Car Seat 101: Installation Videos

Men are visual animals. There’s a reason we don’t read certain magazines for the articles and instead stare at the pictures.

Car seat installation manuals are beasts when it comes to navigating the correct way to install a car seat. Goofy drawings that make Ikea manuals easy. Toss in acronyms and long drawn out directions and it’s tougher for a man to get through than one of his wife’s Shopaholic books.

Car seat installation videos, on the other hand, make life easier. I can see it from different angles, they can talk me through it, I can follow along with the manual. I can stop, rewind, watch it again. If they have videos showing us how to put on airplane seatbelts, there needs to be manufacturer videos for car seat installation.

I’m currently reviewing the Safety 1st Air Protect from Dorel. The manual is like any other manual – tough. They have videos on their website touting the seat’s safety, but not for installation.

I believe the manufacturer needs to be more obvious about these videos and include a dvd in the box, or a clear link to a website with a YouTube video showing me someone doing it properly.

4 out of 5 parents don’t know how to correctly install a car seat. 80%. The car seat can be as solid as a brick wall and as light and cushiony as angel wings, but if I don’t install it properly it’s not going to work.

Car seat installation is the most important part of car seat safety.

Here are some useful car seat installation resources:

BCAA’s Traffic Safety Foundation, with ICBC, has developed a comprehensive Child Passenger Safety Program. It includes a Toll-free Child Car Seat information line: 1-877-247-5551 and car seat clinics.

Carseatsite.com has a comprehensive list of car seat installation videos, some of them even for specific manufacturers.

Dorel, the Safety 1st Air Protect manufacturer, partnered with CanadianFamily.ca to create a video about installation basics.

This post is part of a series encompassing Car Seat 101.

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[Disclosure: Safety 1st gave us a car seat to keep and review. They are not involved in the editorial related to our review and are not a direct sponsor of DadCAMP.]

Hockey Night at DadCAMP

DadCAMP 3 is scheduled for a night out at the rink, The Vancouver Giants host the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Pacific Coliseum, 5p on Sunday, November 15, 2009.

DadCAMP is all about Dads who love being Dads getting together with other Dads and our kids. While we’re a Dad-centric group, we’re not exclusive. If Moms want to come along and cheer on the Giants, they’re more than welcome.

Tickets for DadCAMP 3 will be around $16 each, and you’ll be responsible for your other incidentals. The game is an early start so the toddlers can make it out and, hopefully, last longer than a period. This DadCAMP event is also more appropriate if you’ve got older kids, or maybe you want to come with your Dad!

I’ll have ticket information to get us all sitting in the same section soon. Please RSVP to the post if you want to attend and I’ll contact you with the details.

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Car Seat 101: Infant Seat Choices

Chuck is due in January and we need another car seat.

Choices: 1. convertible seat (one that serves from infants all the way to toddlerdom)
2. infant car seat (the type that looks like a baby basket and only lasts a few months)

For Zacharie we had an infant seat from a friend. I tossed out to Twitter to ask for some advice on the two options. It would be great not to have to buy 2 car seats for Chuck.

Is there anyone that used a convertible seat for an infant and liked it?

@stv convertible. And I totally regretted it.

@Lilikoilane we got an infant only carseat. I loved being able to take it out & attach it to our stroller. Now at 13 mnths we have a convertable

@SlvvrLambStudios infant. easier to have baby in one when you need your hands for other little ones. A tleast in my experience.

@LeftCoastMama I recommend a bucket and base until your baby is older since it is harder to get the convertibles to work for infants.

We’ve received the Safety 1st Air Protect, a convertible car seat to review (and keep), but Jen’s put her foot down on using it for Chuck. (Its now allowed us to have a seat in each of our cars, full review as a toddler option coming soon). Judging by the Twitter response on convertibles, I would agree. It’s a pain in the bank to do 2, but a bigger pain to wake a sleeping infant.

We’re hitting up our new baby friends for another infant car seat, and checking Craigslist a little bit, but that makes me nervous. Car seats are pretty delicate devices, would you buy a car seat on Craigslist not 100% sure of it’s accident history?

Did you use a convertible car seat and not have a problem with it?

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[Disclosure: Safety 1st gave us a car seat to keep and review. They are not involved in the editorial related to our review and are not a direct sponsor of DadCAMP.]

SAHD Means Stay At Home Dad

Men are staying at home. My brother did it by choice, I’m currently doing it (not by choice).

Whether we’re deciding to be a caregiver, or having it decided it for us because we were laid off, Dads are the new Moms.

How motivated are Dads to stay active and involved as at-home parents? They had a SAHD Convention this past weekend.

When fathers are involved in their children’s education, children are more likely to get A’s and enjoy school.

Also violent crime, drug use and teen pregnancy are lower with involved fathers.

To put it succinctly, Dr. Kyle Pruett, Yale University Child Psychology Professor, in the upcoming documentary “The Evolution of Dad,” says, “If you want to reduce gang membership, teen pregnancy, dropping out of school, abuse and neglect of children and substance abuse, you can do it by engaging fathers early and often in the lives of their children.”

At-home dads, as the daily, primary caregivers of their children, are very involved fathers. These fathers, in the most extreme way, are proving the value of fatherhood. And, what’s most exciting, the trend of men choosing to be at home with their children has grown by 60% over the last 4 years, meaning more and more fathers are realizing how positive of an influence they can make upon their children.
[About At Home Dads]

Stay-at-Home Fatherhood On the Rise from TommyG Productions on Vimeo.

Brian Burliner featured in the news story above blogs his stay at home dad life at At Home Father

Jeremy Adam Smith is another SAHD and writes at Daddy Dialetics. He also wrote a book about staying home with the kids, The Daddy Shift.

Did you stay home? Do you wish you could have? How did you decide which of you or your wife would stay home?

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Dads Are Different

As much as I’d rather not admit it, Dads are different than Moms. Sure we’re both parents, but the kids just treat us Dads differently.

This clip from the wildly underrated and always excellent Dinosaurs shows exactly how the kids behave the moment mom leaves the room.

Zacharie always does that to me. He’ll pull all sorts of pranks the moment mom leaves the room. As soon as she walks back in, he replaces his devil’s fork with his angels halo and I’m the bad guy.

Devious, I tell you. Devious.

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DadCAMP 2: The Pumpkin Patch

When we take DadCAMP live, it’s a casual few hours to hang with other dads, take life off the web and play with the kids. We get a few minutes of conversation in between chasing toddlers into mudpits, running off to bathroom breaks or soothing a crying child.

There’s no real organization to our day, it’s just Dads hanging with other Dads and their kids. DadCAMP 2 was a visit to the Country Farms Pumpkin Patch, a set up that takes the taks of wandering around a field with pre-picked pumpkins and kicks it up a few notches. Hay rides, corn mazes, live bands, fresh apples, tractors, petting zoos, and even a Pumpkin Princess are all a part of your visit.

DadCAMP live is just a manifestation of our philosophy that time with our kids, no matter what it is, is a celebration of the best day ever.

Despite a heavy rainfall warning that saw cats and dogs falling from the sky, we had another successful turnout with @AnthonyFloyd, @stv, @_EricLowe, @karlwoll, @kylerstorm and @jaypiddy trudging through the mud to pick a pumpkin.

Congratulations to @AnthonyFloyd who won our DadCAMP prize of an HP A646 portable printer (which was so portable we did a demo from the hatchback of my car in the middle of the pumpkin patch parking lot!)

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You can find more pictures on Flickr by searching the tag “dadcamp.”

DadCAMP 3 is planned for November 15 to see the Vancouver Giants at the Pacific Coliseum. Save the date now, ticket information will be released soon.

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Kids Change Things

Don’t let anyone ever tell you their life doesn’t change after they had kids. It changes. Instantly.

From the moment you hear that first scream, you don’t matter. The survival of that child is the most important thing in your world. That’s an easy concept to grasp, but the thing they don’t tell you is that the survival of every other child in the world is just as important.

5 years ago I would have been chiming in with the rest of the Twittersphere’s one liner fiesta as “balloon boy” sped across a Colorado sky in a homemade balloon yesterday. But as I watched the news erupt, I had a different emotion. Like many other parents, my heart sank. I completely understood the inability for parents to watch their child every.single.second. of the day and could imagine Zacharie stumbling something equally dangerous.

I put myself in the place of the parents watching a silver jiffy pop balloon soar to 7 000 feet before eventually plummeting back down, the whole while believing their 6 year old was inside. The fear, the dread, the angst is undescribable and while Twitter dropped some jokes, Dads got sober – fast.

@AnthonyFloyd In skimming through my Twitter stream, it’s readily apparent who has kids and who doesn’t. Some of you childless ppl seem pretty heartless.

@dougsymington: Hope the wee balloon dude is ok. Meanwhile there are *many* 6 year-olds in your own communities in need of your support

@AnthonyFloyd Since becoming a Dad almost 5 years ago, my emotional tolerance for “bad things happening to kids” has been acutely diminished #BoyInBalloon

@AnthonyFloyd That’s it. Can’t watch video, too much chatter on Twitter. Going dark for a while.

@ChadNorthrup 6 years ago I might have chuckled over the hot air balloon thing, but not today. Amazing how having kids changes my perspective.

@jaypiddy As a father of a 6 year old boy I’ll admit this really made me sad. – Boy in balloon: http://bit.ly/3K3Uv7

@mollywood Also, seriously, thank god they found #balloonboy alive. I just cannot handle that particular type of tragedy.

@michaeleckford I feel you balloon boy, I once hid under the family pool table in a motorcycle helmet. A box in the garage would have been way smarter.

@jaypiddy If I was six and let that ufo sized balloon of my dad’s fly off into the sunset. I would have hid too. #balloonboy

Now, as it turns out, our sympathy for the Father has spun on it’s head. He’s a manipulating liar with anger issues who manufactured a situation to satisfy his own ego.

While you can shout down the Dad and decry the situation, you have to remember – there’s still a little boy stuck in there.

As if to top that unfortunate parenting, another video to shock the senses of any parent came from Australia, where a stroller fell on to the tracks of a train seconds before it pulled in to the station.


Parenting is easy. It’s the caring about every single kid on the planet that can break your heart every day.

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Childrens Books That (Don’t) Suck

Admit it. You’ve hidden (thrown out) more than a few of your kids’ favourite books.

You took them out to visit your aunt at the farm to play with the Barney DVDs and Old Yeller.

How children are immune to insane repetition I will never understand. I’ve tried to keep Zacharie’s music interests to something the entire family can handle, but when it comes to books, the advice from Three Men And a Baby (it doesnt matter what you read, only the tone of voice you read it in) only works for so long.

Soon enough you have to read them “real” kids books.

With Where The Wild Things Are in theatres, Chad Skelton, The Vancouver Sun‘s Curious Dad, has a post up about kids’ books and which ones are the worst.

All dads seem to have an opinion on this one and the repetition of which we need to tell these tales lies at the core of our objections.

Daniel B. Smith at Slate has an axe to grind with Eric Carle‘s Very Hungry Caterpillar.

As of this writing, my daughter is 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days old. Because Eric Carle’s books are practically distributed on maternity wards along with baby formula and nipple salve, and because my wife, like everyone else, thinks they’re wonderful, I have read one of them to my daughter nearly every nap- and bedtime since she was born: 796 consecutive days.
[Slate]

Dads around the world feel your pain, Daniel.

love you forever - robert munschRobert Munsch‘s Love You Forever tops my ‘hate’ list. We received it as a gift when Zacharie was born, however it’s not repetition that makes this book offensive, we read it once and threw it out.

The creepy way the mother and son spy on each other and crawl into bed and cuddle? Ew. I get the spirit of the book, but the story to go along with it is just all kinds of wrong.

Which books have you burned? Which are your favourites?

gossie - olivier dunreaWhen Zacharie was an infant, we fell in love with the art in Olivier Dunrea‘s Gossie series of books and would read them to him often.

When it came time for him to start reading and thumbing through books on his own, we gathered a good collection of Bright Baby vocabulary board books.

Right now Zacharie is loving the Amazing Machines series from Tony Mitton and Ant Parker. My parents have the complete series in one volume and my Dad reads it to him every time he stays over. At our house we have them in individual books and he picks a couple of different ones for story time.

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Where Kids Eat Free

We’ve been sucked in to ordering off the Kids’ Menu a few times we’ve gone out only to have buckets of food left at the end of the meal after Z barely pokes at his Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Fingers or Grilled Cheese. Of course what happens then? Well, WE clean his plate and end up eating waaay too much. One of the biggest traps new parents fall in is eating off their kids’ plates – easy way to gain 10 lbs.

For the first 3 or 4 years, your kids should easily be able to eat off your plate. Restaurants go overboard in portion sizing these days, and if you and your wife can cover off a couple of the kid’s faves you should be able to get the whole family fed.

Hint: one person orders rice, the other orders fries, or someone orders pasta. Easy peasy. (that’s Zacharie nibbling on a Cactus Club teri chicken bowl in the photo)

However, if you’ve got an older one that NEEDS to have their own plate at the table, then check out the list of restaurants where kids eat free in Canada.

Boston Pizza
Kids eat free any day of the week with an adult meal purchase of $10 or more at participating restaurants.

Denny’s
Kids eat free on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 4-10 pm at participating restaurants.

Joey’s Fish and Chips
Kids eat free on Sundays at participating restaurants.

Montana’s Cookhouse
Children eat free on Tuesdays at participating Montana’s restaurants.

Pizza Hut
Children eat free on Tuesdays at participating restaurants.

Swiss Chalet
Children eat free on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at participating restaurants.

Time it right and you might be able to have them “eat for free” every night of the week!

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Asterisk Mode

Okay, your new child is two days old. You’ve been camped in your bedroom for the past 36 hours, wrapped up in all things baby. But you’ve run out of bread and milk and coffee and so it’s time to go to the grocery store.

So you leave your partner with the child, throw on some sweats, and head to the store. You wander the aisles, checking off your list, humming along, and in your head you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow. It’s so nice to be doing something normal again.”

But in your heart all you want to do is race down to checkstand 3 and grab the microphone from the cashier and yell, “WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE ACTING SO NORMAL? CAN’T YOU SEE — I JUST HAD A BABY!”

You could swear it’s obvious, like there’s a big asterisk stamped right on your forehead. All your normal routine little things — things you used to do automatically, reflexively, suddenly have this grandiose context wrapped around them. It’s no longer “getting coffee”; now it’s “getting coffee/just had a baby”. “Paying the bills/just had a baby”.

Of course, nobody can see this asterisk – but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. And don’t worry, eventually it goes away. Well, actually, it doesn’t: instead that asterisk becomes the new normal, and you wonder how you ever managed to pay the bills without it there to keep you company.

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