Preparing Your Car for a Newborn

Preparing your car for your new baby involves more than just selecting a car seat. How do you ensure your car seat is properly installed and how to get it checked by a professional? What about other products designed for the car seats, are they safe? What additional items do you really need in your car and how do you safely secure those items? We have some great tips to help you prepare for your new baby.

View Episode Transcript

Preparing Your Car for a Newborn
Episode 39, July 28th, 2016

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.
[Theme Music]

KRISTEN STRATTON: Preparing your car for your new baby involves more than just selecting a car seat. How do you safely secure items in your car? How do you know which car seat to buy and which accessories to choose? How do you ensure your car seat is properly installed and how do you get it checked by a professional?

This is Newbies.

[Intro/Theme music]

KRISTEN STRATTON: Welcome to newbies. Newbies is you're online on the go support group guiding new mothers through their babies the first year. I’m your host Kristen Stratton, I am a Certified Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, and mother of three. If you haven’t already be sure to visit our website at and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can also subscribe to our show through iTunes so you will automatically get new episodes every time there released.

Here is Sunny with details on how you can get involved with newbies.

SUNNY GAULT: All right hi everyone. There plenty of ways to get involved in the show, if you go to and you click on the newbie's section of the website you will see an area called segments. Click on that and there is a bunch of different segments that we do. There is actually two per show that we do and it’s a great way to get involved with the show lots of different topics and things like that we explore. I also wanted to promote the fact that regardless of how you're listening to our show, because we are available on a bunch of different platforms.

So it might be iTunes or Sticher or spriker or Google play music or TuneIn or any of these platforms you can access newbies. We are always looking for our listeners to rate and review the show. This is so great because this is how most of these programs, however, you’re listening to the show. It's how they recommended shows for other parents right so if their listening to one parenting show, hey you might be interested in this show as well and it's all done by ratings and reviews so if you can just take a few minutes in fact you might even be able to do it through your iPhone.

Even if you are listening through the podcast app if you have iPhone’s and your listening through the podcast app I know you can do it through their or if you happen to be on your computer go to iTunes look for newbies check out the ratings and reviews section and we've got you know a couple that has been submitted recently and they are really great. We are starting to read them on the show just as a way to encourage people to participate. So if you can take a few minutes to do that that will help us out a bunch.

KRISTEN STRATTON: All right so I'm really excited about today’s topic. I know Sunny you have four kids, I have three kids so we've definitely gone through the process of car seat safety and you know especially when you have such many kids, it’s hard to like to keep your car clean. So I can’t wait for Kristin’s advice about how we can make sure it’s safe for everybody including us.

[Theme music]

SUNNY GAULT: Okay so before we kick off our show today, we are going to talk about news headline and this one kind of stood out to us. You know as parents I don't know why we do this we just kind fall into this habit you know of buying the Disney products. I mean they are so good at marketing right.

Disney gets an A plus for kind of training us at a very early age to get you know yes pretty much brainwashing us to buying this kind of stuff for our kids and always coming out with new movies and it's just you know it’s for our kids interested in. So this is a study that was done and it really studied how Disney princesses impact gender stereotypes. What it found is that it definitely has more than an impact on young girls as opposed to boys.

This was done by a brilliant young university family life professor and she did a study with one hundred ninety-eight pre-scholars both male and female. And she ranked their interaction with different types of things as far as a Disney culture that could include toys and movies and then studied that behavior one year later with reports from parents and teachers.

So it found 96 percent of girls and 87 percent of boys they viewed a Disney princess media so it’s not just Disney I guess princess stuff. Four percent of boys and 61 percent of girls played with Disney princesses on a weekly basis. And let’s see here for both boys and girls the greater interaction with princesses predicted more gender normative behavior like wanting to play with tradition female’s stereotypical toys and activities. For girls, it can negatively impact their body image and have educational experiences making them less likely to gravitate towards math and science.

But the boys in the study who engage with Disney princess media had better body esteem and they were more helpful to others. So anyway just kind of you know everything we do impacts our kids right what they see and what they play with and everything. All this has some sort of impacts on them. I know for me you know this story kind of lends itself to a slightly older demographic than what we typically focus for newbies but it starts at a younger age.

Like I remember I mean trust me, Disney has toys that live up for toddlers, not even toddlers, like zero to six. They have toys for these age range as well. It just kind of starts at that and then builds from there before you know it all your kids wants to do is just up at Disney outfits and watch Disney movies. So Kristine what do you think about this study?

KRISTEN STRATTON: It's interesting because I know that I'm a child of the 80's so I was very much watching these movies, that was our main source of entertainment was Disney because that was before they have like pick sands and stuff like that. In fact I remember when toys store came out because that was a huge deal because it wasn't a princess’s movie anyway. It was a whole different kind of animation right so everything was sleeping beauties, snow white, beauty and the beast. I hope we can say this without getting penalized.

SUNNY GAULT: We can, it’s okay, it’s okay

KRISTEN STRATTON: Anyway that was very much a part, I remember actually being in my mirror in my bathroom and singing part of your world and trying to put a hat tail. That definitely was a part of my growing up and now my kids, I have a daughter and I have two sons and we actually don't really watch a lot of those movies for the reason that it is always the damsel in distress and it's always like a single parent home and it's always these things like where the woman isn't empowered, she doesn’t help herself and I know that Disney changed a little bit because our generation is like excuse me, I can change my own tire when its flat and things like that and so they have like tingled then thy came up with frozen where it was two sisters that saved each other, sort of the man saving the other man.

Then they had brave where strong characters but still very stereotypical ones in terms of usually a white female, they still have a long way to come I think. I think balance is important.

SUNNY GAULT: I think that was the overall theme of this article. It’s not like we are trying to trash Disney, it’s part of our culture it’s not going to go away. It’s just a matter of balance and maybe introducing other things into your kids life and not just going for the good old mouse, that is what my kids are obsessed with mickey and miny right now.

Yeah, so expert Kristen I can just call you expert. We had two Kristine’s today.

What do you think about this article and what they are talking about in the study?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: I definitely like the other Kristen said a child of the 80's in growing up and being obsessed with little mermaid and beauty and the beast, as an adult watching these I am like well at the time I thought they had gumption and went for whatever but now they just lay back because everyone takes care of business and save the day. I do think they are moving in a better direction now. I do like the newer movies but as a mom of two boys I do talk to them about women can do things just like men can do and I will say even the men in the older movies they just come and save the day, they have no character, they don't have a lot of personalities and I think the newer movies.

KRISTEN STRATTON: They are just handsome

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Yes right, like no one does anything in any of the old movies, it’s just the bad person comes in, they have all the personality and things just get roughed up immediately. I think it is moving in a better direction, I did read something about them pushing more with the princesses do as opposed to just being pretty. So I like reading that. So I'm hoping that they keep heading in that direction.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Maybe some progress but they need to adopt some

SUNNY GAULT: It will be interesting where they take it but yes we have seen some changes you know its baby steps, right we say baby steps? So let's give them some props and then hopefully we will continue on that path.

[Theme Music]

KRISTEN STRATTON: Today we are discussing how to prepare your car and car seat for your newborn baby. Our expert today is a certified child passenger safety technician Kristen Mokhlessin Thank you so much for joining us today Kristen and welcome to the show.


KRISTEN STRATTON: Love the name by the way.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: And even spelled the same

KRISTEN STRATTON: Okay so what are some good resources for parents to use when they want to select car seats best for their cars and their family?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Well I will definitely not suggest amazon reviews or consumer reports. Generally, those are biased and not entirely accurate. Facebook groups or pages like car seats for the little, ran seat safe there are other car seat safety groups or contacting a CPST would be a better resource because you can get a personalized suggestion. Also, the websites like most of the websites really on car seats safety have a recommended list. Car seat blog has one and then in person go to the stores and test them out because a lot of it is personal preference. One person might like the straps on one car seat and someone else will hate them.

KRISTEN STRATTON: What about NHTTS its National Highway Transportation Administration?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Traffic and Safety!

KRISTEN STRATTON: It stands for something but that is actually the one I think I used, I went on the NHTTS’s website and I wanted to see what their reviews were like as far as the crash ratings with car seats

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: They are technically no crash ratings. There is ease of use ratings.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Maybe that's what it was

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Yes consumer reports have some ease of use ratings too but crash rate ratings are either pass or fail. So if there is sit on the market, it passed.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Okay, so it doesn’t really tell you that it’s better than one or the other.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Exactly and things will be changing they are going to come up with some side impact crash test. So I don't know how that will affect it. But I know that all the car seats in the market are trying to say like side impact tested but we don't know what that looks like yet because there aren't any official standards for it so.


KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Some car seats do have extra safety features which I'm always a big fun of but every car seat out there is safe if it fits your child and your car.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Should a family when they have decided it’s time to buy a car seat should they ever purchase a used car seat? What happens if they can't afford a new one? What are some of the programs they can get the car seat?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: I would definitely not suggest purchasing a used car seat unless it's someone like your sibling, or your best friend who you know took care of the seat properly. I gave my old car seat to my sister because obviously, she knew I took care of it. If you can't afford a car seat there are a lot of options. You can contact your local safe kids and they will probably have a list of all the local programs. WICK is generally a good resource to look into, some insurance companies their county programs and other local charities that often give out car seats but safe kids generally has a list of those depending on where you live they will be different.

KRISTEN STRATTON: What about you Sunny, what did you do when you had to buy your car seat? Did you use the one that you previously had from your older kids? Did you buy the first one brand new with your son?

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, it was on our baby registry so I may have been able to gather some gift cards because I know they are not super cheap to get depending. I have been to a lot of expos and stuff for baby products and trust me they can get a lot more expensive than the one I bought but I think they are still more on the expensive side.

We went into one of the big baby stores, put a lot on our baby registry and I knew that we were going to have a bunch of kids and I knew we were probably going to have them close in age. So I was really looking for things that were going to last for a longer period of time. I really wanted something that was going to handle some wear and tear so that was definitely a factor for me.

We got the one that we thought was going to work and it worked for my first then when my second needed it we just transitioned him into that. We got a separate car seat one that was more like a transitional seat is it? What do they call them? Yeah, the convertible kind so we just did that but then we had twins so we were like oh no we only have one car seat! So at that point, we had to get another one and we just used the old one for my son.

One got continually passed down and we eventually had to bring in the other because we needed two of these exact same kinds at the same time. We tried to get as much use out of it as possible, though.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Okay, let’s talk general installation tips. When installing a car seat do you use the anchors, do you use the seat belts, does it change based on the position in the car or type of car?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Either is safe if used correctly. Always read the manual to see what you should do but some cars and car seats don't allow what is called borrowing so if you are using the lower anchors in the middle, some cars and car seats do not allow that and you have to use the seatbelt which is also safe so it’s not a big deal. A lot of people do not know that, like me when I had my first kid and totally installed the car seat wrong and I crunched to look like fixtures but I was using the lower anchors in the middle and turns out that car seat does not allow that so I should have either moved it to the side or use the seat belt.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Because you always wonder where should I put my baby in the car because you try to think of the safest place? What is the safest place, what's the best place if we get in an accident? Obviously, that is more important.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Yes, technically and statistically the middle is slightly safer but if you are not getting a good insulation there it is not safe.

KRISTEN STRATTON: That makes sense

SUNNY GAULT: Sometimes there is no middle like I'm thinking about if I have a minivan which I do and If I had only one kid which that is not my case, right behind me are two captain chairs or whatever they call them, so I don't have the middle, in that circumstance which seat do you put the baby in, right behind you or to the side so that you can see your baby?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Whatever is most convenient and works best for you. Honestly, the statistics are so close that it’s not an issue which side you put him on. Rear facing kids are the safest in the car so you can know that wherever you put them they are the safest in the car. And also no cars have airbags on the sides, cars are so much safer now than fifty years ago so it’s not as much of an issue.

KRISTEN STRATTON: I have a question about how much space should be between the front seat and the rear seat because my husband is really tall, he is 6'5 so he always gets frustrated that he can't put his seat all the way back because our youngest is still rear facing and I am always like you can't be touching, so what is the space that needs to be there?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: It depends on the seat. Some car seats require 4 1/2 inch in-between the front seat and the car seat, others require that you can just be able to slide a piece of paper through. Actually your car seat

KRISTEN STRATTON: Yes you have checked my car seat

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Yes I did it. Yours actually can touch if I remember you have the Daimler right?

KRISTEN STRATTON: Yes so my husband will be happy to hear that, it will give him an extra inch

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: That is the only one that can touch. All of them you need to at least slide a piece of paper through and there is a few that need more space so you really have to check the manual because every car seat is different.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Once it is installed, you have read your manual you've put in the seat belt latch whatever is the best one for your car and then how much movement should the car seat have once it's installed? Also, how do you know if the angle of the car seat is correct?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: For movement, you want to use the firmness of a handshake at the belt path, you are going to shake it and it should be less than an inch. A little bit of movement is okay but just make sure you are checking at the belt path and not at the rear up in front where it’s not connected to anything. In terms of the angle, all seats should have a recline indicator whether it’s a line or a bubble, you are going to check that and make sure it's appropriate for your child's age. A newborn is going to be a lot more reclined and you really need to check that.

When you put the baby in you want to check it again because if their chin is falling to their chest that is a problem. Although don't forget babies have like five chins so.

KRISTEN STRATTON: My kids are really strange beings I don't know what happened.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Mine still has some weird like extra chins where they. . .

KRISTEN STRATTON: So check with the bottom chin. I was actually surprised that it was just the firmness of a handshake because my husband would go in there and basically try to simulate a crash and be like shaking this thing and if it moved even just the slightest then he would still tie it down and whenever I have to move the car seat I can never get it out.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: No it doesn’t have to that tight I promise. They are made to move in a crash in order to take the crash forces so it is okay.

SUNNY GAULT: It’s actually even important that. . .

KRISTEN STRATTON: Yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: You don't want it loose, you don't want babies flying out but less than an inch totally okay

KRISTEN STRATTON: Okay, that's good to know. What should parents look for when they are checking for shoulder straps safety on their car seat?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: For rear facing the shoulder strap should be at or below the shoulders. We don't want them up above because they are not ramped up in a crash that can cause injury. You don't want to be able to pitch any slack at the collar bone. So you want to check that each time you put baby in and sometimes because newborns are so tiny you might need if your car seats come with strap covers you might need to take those off because they are so big for a tiny newborn it’s hard to get it tight enough. The chest clips should be even with the armpits which once again a newborn like that takes up pretty much the whole chest but as they grow you want to make sure you keep that at armpit level.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Can it ever be too low, the shoulder strap because you said at or below?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: No, as long as they are not sliding off. Usually, once they reach that, once their shoulders hit that next slot level then you can move them up. Too low is not really as much of an issue rear facing, forward facing it is.

SUNNY GAULT: I know some of the car seats have those newborn or infants little inserts for the extra padding and stuff and one thing I was always confused by is how long do you keep that in there. Obviously, when they are newborn you are going to want that, but then at what point do you take that out?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Very good question because I made this mistake with my car seat. Some have weight limits, mine happened to be twelve pounds and I didn't take it out I think ever. I was much uninformed back then but somehow we limit some you can keep it the whole time it doesn’t matter. You really have to check the manual because every car seat has different rules about that.

KRISTEN STRATTON: I think I ended up taking the head support that came with the car seat off when my son's head was getting stuck in it and I was like I think his head has outgrown this.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: I think that is what I did too but then I left the bottom part in because he was so skinny

KRISTEN STRATTON: How often do you recommend parents have the car seats inspected and where can they find a place to have it done?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: It's best to get it inspected preferably before you even have your first baby. Like a few weeks before your due get the car seat checked and make sure it’s in there properly or anytime you get a new seat or you move to a new stage, say you have a convertible and you are turning it from rear facing to forward facing, or if you get a new car. Any time there is a change in how you are installing and you are just not quite sure get it checked.

Definitely, the first time you get a seat its always best to get it inspected and basically what we'll do is show you how to install yourself because obviously a tech isn't always going to be there. Oh, and how do you find somebody? You can search on, there is a list of techs. Not every tech has a public profile in there but that will show you for the most part any like if they are CHP or fire departments or independent techs like me. Most techs do have their information on their and it does give you a bigger list than there is another one on I think but it’s not quite as complete because it only lists inspection stations so for example, I'm not there because I'm not an inspection.

KRISTEN STRATTON: That is national?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Yes, and the safe kid’s site is probably a complete list.

KRISTEN STRATTON: When we come back we will continue our discussion about preparing your car for your newborn we will be right back.

[Theme music]

KRISTEN STRATTON: Welcome back to the show we are continuing our discussion with Kristin. Kristin, I know a lot of parents like to use aftermarket products for the seat for the comfort of baby and sometimes just because it is really cute, but are these products safe to use and are there any ways of keeping baby safe and comfortable if the seat does not include an accessory?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: I always hate telling parents this but they're not safe. Do not use all that extra stuff it changes the way the seat performs in a crash. There are one or two brands that they make extra accessories that you can purchase that are specifically crash tested with their seats but there are other brands that have stuff out with their brand names on it that you not use.


KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: I know because they sold their name and they are licensed but they don't allow for the use of their seats.

KRISTEN STRATTON: That makes no sense at all.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Right, so the safest bet doesn't even buy any of that and if you have a question about it call the manufacturer and ask pretty much most of them will say no you cannot use that. Those cute strap covers you can use on your stroller but not on your car seat.


SUNNY GAULT: Those are lots of aftermarket products too. One thing you could do is because of a lot of the times especially if you have like an infant car seat that actually just comes out and you put it right into your stroller. Some of these products can be used but not just while riding in the car like if it’s part of your stroller set up that is one thing. You take up the toys, the hang down and I've seen extra pillows for the kids to keep their heads from wobbling from side to side, it’s either a bunch of different stuff. You can use that as part of your stroller just make sure that once you are in the car and you are ready to go all that extra stuff is taken out.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Exactly. They crash test the seats with what you buy them with and so if it doesn’t have it that means it hasn’t been crash tested and I don't think that any of us wants our babies to be crash test dummies so it’s just best to avoid them.

Some seats don't come with strap covers but you can like to pull the ones you have in between their neck if it cutting in a little or you just make sure you buy a seat with strap covers if that's a concern.

KRISTEN STRATTON: I did have a CHP officer that I did an inspection with my first child and he told me that it can also void the manufacturer’s warranty so if in the event you get an accident then if in the event there was an issue with the car seat, if you have aftermarket products you can't go back to the company and say they are the reason why my kid was injured because they can come back and say well didn't use it properly.

Also, I wanted to ask you about rolling up those receding blankets?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: That is allowed, and they do show it in the car seat manuals. Its okay that it has been crash tested

KRISTEN STRATTON: Okay, so if you are worried about your baby's head and comfort you can draw up the receding blanket and put it up next to their head

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: I have done feet checks where we actually took the padding out because it was pushing baby's head forward and then we just did the role that receding blanket is on the side which makes it go over the top of baby's head just on the side.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Okay just on the side.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: On the side yes.

SUNNY GAULT: We had to do that when my twins came home because they were only 5 1/2 pounds, I have these pictures of them in their car seats and it felt like the car seat was eating them up they were so tiny. I was so nervous I remember actually I don't think the nurses actually did it they won't touch car seats when you are checking out and stuff like that being discharged, they make you do everything. I remember them saying roll this up and tack it here and you can do this and I remember thinking oh is that okay? It's good to know, do we need to know anything, and can it be any kind of receiving blanket we don't have to worry about like making sure. Like making sure anything that the hospital gives us is okay?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Just make sure it’s tightly rolled and it’s that you are not putting over the top of your head and you are fine. There are pictures in the car seat manual that will show you what it should look like. You can also find resources online to show you what it should look like as well.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Okay, let's talk about making sure the car is safe overall for the new babies. Some of us have multiple children and all the gear that comes with it, we have strollers, we have diaper rags in the car, and how can we safely store these items?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Okay, I will fully admit that I'm not the best at these but everything that is in your car in a crash is going to fly around so you have to keep that in mind so things like water bottles, purses, diaper bags, anything in your car if you are in a crash is going to go flying. The best thing to do is try and make sure that everything is secured the best you can. You can compartmentalize things, I stick a lot of things behind my roofing car seats because then if anything flies up in a crash it’s going to hit the car seat instead of flying around the whole car.

If you have a trunk, put things in a trunk, if you have an SUV I know people who have tugs in the back of their SUV's and they put things in there and close them up then they can wretch it down, same with strollers if you have those wretched straps you can strap them down in the back. That also comes with I remember driving around and the stroller would slide with every turn, it drove me crazy so that probably would have solved that problem as well.

KRISTEN STRATTON: What about this mesh like soccer mom covers like cargo nets that come with the van, I have a van, are those efficient or are they going to just fail.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: They are known to fail but I mean it might work so it might be better than nothing, I'm not sure about it but it could fail.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Something steadier than that would be better

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Yeah, like I said like tabs, storing thins under the back seats or things like that, anywhere that there are not the fancy air bags are stored under there so you are not technically supposed to put thin under there.

Kristine: Yeah, because when the purse is heavy it is like ding

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Securing things with the seat belt like if you have thrown in the front seat just let in and definitely don't put like hard objects next to your baby like on the seat because it will just go flying up and hit the children.


KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: It is not convenient, none of that is convenient but it is safer.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Are there any ways we can make the car seat safer by helping anyone driving? Remember the baby is in the car?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Yes, this is a serious problem and people always think it won't happen to them but then it does. So while sleep deprived and exhausted and have a million things in our mind and so it's not that you forget your babies, you forget that they are in the car, I guess that would be a good way to put it. Things like putting your shoes in the back, a cell phone, your purse something’s that you just have a habit of like grabbing every time you get into the car, you could put a safety animal in the car seat every time you put your baby in the car seat you throw the stuffed animal in the front and then put it back when you take baby out.

You should make it a habit of looking in the back seat every time you lock your car even if your kids aren't there you just always just automatically get in the habit of looking in the back seat.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Yes even sometimes if one parent is always driving the kid then one day it switches to the other parent then he goes into autopilot and doesn’t drop the baby off at daycare, the person just goes to work because that is what they do.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: That is how it usually happens, if you read fatal distraction there is a really good article that explains how this happens because I always have the same thing, like how could that ever happen to anybody? I have been very sleep deprived and I'm maybe it’s going to happen.

KRISTEN STRATTON: We are humans we make mistakes

SUNNY GAULT: One thing I was going to say that has helped me is I have a GPS that actually has infinite monitors that you can buy separately to install throughout the car and whenever I turn off my engine there actually is an alarm, not alarm, a little ding and the screen says to remember to grab you kids basically, I know it doesn’t say that but it’s something like check to make sure everyone is out of the car or something like that.

I have found that every time, I thought I would grow accustomed to it and then you know what I mean, I would be like there is the ding and it won't register anymore but still every time, they must have tested this time because every time with that noise I'm like yeah, do I have everybody? It’s just a cool thing.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: A lot of car manufacturers are looking at technology like that, there are some car seats that have technology to remind you. They know that it happens to everybody

KRISTEN STRATTON: Right. What about those seat belt cutters, so sometimes you get an outside mood to get your baby out fast, do you recommend keeping a seat belt cutter in your car?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Absolutely, especially if it is a serious crash you want to take not just your kid out of the car but the whole car seat, it might be difficult to get it out because you know just in case there is some kind of injury, it's best just to grab the whole car seat with the kid in it and pull it out so then you can just cut the belt and pull the whole thing out. Those are definitely a highly recommended safety items to have.

KRISTEN STRATTON: What about that baby on board signs? What is the real reason people have those in their car and are those beneficial? Do you recommend those?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Well so first responders don't actually check because you have a baby on board sign. They automatically check anyway so that is what they are trained to do and especially because it’s not like you are taking off the baby on board sign when you kids are in the car. The hard baby on board signs I definitely would not recommend anyways because they could be a projectile that flies off during a crash those little section caps don't hold well, so if you just want to sticker because it looks cute or you think that maybe people will drive safer around you then go for it but..

SUNNY GAULT: I actually do, I'm not all crazy about it.

KRISTEN STRATTON: I’m like do you not see the minivan?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Please tell the people that have hit the rear end of me would not have noticed it. They were looking up is the whole reason that they hit me in the first place.

KRISTEN STRATTON: That's true, you are right, but they have these safety stickers I know I got some of those from either the CHP or the hospital I don't remember but it had basically like this is my kids name, this is their age and this is the emergency contact information and blood type and it was an actual sticker that I just put up on the car seat. Are those good to use?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: They may or may not be helpful, I don't think they hurt anything certainly and if it does give first two or three respondents an opportunity to learn a bit more about your kids I definitely think it's beneficial so I think if it makes you feel better than I would definitely get them

KRISTEN STRATTON: It does help me feel better.

SUNNY GAULT: I actually have never heard of this that's actually smart.

KRISTEN STRATTON: I was more worried about what happens if they are okay and I am unconscious or something then what is going to happen is they are going to seat with like a social worker until they can know who you are so that you can come and take your kid and then that way they can automatically know your kids name and call them by name and then know who to call so I don't know that's what I thought. It made feel warm fuzzy feelings.

SUNNY GAULT: You know one of the things that I was think about I know we talked about it you know buying aftermarket stuff that you can purchase but one thing that parents may need or they think that they may need are those shades in the car a lot of cars don't come with them I just bought a new minivan a few months ago and we didn't have any shading on the windows and I didn't think of it at first and then every time we went out my kids were like oh my God you would have thought that they were vampires or something.

So I was like oh my goodness what I do but I remember after doing these shows for a while knowing that you are not supposed to have this extra stuff in your car but again if you are in an accident all these stuff could fly and hit your kid and I'm like what I'm I going to do? One thing that I found because I looked at a lot of the reviews and stuff like that, were a couple of different companies make these but they are more like filmy, it’s not like you have to have it professionally installed but it’s kind of filmy and you can put it on and just smooth it out. I may have to admit it’s not gorgeous because you know you have the little bubbles in there you are trying to work out but it helped my kids and it was like five bucks for two of them. The price was unbeatable and it fixed the problem but Kristen I wanted your take on that to see what you think about that.

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: That is exactly what you should use. The roller shades a bad idea because those are hard their cups will not stick and if you leave in the desert like me, the heat kills it anyway and it just fall off.

Kristine: Yeah, that's true

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: So any of the film ones or the cling ones like I have a cling one that has a really thin wire around it that helps it stick a little bit better and since basically I don't want to throw things at your kids but if you are willing to throw it at your kid and they won't get hurt then it’s probably safe. So that is soft enough that I am not worried about it hitting them.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Then that brings in another point. I know that when I got my car seat inspected that by Kristen I had a mirror from my youngest because he's special needs and he hates the car and I was like maybe if he looks at himself he won't scream bloody murder for the entire time we are in the car but then she told me hey, that's a projectile too. What does your opinion on those, is that just another accessory people should just forgo or is it use at your own risk?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: I think you have to recognize the risks because obviously for me I'm going to tell you this is a risk, here is what is going to happen but then every parent has to make their own decision so if the reward outweighs the risk in that case then maybe you just take measures to make a little bit safer like you can zip tie them on so that they are not because the straps will break so you can try zip tying it. You can get a soft mirror and not a heavy mirror that you lights up or whatever all those fancy ones.

KRISTEN STRATTON: The throw test

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Yes, don’t throw anything at your kids but just keep that in mind. It’s definitely a risk that some parents feel better taking than not taking and that's fine. You just have to recognize that it is a risk. For me when I took my tech course they explained all that and I was like oh my kids is like a year and a half now I guess he didn't need the mirror anymore at that point so I was like I guess I could probably take that out now.

SUNNY GAULT: The other thing I was thinking about for parents that have multiple children you know, we are talking a lot about for baby but keep in mind you may have a baby but older kids in the car too and older kids like to bring a bunch of stuff in the car and I'm always telling my kids you got to take it out but that is something too to keep in mind. I know there is a lot of aftermarket products where they are like pocket organizers and stuff for kids to put all their toys and I'm thinking why would we do that? Why would we purposely have all these toys close to our kids so when there is a crash it all goes in their face?

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Exactly that can happen

SUNNY GAULT: Yes, maybe you can tell your kids if they want to bring a bunch of stuff in the car no! Because if there is an accident I don't want you getting hurt.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Bonus is that it keeps your car clean

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Is that possible to have a clean car?


SUNNY GAULT: The choice is ours

KRISTEN STRATTON: I'm pretty sure I have pulverized goldfish crackers all over the floor

KRISTEN MOKHLESSIN: Yeah that's my car too, orange stuff everywhere

KRISTEN STRATTON: Well thank you so much, Kristien, and thank you Sunny for sharing your wisdom and experience with us today. For our Newbies club members, this conversation will continue after the end of the show as Kristen will share the do's and don’ts of cleaning the car seat and trust me you are going to want to want to listen, it’s really important.

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SUNNY GAULT: All right, so we have a segment that we do on the show called “Baby Oops” and it is where you share your funny stories about raising your baby and just the funny things they do, the crazy things you do as a parent, anything you are willing to admit and this one comes from Marsha. I just love this because it’s about car seats so what we've been talking a lot about it today. She says “I am rear facing my kid as long as possible, not really for the safety benefits but so she can't see me eating snacks and drinking soda”.

Is there anyone else who wants to admit you do that too because that drives me crazy. I'm like bringing granular bar or something in the car and like open it up and suddenly everybody wants a granular bar and I'm like no

KRISTEN STRATTON: Seriously you know you are always going to bring enough to share when you have kids and if you don't then you better eat it in the dark closet when they are napping.

SUNNY GAULT: But that is the benefit of having rear facing kids is that they can’t really see.

KRISTEN STRATTON: You know what's funny though is, okay so my youngest is deaf right, so he can't hear when I open stuff but I swear this kid has the best sense of smell in the world because it can be like the plainest snack, it can be like a scone with no flavor no scent at all and the minute I try to take my first bite he just starts screaming because he knows I'm eating something and he is not included.

It’s true, the kids they always know when mom has got something.

SUNNY GAULT: That's right so just one more benefit of keeping your kids rear facing, we know it’s safer but now we that you can get a little more snack actions


SUNNY GAULT: Thanks Marsha for sending this in that's fantastic. If you guys have a baby oops that you want us to share in the show you can go to our website at , click on the contact link or you can share your story yourself by clicking that send voice mail button, its right on the side and it’s a gray button. Click that you can use the mic on your computer and send us a voice mail and then that way you can tell the story on our show yourself.

KRISTEN STRATTON: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Newbies.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with toddlers and
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.

Thank for listening to Newbies. Your go to source for new moms and new babies.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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