Car seat mistakes

30 08 2006

Most parents understand the importance of putting their children in car seats, especially their younger kids, but reports still show that 80% of kids aren’t secured correctly in a car seat.

Among the easiest mistakes to avoid is to just make sure that your child is in the correct car seat for his age and that he is facing the right direction.

  • Infants should be in a rear facing infant only seat or convertible seat until they are 1 year old AND twenty pounds. Children who reach twenty pounds before their first birthday still need to face backwards and can be moved into a rear facing convertible seat. Smaller infants who don’t reach 20 pounds until after their first birthday should also continue to face backwards. This is more a minimum though. Many people advocate continuing to sit toddlers rear facing in a convertible seat until they outgrow it for added safety.
  • After they are twenty pounds and have passed their first birthday, toddlers can use a forward facing car seat (either a convertible, combination or forward facing seat) until they are about 40 pounds.
  • Children over forty pounds should be placed into a belt positioning booster seat (either a combination seat or booster seat) and they will usually stay in it until they are at least 8 years old.
  • You should not use your car’s regular seat belts until they fit correctly when your child is about 80 pounds and is 4ft 9 inches tall. Remember that your child will not be ready to use regular seat belts until the shoulder strap fits across his shoulder and not his neck, and the lap belt fits across his hips and not his stomach.
  • All children under 12 years of age should be placed in the back seat of the car, especially if you have passenger side air bags.

Once you have the right seat, it is easy to make mistakes by not securing the seat correctly in your car or not securing your child correctly in the seat. Common mistakes when using a car seat include:

  • having harness straps too loose or in the wrong position
  • having a harness chest clip in the wrong position
  • not locking the seat belt properly with a locking clip, seat belt retractor or locking latchplate. Keep in mind that newer seat belt systems have a built-in locking mechanism.
  • not securing the car seat correctly, by either using the wrong seat belt path or not making the seat belts tight enough
  • placing an infant seat in the path of an air bag.

Other mistakes to avoid depend on what type of seat you are using. In addition to following these tips, you should also read your car seat’s instructions. A recent study showed that many of these instructions are difficult to understand by many parents, so if you don’t understand what you are doing, either call the manufacturer or go to a car seat inspection station to see if you are using your seat correctly.

To make installation even easier, consider getting a car seat and car that has the new LATCH system, which doesn’t need to use your car’s set belts. LATCH tether anchors can also be added to older cars.

When using an infant seat, make sure that:

  • the harness chest clip is correctly positioned at your child’s armpit level so that the shoulder straps will be in the correct position
  • the harness straps are snug and straight
  • rear-facing harness straps are positioned at, or slightly below, your child’s shoulders
  • the seat reclines at about a 45 degree angle
  • you never place an infant in a rear-facing child restraint in the front seat of a car with a passenger side air bag

When using a rear facing convertible seat, make sure that:

  • harness straps on rear-facing seats are positioned at, or slightly below, your child’s shoulders
  • the harness chest clip is in the correct location at your child’s armpit level
  • the harness straps are snug and straight
  • the seat reclines at about a 45 degree angle

When using a forward facing convertible seat, make sure that:

  • harness straps on forward-facing restraints are positioned at, or slightly above, your child’s shoulders.  You should be using the top set of harness slots for convertible child safety seats.
  • the harness straps are snug and straight
  • the harness chest clip is positioned at your child’s mid-chest or armpit area.

When using a forward facing combination seat, make sure that:

  • harness straps whould be positioned at, or slightly above, your child’s shoulders.
  • at 40 pounds, you remove the harness straps and use your car’s lap/shoulder belt, especially if the harness straps are below the child’s shoulders.
  • you stop using a shield booster once your child is 40 pound

When using a belt-positioning booster seat, make sure that:

  • you always use the lap/shoulder belt combination with a belt-positioning booster. Never use a lap belt only. This includes no back and high back booster seats.
  • the shoulder belt rests snugly across chest, rests on shoulder; and should NEVER be placed under the arm or behind the back.
  • the lap-belt should rest low, across the lap/upper thigh area, and not across the stomach.

You should also avoid using a car seat that has:

  • been recalled
  • involved in a crash
  • is more than 10 years old (or depending on the manufacturer, more than 5-6 years old)
  • doesn’t have a label with the date it was manufactured and the seat name or model number
  • doesn’t have instructions
  • is missing parts or has cracks in the frame

What to Feed the Baby when the Mother is Working outside the Home

30 08 2006

Some Myths:

1. Babies must learn to take a bottle so that they can be fed when the mother is not there.

Not true. Some exclusively breastfed babies will not take a bottle by 2 or 3 months of age. Most, who have not taken a bottle, and even some who did accept a bottle in the first weeks of life will not take one by the time they are 4 or 5 months of age. This is no tragedy, and there is no reason to give a bottle early so that the baby knows how. If your baby is refusing to take a bottle, do not try to force him; you and he may become very frustrated and there is just no need to go through all this. If the baby is at least 6 months of age when you start back at outside work, the baby quite simply does not need to take a bottle. If he is even 4 months, he does not need to take a bottle. He can be fed liquids or solids off a spoon just as any other 6 month old and by 6 months of age he can be taking enough so that he will not be hungry during the day. Furthermore, he can start learning to drink from a cup even by 5 or 6 months of age. The cup can be an open cup and does not need to have a spout. Start with water as your baby may spill a fair amount at first. If, however, he has not got the hang of the cup by the time you must leave him, do not worry, he can take fluids off a spoon, or the solid foods can be mixed with more liquid (expressed milk, juice, water). Obviously, if the baby is to be taking a fair amount of a variety of foods by 6 months of age, he may need to be started on solids by 5 months of age. However, some babies prefer to wait for the mother in order to drink something. This is fine; many babies sleep 12 hours at night without drinking or eating at all.

2. But getting the baby to take a bottle surely won’t hurt.

Not necessarily true. Some babies do fine with both. The occasional bottle, when breastfeeding is going well, will not hurt. But if the baby is getting several bottles a day on a regular basis, and, in addition, your milk supply decreases because the baby is nursing less, it is quite possible that the baby will start refusing the breast, even if he is older than 6 months of age.

3. Babies need to drink milk when the mother is not at home.

Not true. Three or four good nursings during a 24 hour period plus a variety of solid foods gives the baby all he needs nutritionally, and thus he does not need any other type of milk when you are at your outside job. Of course, solid foods can be mixed with expressed milk or other milk, but this is not necessary.

4. If the baby is to get milk other than breastmilk, it needs to be artificial baby milk (infant formula) until the baby is at least 9 months of age.

Not true. If the baby is breastfeeding a few times a day and getting fair quantities of a variety of solid foods, infant formula is neither necessary nor desirable. Indeed, babies who have not had infant formula before 5 or 6 months of age often refuse to drink it because it tastes pretty bad. (If you want to convince yourself of how little we know about breastmilk, ask yourself why it is that, although breastmilk and infant formulas have the same amount of sugar, breastmilk is so much sweeter). If you want to give the baby some other sort of milk, homogenized milk is acceptable at 6 months of age, as long as it is not the baby’s only food. In fact, if the baby is taking good quantities of a wide variety of foods, breastfeeding 3 or 4 times a day, and growing well, homogenized milk or 2% milk is good enough, but also not necessary.

5. Babies need to drink milk to get calcium.

Not true. If you are worried about the baby’s intake of calcium, he can eat cheese or yogurt. There is no need to drink the calcium. Besides, if the baby is also breastfeeding, breastmilk still contains calcium.

6. Followup formulas (artificial milk for infants over 6 months of age) are specially adapted to the needs of infants 6 to 12 months of age.

Not true. They are completely unnecessary and are specially adapted to the needs of the formula companies’ profit margins. They also are part of a marketing strategy that tries to get around restrictions on the advertising of artificial baby milks directly to the public (widely disregarded in any case). In Europe now, there are special formulas available for the toddler (1-3 years of age). Some people will buy anything, it seems. But these toddler formulas will soon be here. You can bet on it. Bottom line über alles. We will all soon be on formula from birth to death.

7. The breastfed baby 4 months of age needs to be getting more iron than can be provided by breastmilk alone.

Not true. For the baby born at term who is breastfeeding exclusively, all the iron required is provided by breastmilk. However, by 6 months of age, more or less, it is prudent for the baby to begin getting more iron than that provided by breastmilk alone. The best way for your baby to get iron is through his food, and the best source of iron is meat, not formula, and not infant cereals.

8. The best way to assure the baby’s getting enough iron is to give him infant cereals.

Not true. Infant cereals do contain a lot of iron, but most of it is not absorbed, and this amount of iron seems to cause constipation in some babies. Furthermore, some breastfed babies who have had only breastmilk to 5 or 6 months of age do not like cereal. There is nothing wrong with infant cereal, but pushing this food on reluctant babies may result in later feeding problems. The best way to ensure the baby is getting enough iron is to continue breastfeeding, and introduce solid foods in a relaxed, enjoyable way at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the baby is showing interest in eating by reaching out for and trying to eat food the parents or other members of the family are eating. This occurs usually about 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 months of age. A baby this age can eat what the parents eat, with few exceptions. There is no need to be obsessive about the order in which foods are introduced, or trying to keep the baby eating only one food/week. The easiest way to give extra iron for the 6 to 12 month old baby is meat, the iron of which is very well absorbed. Start feeding the baby solids in a way that makes eating enjoyable, and the baby will eat iron containing foods just fine.

Nursing your newborn — Link to full article enclosed

30 08 2006

The First Week

How often should baby be nursing?Frequent nursing encourages good milk supply and reduces engorgement. Aim for nursing at least 10 – 12 times per day (24 hours). You CAN’T nurse too often–you CAN nurse too little.Nurse at the first signs of hunger (stirring, rooting, hands in mouth)–don’t wait until baby is crying. Allow baby unlimited time at the breast when sucking actively, then offer the second breast. Some newborns are excessively sleepy at first–wake baby to nurse if 2 hours (during the day) or 4 hours (at night) have passed without nursing. for full article and other breastfeeding information.


30 08 2006

Here are the stats. What do you think?




Number of children adopted from foreign countries by U.S. families in the past 15 years


Number of children adopted from foreign countries by U.S. families last year


Number of children adopted from foreign countries by California families in 2003. Only New York had more.


Children living in Russian orphanages


Children living in Kazakh orphanages

13.2 million

Children orphaned because of AIDS in Africa. That number is expected to rise to 42 million by the year 2010.


Percentage of children with medical issues adopted from foreign countries by U.S. families


Percentage of those adoptive parents who had no idea their child had medical issues until he or she arrived


International adoption clinics in the United States


Cost of an international adoption versus the $4,000 to $30,000 for a domestic adoption


Number of U.S. children adopted by Canadians between 1993 and 2002

Sources: U.S. Department of State, National Adoption Clearinghouse of Information


29 08 2006

I want to introduce myself. I am Angie and I am a proud parent of 3 beautiful children. I wanted to create this site so it gives parents a chance to express their thoughts and opinions, as well as give/receive advice. If you have any concerns, feel free to post them or you may contact me personally at