a head orthosis to correct later on.

VERDICT: Between every manual and grocery cart forbidding it, the CPSC report and the potential to break your car seat, I think we can call this one BUSTED. Even if your car seat seems to “click” into the cart, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to be left there.

If you need to take your baby grocery shopping, you have a few safer options than the top of the cart. You can wear baby in a carrier or sling, you can bring baby in a regular stroller and use the stroller basket as your cart (this is what we do the most), or if you really need to use your infant car seat, you can place it in the big part of the grocery cart and put the rest of the groceries elsewhere. But the best option in my opinion is to get someone to babysit so you can stroll the aisles, childfree, as if you’re on vacation. Not that I do that or anything!

Please please please, don’t put your infant car seat in the top of a grocery cart. It may seem secure, but it only takes a split second for your infant to become a statistic.