Saturday, August 04, 2012

Victory. Or, getting a car seat installed on a Sunday afternoon

Last Sunday, we were happily informed by a Babies R Us email that the car seat for which we had registered was on sale (for 3 days only!). We pondered and decided that we would purchase it that day (in my head I saw anxious pregnant women scrambling to Babies R Us to purchase the car seat until there were none left). It was one thing to purchase it, but we had no idea what we were getting into when we decided we would try and get it installed in the car.

One thing to understand is that the car seat we chose was given five stars by the Department of Highway Safety not just for its effectiveness, but because its instructions are easy to understand. Instructions are pretty important so you can put the seat in the car for maximum safety effectivness, right?

We proudly put the large box into the back of Ry's car and broke it open when we got home. Ryan inspected the seat and looked at all of the little different straps and safety warnings. I proceeded to read the booklet. The first two pages of the booklet were filled with bulleted, bold, all caps, red text of DO NOT's. I thought it was rather thoughtful that the writers of the booklet actually apologized on the first page for so many DO NOT's, but explain politely enough that they existed because they are important to know.

As I proceeded to read the remainder of the booklet, we would stop and discuss. There are scenarios in the booklet about how the car seat should be installed based on the child's age, weight and height. And, there are some "or" scenarios included. Being the engineer and the communicator, we were clarifying together that we understood what the booklet was telling us. We were looking a bit bewildered after reading the instruction booklet for 30 minutes. Were we getting this and would we put the car seat in the car correctly so our child would be safe?

Time to move from studying theory to practicum. We took the car seat out to the car. When we placed in the back seat of my four-door Mazda, the car seat looked quite large. It didn't look so big in the store. "Honey, is this going to work in my car?"

After getting the seat adjusted for rear-facing position (this is for an infant; the back of the car seat will face the front of the car), we got it placed perfectly in the middle of the back seat. Then it was an exercise in looking at the seat and looking at the manual.

"Where does this strap go?"

"Let me take a look at the book. Um, I think that based on this diagram, it goes here? Do you agree?"

Thank goodness for the LATCH system in my car. Once we figured it all out, it was really just two hooks into the LATCH system on either side of the car seat, a knee onto the seat and a tug of a strap to ensure all is snug. After we got it installed...we decided it wasn't too difficult. "Hmmm, that wasn't too bad."

But, the process of figuring all of this out took about 30 minutes or so in the garage on a humid and hot Sunday afternoon. In the end, we were sweaty, yet triumphant -- kind of like finishing a 10K run.

"Let's take it out now," I told Ry.

He looked at me. "No, let's leave it in for a while and go in the house."

The car seat has been in my car all week. I like it. Another touch of reality for me that sooner than I think...this will be my new normal. I asked Ry one day, after driving my car around to run errands, what he thought of seeing the seat in the car.

"It's a bit freaky. But, I like it." Followed by a big beautiful grin.


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