…because I think I’m about to lose my head. How many times have you said this to yourself from the front seat as your baby screams bloody murder behind you in their car seat?
Trust me, I know the feeling. It’s a cross between extreme sadness from hearing the wails, and a stabby frustration that there’s nothing you can do about it. Half of me wanted to beg and plea for his mercy for having strapped him into such an obvious torture device, and the other half of me wanted to scream, “FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST SLEEP IN THE CAR LIKE EVERY OTHER BABY ON THIS GODFORSAKEN PLANET?????”. Instead I just white knuckled it every drive and blasted my music while taking deep breaths.
I’m not sure why some babies hate the car. It seemed to me that everyone I knew had babies that slept like angels as soon as the car started moving. Heck, if their kids wouldn’t go to bed, the solution was to pop them in the car and go for a drive. Then there was Liam, who transformed into a diaper wearing, spit up wielding Gremlin who would gladly claw your eyes out if given the chance and had a scream with a pitch that could summon the gods to an otherworldly war.
My first born.
I’m fairly certain I have 20 years worth of hearing loss that occurred in one trip to Target. Nothing I did helped. Nothing. He literally screamed every car trip from the time he “woke up” from his newborn slumber at around 3 weeks till he was about 18 months old. He did have reflux, so that probably contributed. But mostly I think it’s that he hates any form of physical restraint on his body. I’ve never understood people’s insistence on having an infant seat that attaches to a stroller because I’ve never experienced a moment where I wasn’t scrambling to unbuckle them out of their car seat! Even sweet, easy going Declan would never ever be content in a car seat that wasn’t in the car. He wasn’t a car screamer-thank god- but there was no way on this green earth that he was going to lay in his infant seat while we strolled through the store. As soon as the car engine turned off he would fuss until he was unbuckled and freed.
Hi, I’m the easier second child but I will still make your shopping trip one you will never forget if you don’t get me out of this thing as soon as you cut the engine.
It was truly crippling, life with my car screamer. I plotted my days to exist solely in a 5 mile radius of my house because I couldn’t take anything longer. I declined invitations to family gatherings, birthday parties, etc that were too far. It wasn’t because I thought it was damaging to him; it was because it was damaging to ME. I have an extremely low tolerance for noise and that combined with the traffic in Phoenix just made it impossible for me.
So what can you do? Well I’m convinced nothing will stop it. But word on the streets from people who don’t have a Gremlin for a child is that there are some things you can try.
If you know me, you know one of my peeves is when people try to swing my kids around by their arms or lift them up by their hands. I’m always the bad guy to ruin the fun for all. But here’s why:
Kids, especially the under 5 set, are pretty much just running around connected by rubber bands. It sounds crude to say, but it’s true. The ligaments holding their joints together are still fresh, and aren’t as strong as they will be later in childhood. One of the most common minor injuries of childhood is known as the “nursemaid elbow”. It occurs when a child is pulled hard by the arm, falls on it wrong, or is picked up or swung by their arms/hands. The weight is too much for the immature ligaments to handle, and the joint of the elbow partially or completely dislocates. It’s pretty painful for the child, and you’ll know right away if it happens. Kids will cry and refuse to use their arm.
It’s pretty scary but fortunately it’s benign and a simple fix. Your pediatrician or the doctor at urgent care or the emergency room can quickly pop it back into place by doing a maneuver known as a reduction. It hurts for a split second but there’s immediate relief. The downside is if this happens to your child once, the odds of it happening again are pretty high, so you may be making multiple trips before your child’s ligaments firm up a bit after the age of 5 or 6.
I swear sometimes my 2 year old does look like this.
You can prevent this from happening altogether by always leading your child gently by the arm (I know this is hard when you’re holding their hand and they are doing spaghetti legs and flailing around!), only lifting them by their armpits, and avoiding rough play that involves swinging them around by their hands or wrists. Sometimes it just happens regardless, but following those basic tips greatly reduces the chances that your toddler will have to go through the pain.
But if it does happen, don’t fret. It’s very common and sometimes it’s just another bump in the roller coaster of childhood.
Review of the Clek Fabric Cleaning + Stain Remover Kit
I’ve had some cool carseat assignments before, but this has to have been the best carseat job I’ve ever scored. I mean, how many people get to intentionally try to soil a carseat? I know it’s in the job description for most kids, but probably not for most adults, so I was pretty giddy. At first I did have second thoughts: my kids’ carseats were always the cleanest in the neighborhood and I once gave a ride home to another CPS tech who accused me of not really having kids because my van was so spotless. But Clek did ask if I would try out their Crypton for Clek Fabric Cleaning + Stain Remover Kit and how could I say no?
I assembled my tools:
Fllo dressed in Shadow Crypton fabric — check
ketchup — check
mustard — check
goldfish — check
grape jelly — check
jello — check
vomit — er, uncheck, ’cause, ew
lipstick — check
sunscreen — check
crayon — check
ice cream — check
Clek Cleaning Kit — check
I set up my testing laboratory and went to work. I used the seat pad and sides where little hands grab because when kids eat, it either drops down or gets rubbed on the arms by dirty hands. I was a little afraid to hurt Fllo at the beginning, but like all pros, once I got started, all hesitance was thrown out the window and I laughed like a mad scientist. I crushed goldfish in a bowl and added water to create a thick paste that any toddler would recognize, I scribbled on the seat pad with the crayon then scribbled some more, and I rubbed sunscreen into the fabric as if it were my thighs rubbing the cream into the fabric. And then I let it sit and congeal and harden.
I made a video to show you how the cleaning kit worked in action. You really should watch it. I think I say “gross” somewhere in there. It’s a new classic, but so is the Clek Fabric Cleaning + Stain Remover Kit.
The goldfish and mustard left particles behind, even after I went over them with a second cleaning. I think if I worked on them some more, I could get them completely clean. I’m pleased to report that the spots where I used the solutions smell like the cleaning solution as opposed to the stains—no more sunscreen smell (or worse!). The solutions should NOT be used on the harness, but the brush can be used in a gentle manner with a mild soap and water to get the ground in grungies.
Eco-friendly, no nasty chemicals
Very pleasant fragrance—barely noticeable
Easy to use
Works on fabrics washed with water
Wish it had a sprayer for each bottle
If you own a Clek seat, you probably should own the Clek Fabric Cleaning + Stain Remover Kit. Granted, the Crypton fabric is wipe-down friendly, but seats tend to get grimy over time and if you’re not the type to keep up with that wipe-down maintenance, a cleaner will come in handy for you (and it cleans the Drift fabric too). I had to search for a disadvantage, truly. And, it can be a wee bit confusing to determine which bottle to use as there is some overlap in what they clean; but, that works in your favor since you know one or the other will clean your stain. The price, $29.99, can be daunting but you don’t use much as you clean. Even the mustard and sunscreen, which proved to be my most stubborn stains, required very little of the solution. Like most things Clek, if you factor the price over time used, it’s well worth the money.
The Clek Fabric Cleaning + Stain Remover Kit is also available on Clek’s website.
Thank you to Clek for providing the Clek Fabric Cleaning + Stain Remover Kit to CarseatBlog.com. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.
We thought it would be great to bring this awesome kit to you to try, so be sure to sign up for our giveaway! We have one (1) available for the US and one (1) available for Canada. I know! How awesome is Clek?!
Giveaway: GIVEAWAY CLOSED
To enter, you MUST reply to this blog and leave a comment below (only 1 entry per household).
For extra entries, be sure follow the Rafflecopter instructions to visit our Facebook page, visit the Clek Facebook page, and tweet about the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms) – Winner must have a U.S. shipping address to claim the prize. Only one prize will be awarded. You are not eligible if you have won a carseat or any sponsored giveaway at CarseatBlog.com during 2014 or 2015 (our own giveaways of goody bags and such don’t count if no sponsor was mentioned). Blog writers and editors are also not eligible. 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 October 9, 2015, 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! Winner must have a U.S. shipping address. Hawaii and Alaska are also included (though may incur extra shipping fees).a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms) – Winner must have Canadian shipping address to claim the prize. Only one prize will be awarded. You are not eligible if you have won a carseat or any sponsored giveaway at CarseatBlog.com during 2014 or 2015 (our own giveaways of goody bags and such don’t count if no sponsor was mentioned). Blog writers and editors are also not eligible. 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 October 9, 2015, 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!
I want the Best and Safest Carseat for my child. Before my first child was born, I tried to find information on what the best infant carseat was at the time; this was before Google, so not an easy feat. Then when he outgrew his infant seat, I wanted the best convertible seat for him, which led me on a multi-month search and ultimately to my becoming a child passenger safety technician instructor. We all want the very best for our progeny—it’s human nature. So how do we determine what the best carseat is?
If you’ve been around any carseat forums, you may have heard this timeworn phrase: the best carseat is the one that fits your vehicle, fits your child, and fits your budget. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Yet when we get to the store, or look online, we often throw caution to the wind and base our purchase on the appearance of the carseat. “Oh, I love the butterflies on this one,” or, “The red color of this carseat is so nice!” Or even, yes, “This one matches the baby’s nursery.”
Let’s examine each part of the phrase in detail.
Fits Your Vehicle
The carseat should fit in your vehicle moving less than 1” when you tug at the belt path. It will move more if you tug on it further away from the belt path because the only place securing it to the vehicle is at the belt path. If you’re buying a convertible carseat that rear-faces and forward-faces, you want it to fit both rear-facing and forward-facing. You cannot assume that just because it fits rear-facing, it will fit forward-facing too. Install it both ways before you buy it or keep the box and receipt so you can return it if it doesn’t fit when you get it home.
Fits Your Child
Your child *must* fit within the size and age (if any) requirements of the seat before being able to use it. For example, most rear-facing only infant seats require infants’ shoulders to be at or above the bottom slots. If your baby’s shoulders are below those bottom slots, she’s too small to use the seat. Another example is the Britax Frontier 90 combination carseat. Your child must be 25 lbs. AND at least age 2 to use this seat per the instruction manual.
Children also have preferences for carseats. Some kids don’t mind sparsely padded carseats, while others demand luxurious padding. Some children don’t tolerate certain fabrics or need harness shoulder pads. Trying your child out in the carseat in the store helps you determine which seat they may like.
Fits Your Budget
This is the “kind of goes without saying” part of the phrase. There are so many great carseats in so many different prices ranges now that with *any* budget, you can find a carseat to fit your requirements. Back when my son was born, if we wanted a carseat with EPS foam, we had two choices and both were over $150 (one was close to $300, if my poor memory serves me correctly). Parents back then really did go into debt to buy carseats. Now most carseats have some sort of energy management foam or system and you don’t have to promise that firstborn to a cult to get it.
Use It Correctly Each and Every Ride
I’m adding in my own extra ending here. What’s the point of having a carseat that installs well in your car, fits your child well, and didn’t put you into debt if you don’t use it correctly every time? We techs all have seen the most expensive Clek and Britax seats with loose installations and loose harnesses that won’t do a darn thing in a crash for the kids riding in them. If you can’t use that carseat correctly each time, was it really a good deal? Nope.