The First Baby Carseataphobia

I've been told by the religious community that watching the birth of a child is like watching a goddess ride toward you on a unicorn that's on a rainbow that's on a cloud, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that it's actually fairly disgusting. Fortunately, caring for a baby is fundamentally the easiest thing you can do. Just make sure he or she doesn't conk their head on anything, feed them, don't let them roll around in their own filth, and most importantly: get the car seat right!

Car seats, when viewed in the store, are absolutely magnificent pieces of hardware. Shiny, intricate, seemingly adapted perfectly to the body of a miniature human. Once purchased they are revealed to be, in their own way, torture implements not designed to fit exceptionally well in anything less than a Peterbuilt. The straps that handily slip into the bars under your seat are not long enough, so in order to get it in your car you have to plop it onto the seat, stand on it holding a dumbbell and pray that you're able to get it to click in. And the tie into the back of the seat is done by stretching the hook over the frame of your car and pulling on the straps as if raising the mast of a clipper ship. Once that's all accomplished and the seat is not moving to the point of feeling set in concrete – that's when the baby problems occur.

Is your baby not shaped to factory design? Mine wasn't. Between the issues of cheek size and paranoia it took 30 minutes to put him into his seat the first time, granted there were two potty breaks needed over that time. For whatever reason my child enjoyed throwing his head into the seat strap and crying upon each attempt. And once he was in loosely, I played the "are the straps tight enough yet" game with myself. Tightening one millimeter of strap per attempt, backing off two millimeters upon baby being uncomfortable, that was usually diaper related it turns out.

The good news is that babies only have baby-sized problems like car seat fitting and burping, and that there's a large baby-related industry constantly designing better car seats. With practice and the realization that you're going to be inefficient a baby's first car seating can be the first of many enriching adventures you will have with your child.

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