Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Cost of Inflation

My morning’s research into infant car seats showed me that a lot has changed since my children were babies. Today’s car seats have all sorts of bells and whistles and prices that would have bought a crib back then. I’m not sure I could afford to raise children today if the price of car seats is indicative of how much it costs! Take a look at this.

For as long as I can remember hospitals have had a policy of not sending a baby home in a car without a car seat. But I thought there used to be programs within the hospital for those who couldn’t afford one. Arlington Hospital confirmed the rule still is enforced and they no longer provide any assistance.

I looked into used car seats and found numerous admonishments about their safety. Calls to the Salvation Army and Good Will would indicate they may not even carry them for that reason.

It used to be that subscribers could get car seats for $25 from Geico, in an effort to support safety and as a perq for their customers. I called to find out that program had been discontinued. I guess they think everyone can now afford to be safe on their own.

I called Glenda's school to see if they might have some leads on a free or affordable car seat. It turns out car seats are given out to students who attend a one-hour class given by the Arlington Car Seat Safety Program. My suspicion is that Glenda either didn’t attend the class or they ran out of car seats that day. I just spoke to the woman who runs the program who insisted she still had to take a one-hour class, even though she is currently in the hospital giving birth. She is verifying who got the car seats after the most recent class.

The cheapest new infant car seat I have found goes for $49.99 at Kids R Us. If all else fails, I will just go buy it. A $50 car seat is starting to sound like a real bargain!


Blogger steve said...

Truly, you are a Hasid and follow a glorious spiritual path!!!
yeah, Barbara!!!
(did i say all that rightly?)

12:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- Good enough! And thanks. But as usual, my husband is the really resourceful one. He found a used car seat on e-bay guaranteed not to have been in an accident for $20. The seller lives just a few miles from us.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I was going to offer $$ as my own RAK. I still will. I'd like to buy it if I can give you the money on Thursday.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- You are too kind, but the car seat is already paid for and didn't cost much. I wished the lining were pink and stopped to buy fabric, but it would have cost more than I paid for the used car seat, so I just decided the baby would learn to love her blue car seat cover.

I'm just hoping she has something substantial to dress her in when she comes home from the hospital. You might keep your eye out for a gently worn bunting, snowsuit, or whatever to keep out the winter cold.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes at your local health department, you can get a free car seat-- try it! Good Luck! Thanks, Tina

12:38 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Car seats are a lot better now-a-days than they used to be.

Car seats also expire. I think this is just to avoid having to determine if they meet the latest safety regulations. So used car seats hard to come by (laws in the US may be different).

We ran into a similar problem when taking Tania from the hospital almost 9 years ago. We had a car seat in the car and a bassinet like thing for carrying her around. Because the bassinet was not part of the car seat, they did not want to let us go. They insisted I brought the car seat into the hospital and place Tania into it.

I countered that was pointless because I was going to transfer Tania out of the bassinet and into the car seat. The car seat was not one of those with a removable carrier, so installing and removing it, fastening all the belts was a real pain.

After some discussion, they finally let us go with the grudging air of "it will be upon your head".

I think it would have been easier to have taken a bus.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Tina -- You are quite correct, but I didn't have the luxury of time to pursue this route. I ended up spending only $20 for a car seat that is in great shape which my husband found on Craig's List.

Richard -- I am so impressed with all the features on my $20 car seat. When our children were young, they were very utilitarian.

I can appreciate your story about bringing Tania home. Hospitals take the car seat thing very seriously.

However, when I posed the question of what would happen if someone couldn't get a car seat, they said they would just send her home in a cab -- as though cabs are immune from traffic accidents!

10:20 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Cabs and busses are exempt from the law (at least in Canada).

9:01 AM  

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