Truly. Have you ever installed a car seat? Properly? It is a hair-raising nightmare, is what it is. For real. My hair is raised in all crazy directions because I have pulled at it in frustration so much.
My youngest, my dear baby girl, turned 2 this past weekend. Which means, by the Glory of God, we can abandon the infant bucket seat that now weighs as much as a baby elephant when she’s in it for the great joy of a forward-facing seat that stays in the vehicle. Sure, this means we had to purchase 2 of these amazing contraptions, for the very reasonable price of 1 arm and 2 legs, but we will not have to carry them anywhere. No worries about forgetting to the leave seat at daycare with the child so Parent #2 can do pick-up. She’s forward-facing in the vehicle, and we’re facing forward to the future! A future full of freedom!
Just…as soon as we get the damn things installed. We’ve been through this before, of course. We have a 5 year old. He’s slight for a 5-year old, so he’s still in a full-on 5-point harness seat. But, of course, the one for Baby Girl was a different brand because trends change and sales. I have to buy the one on sale.
We put it off all weekend. No one wants this chore. Finally, I bit the bullet. I backed the car in so that I might be shaded a bit by the door. That was a nice idea, but it was still HOT out. Which helped my temper so very, very much. I got the old seat out. And the car seat base.
Imagine, for a moment, what I might have found beneath an object that has sat beneath my child for approximately 2 years, including innumerable car trips of varying lengths.
Pretty much this:
So I vacuumed that all up.
Got the new seat out of its box. Read the instructions carefully. I can do all of this quite well. I get the damn thing into the car. Start threading the belt through the back. This part you have to do blind, because this particular car seat doesn’t allow you to move the padding out of the way. No, you reach blindly through, hoping to God and Allah that the damn thing doesn’t twist. Get it out the other side.
It’s totally twisted. How in the hell did that happen!?
Push it back through the way it came. Start over.
Back to the other side. Things are looking good. Get it latched into place. This is the hard part for me. Now I have to climb INTO the seat, forcing my weight into it as hard as I can, while simultaneously pulling the belt tighter. And pull!
I pull until I can’t pull it anymore, lock it into place, and step out to admire my handiwork. Just a little test wiggle…
MOTHER OF GOD.
The damn thing doesn’t “wiggle”. It’s gyrating like a goddamn bucking bronco you ride at the fair.
I believe the recommendation is that it move less than an inch? A centimeter? It’s basically not supposed to move. You know, so in case of a crash it stays in place and does its job protecting your Innocent Snowflake’s life.
This happens every time. I understand the process. I can go through the motions. But I cannot for the life of me get the belt tight enough. EVER.
So I go to my husband in defeat, and ask him to finish the job. Every time people!
The car seat thing is reason enough to only have 2. We’ve decided these seats are never coming out again. Ever. They can ride in them when they’re 30.
For those of you thinking there must be a better way, well, I had that thought too. If there is, please bring it to my attention. If you think the LATCH system is the answer…do not bring that to my attention. Yes, I am aware of the LATCH system. We tried it once and could never get the seat as snug as with the damn belt. Do both you say? Here’s the PSA: DON’T do both. It actually is not how it is designed and is less safe that way. Serious. Ask your nearest firefighter who is trained in car seat installs. (I did)