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7 Top Baby Gear Essentials—The Must-Haves! 0
As if pregnancy isn’t overwhelming enough, the choices first (and second and third…!) time moms and dads face is both exhilarating and a little daunting. Do babies really need their wipes warmed? What about all those rattles and other sensory toys? Those are all “nice to haves”—the bonuses you might be happy to get as a gift because you aren’t sure you really want to spend the money on it yourself. What are the baby gear essentials? What does a newborn really need apart from diapers, feeding gear and comfy clothing? We are here to give you the 7 top baby gear picks, in no particular order.
Crib This first one seems rather obvious but it’s obvious for a reason. Sure, you could probably have your child live in a drawer for a few weeks but eventually you’ll really want something safe, secure and flexible to grow with your child. We highly recommend convertible cribs. What is a convertible crib? It’s a bed that starts out as a crib, converts into a toddler bed with, and then without, safety rails and finally a twin size bed. Quite honestly, a convertible crib can last into your child’s early teens. Make sure you choose a neutral color that will grow with your child. Here’s one of our bestsellers: Storkcraft Valentia Convertible Crib. You’ll have to purchase the mattress separately but a crib mattress will last for about 4-5 years until your child grows into a twin size bed. Crib mattresses are usually in the $100-$150 range. We highly recommend you spend the extra $30-50 for a good quality mattress—those growing bones need good support.
Crib bedding Again, this one seems logical but it’s important to purchase bedding that is specifically manufactured for baby cribs. Fitted sheets are important because if it’s not tightly fitted around the edges, it could pose a strangling or choking hazard if the edges become loose. The sheets and blankets are also an important consideration due to size. The crib sized blankets and sheets are made to fit neatly into a crib. Even a twin sized blanket is too large for a baby’s crib and again, it could pose a hazard to your baby’s health. We highly recommend purchasing crib bedding manufactured specifically for crib dimensions.
Nursery furniture I kept reminding myself not to buy too many 0-3month outfits while I was pregnant. But they are absolutely irresistible, right? I’m here to remind you that all those 0-3month outfits are pretty useless. Go ahead, splurge on one or two for a photo shoot but no more than that. If your baby is a summer baby, he or she will be living in onesies. If your baby is born in the winter, he or she will be wearing sleepers all day and all night. Fall or spring? A variation of onesies and sleepers. But the inevitable will happen and you will buy/receive/inherit way too many outfits. No 6 month old needs 5 pairs of shoes! And so, a good quality furniture set is essential and it will last years (probably as long as the convertible crib). After all, you need a place to store all those cute outfits. The nursery furniture doesn’t have to match the crib, nor does it even have to be a completely brand new set. However, opting for a new set will ensure that your child has many, many years to enjoy his or her furniture. One of our most popular nursery furniture sets, from AFG International comes in three shades that are sure to please any nursery style.
Baby monitor This one is a very personal choice but as a mother of two, I promise you I could never have slept soundly without one. As a new mom, it’s hard not to stress out over every little peep your newborn makes. I was so exhausted I feared that I would mistakenly sleep through my baby’s hunger cues. A good baby monitor will last you through several years and several kids. They are, relative to the amount of peace of mind they offer, very inexpensive. If you want to really treat yourself, and if you have the extra budget space, you could always go for the fancy video monitor. An audio monitor like this works well and it’s a solid investment.
Car seat Your child’s safety is most important and we recommend you buy new car seats for your children. Furthermore, we highly advise that you heed the expiration dates on your child’s car seats. In many states, you can’t leave the hospital without a child properly restrained in a car seat. If you own a vehicle, or if your child will be traveling with someone who drives, it’s imperative that your purchase a car seat. Safety 1st car seats are highly safety rated and offer a comfortable ride for your little one.
Stroller or carrier You can choose either or both but unless you plan on staying home for the next year, you’ll need to transport your child. The car seat is essential for travel within the car but the bucket seat is bulky when walking with it. You’ll need a solution that fits with your lifestyle. Some people swear by carriers and some can’t live without their stroller. The right choice is completely up to you. As a mom of two young children, I have a double stroller, a baby carrier and two baby hiking backpacks! If this is your first child and you plan on having more than one child, I highly recommend you purchase a double stroller to begin with. You’ll have extra storage space while you have one child and you’ll save yourself the expense of buying a second double stroller once you have the second child. Tandem strollers like this one are easy to steer and simple to get through doorways. The side by side strollers are meant to be small enough to glide through standard doorways but if you are a frequent mall walker/shopper, I recommend the tandem as it’s easier to get through aisles in department stores and through tighter corners.
- Baby swing or vibrating chair You don’t absolutely need a baby swing or a vibrating chair. If you “wear” your baby, you won’t need one at all but if you’d like a break and the crib isn’t doing it for your child, the soothing vibrations and calm music of a swing or bouncy chair are sure to quiet the screams. The swing/chair was a lifesaver for my colicky child. We certainly don’t recommend that you allow your child to sleep in the swing or chair through the night but the occasional nap for baby (and hopefully you!) is certainly worth the price of those contraptions. Make sure that the fabric is removable and machine washable! These cutes swings are portable and compact:
Most importantly: enjoy this time of discovery. You are, or will be, a fabulous parent!
Choosing the Car Seat 0
Choosing the Car Seat
Safety needs to be a top priority when it comes to your precious baby. There aren’t many more important products than the car seat is when it comes to child safety. The seat needs to fit correctly and be the right type for the particular age and size of the child. A car seat can save a child's life and also save on your car insurance quote. There are a lot of specifics when it comes to choosing and installing the right seat, but it doesn’t have to be confusing or stressful to find the right one for your child. Before purchasing a seat, one needs to know the different types and what criteria a child needs to meet to use each particular one.
Types of Car Seats - Here is the top selling convertible Baby Car Seat
- Infant Car Seat - The first car seat that is purchased is rear facing and is necessary for a child from birth to approximately one year of age. As with all seats, it is installed in a back seat. This model needs to be at a 45° angle, and the harness straps should be at or below the level of the shoulders.
- Convertible - A convertible seat can be a rear or forward facing car seat. It varies according to the manufacturer and model, but most of them can be used for younger children who are between 20 and 40 pounds. This seat should also have the harness straps at or below the shoulders.
- Forward Facing - When a child is about 35 pounds, he can use a forward facing model. In the past, the general guideline was that as soon as a child turned one, he or she could be put into a forward facing seat, but this is no longer what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends. It is best for the child's safety if he remains rear facing for as long as possible-until he outgrows the infant car seat.
- Booster – Once a child reaches 40lbs, he or she may be able to utilize a booster car seat. These seats have the child facing forward and are the final step before he can sit in a car with just a seat belt.
Several important tips and suggestions will make it easier to pick out the perfect car seat. All newly manufactured seats have to pass federal guidelines, so there is no instance where one seat will be safer than another. The only exception to this would be when comparing a new seat to a used seat. It is always recommended to purchase a brand new model.
1. Easy Installation in New Vehicles
All modern vehicles now feature car seat connection points. This LATCH system is found in all vehicles since 2002. These are usually on the back most seat and are sometimes signified with a baby or car seat logo on the upholstery or on a seatbelt. The owner’s manual of the particular vehicle should be reviewed to see if there are any particular precautions or suggestions associated with the model of the car.
2. Is it the Right Car Seat for Your Baby?
Having the child the correct seat will ensure he is the safest. It is always essential that you follow recommended guidelines. This will mean that multiple seats are purchased as a child is growing up.
3. Space Planning before Installing Your Car Seat
Make sure you plan the best vehicle and spot before installing your car seat. A common mistake would be to purchase a car seat only to find that other people are no longer able to sit comfortably or safely in the car. This is especially important if two car seats need to be used in one vehicle. Also, the seat may extend quite a bit past the base of the back. This means that the front seat will most likely need to be pulled forward. Anyone who is tall may then have a difficult time comfortably sitting in the front. Be sure to plan appropriately for all of these adjustments.
4. Easy to Clean Car Seats is Best
Children are messy. There is no denying that fact. Purchasing a car seat that is easy to clean up will save time and aggravation. One that has a removable cover and smooth surfaces is ideal. Anything with excessive amounts of detail or stitching will hold bits of food and dirt.
5. Restraint Harnesses on Car Seats
Most of the models that are available will feature a five point harness. There is a top strap that goes above the shoulders and a lower connection point that will come up between and above the legs attaching to the above pieces. These need to be pulled snug. They do not do their job if they are loose, and they need to be easy for the adult to operate yet difficult for the child to unbuckle.
6. Easy Car Seat Installation is Best
In some cases, a seat will need to be installed and moved to different vehicles. Because of this, the process for installation should only take a short amount of time and be extremely easy. Many seats will have directions and information right on the unit. There is also a level or indicator that will show the user the proper angle for installation.
7. Is the Car Seat the Most Current design?
Before purchasing anything, one should review safety information to ensure that a particular model is up to date and meets current safety standards. From time to time, these standards get revised and various items even get recalled. Because of that fact, shopping at a reputable store like Simple Baby Necessities will mean that only the most current designs are sold.
8. Register and Properly Install Your Car Seat
Once purchased, registering the model with the company will ensure that the users are always up-to-date with any of these safety recalls and with appropriate product notifications. Safety should always be the most important factor when purchasing anything for a young child. With adequate research, it is quite easy to purchase the perfect car seat for your child. One final step would be to have the seat checked by a professional. Many times, local hospitals and police/fire departments will offer clinics where they inspect installed seats at no charge.
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Car Seat Confusion? Simplifying Infant Car Seat Options for Parents 0When you are a new parent or expecting a first child, or just trying to figure out the new guidelines…finding the right car seat can be very intimidating and confusing. We're here to make that a little bit easier
Why Should I Buy a New Car Seat? 0
As strange as it may sound at first, all car seats expire. It varies among manufacturers, but most car seats expire within 6 years from the date they were made. The manufacturer will have a date of expiration listed on your car seat-usually stamped on the bottom. Pay attention to this date, and do not use it beyond that date of expiration.
Car Seats are not safe after a crash:
If a car is in an accident with the car seat in it-whether a child was in the car seat or not-the car seat’s safety has been compromised. The car seat needs to be replaced if the car was in any sort of collision.
Car Seat Recalls:
Car seats, like any other safety product, can get recalled. There are varying degrees of a recall. Sometimes the whole car seat needs to be replaced, and in other cases the manufacturer will just send the owner a part to be replaced.
Car seats not being safe after expiration dates, collisions, and recalls are three big reasons why you should buy a new car seat. If you get a used car seat, you will most likely not have the full history of it. You will not have all the information you need to ensure it is ready to protect your baby in your vehicle. The money you might save getting a used car seat is not worth the risk you are putting on your baby. Your baby’s safety is your priority, so it is certainly worth the small investment of buying a new baby car seat to ensure he or she is given the highest level protection while travelling on the roads.
And, "...every baby deserves to be spoiled."