Travel with children has changed. We all have memories of snoozing in the back window of the Pontiac on long family trips. One time my dad made a platform/pen in the back of the Grand Torino for a trip to Washington.
When we were a bit older, we had a baby blue, four-door, diesel Volkswagon Rabbit. It only had two seat belts in the back so dad took an old belt out of the Plymouth (it is still parked under our tree house at Grandpa’s) and installed it in the middle for my sister’s car seat. She was the dividing wall and my brother and I fought over her in the car seat all the way to Grammy’s house… it explains so much. Yes, people, that is correct. 3 children & 2 adults plus gear in a RABBIT for a NINE hour (plus construction & potty breaks) drive.
Now we have rules. I just learned that in New Jersey the law for car/booster seats is 8 years or 80 pounds. I wasn’t 80 pounds until I was freshman in high school. (almost) Seriously. I was one of those skinny kids who got a “more pounds than inches” party (with cake) when I was finally heavier than I was tall (oh, how I long for those days). I know, the law says I would have been out of the booster at age 8 (Fourth Grade). I just can’t see my fourth grade self in a booster. Most kids where I grew up were driving a grain truck in the fourth grade.
The most expensive gear we have purchased for our child is car seats. We got the infant baby bucket as a gift from my parents. We dropped about $120 (on sale, of course) for an Evenflo seat that looks like a papsan chair. We spent $170 (sale price again) for a Britax Roundabout for Andy’s rig. Britax is supposed to be THE car seat to have. It has a nice plush cover. As I look at our baby budget I realize car seats have cost us more than ALL the other baby furniture we have purchased. By a long ways. True, I am very cheap and admit I love hand-me-down stuff (crib, exersaucer, swing, basinet, pack-n-play, backpack, jogger stroller). We got some great gifts (baby bucket seat, high chair & bouncy seat). The only big things we bought new were the two carseats, the breast pump (ebay), the baby jail (you MUST have one of these), the stroller (clearance $40) & the crib mattress (I just couldn’t use the hand-me-down one that had been in the Quonset with the mice). Oh, and the $20 humidifier & FP crib aquarium that SAVED MY SANITY in those first few months.
This post started out as a serious essay (hah!) about the pros & cons of increased measures for the safety of children and turned into a laundry list of baby gear. Do you see what is wrong with my life? Focus and the ability to create a cohesive thought are not high on my “ability” list right now.