Out and About
Lessons learned from my first outing with Callister.
My grandson got his two-month vaccinations a few weeks ago, so his parents gave me the green light for our first outing. I decided to start with something simple, a trip to one of my favorite hangouts, Old School Bagel Cafe on Yale. It’s close to my house and I almost always know a few people there, so I thought it would be a good place to start.
It’s been a long time, a very long time, since I packed a diaper bag. In fact, I realized I didn’t even have a diaper bag but decided a backpack would do just fine, maybe even better than a diaper bag. With the backpack in hand, I started packing what I thought we’d need for an hour outing. Three diapers and wipes, an extra outfit, a blanket, a bottle, a pacifier and a washcloth. I have no idea why a washcloth but why not? I also packed my wallet, phone and keys in there so I wouldn’t have to carry a purse.
With the backpack filled with baby stuff, I carried Callister out to the car and buckled him safely into the car seat. It’s not easy, and it’s taken me a few tries to get it right. In fact, I posted a picture of the very first time I drove him the mile between my daughter’s house and mine, and it was a good thing I did. Social media does occasionally serve a good purpose, and one of my smart, sharp eyed friends spotted that I had the car seat buckled incorrectly. She was very nice about it, sending me a private message to avoid publicly embarrassing me. I wasn’t at all offended, I was thankful! Car seats are not easy, and it’s crucial to install and use properly! Another safety trick I’ve decided to implement is placing my backpack/diaper bag in the back seat. Sadly, it seems we are less likely to forget to get our cell phones out of the car than to get our children/grandchildren out. My grandson loves music, so I use the Pandora App. on my phone (keeping it inside the outer pocket of the backpack/diaper bag) and play Disney songs on the phone to entertain him as we drive. As much as I want to believe I would never forget my grandson, why not have some safety checks in place?
We arrived at our destination and were lucky enough to get a close parking place. A close parking place is not usually a priority for me but, faced with the prospect of carrying a car seat with a two-month-old, a close place was a big bonus. I managed to get the car seat out of the car and carried it in-somewhat awkwardly- ordered my food and sat down. Callister started getting a little fussy, so I decided to give the pacifier a try. I searched every single pocket of the backpack and then searched again. Somewhere between home and the bagel shop, the pacifier had gone missing! I was a little panicky, but fortunately he fell asleep when I rocked the car seat and I got to enjoy my coffee and bagel.
Our first outing was a moderate success but there are a few things I learned that may make our next trip in public more successful:
- Pack the diaper bag carefully and then double check to make sure you have all the essentials plus some of the things that might come in handy. The missing pacifier was found on the garage floor. Next time I’ll pack two just in case.
- Go online and check out the proper way to buckle the car seat. I googled the brand and the words “proper buckling images” and came up with pictures showing me how it should look.
- Plan a tactic to ensure you will remember to get the child out of the car at your destination. For me, I’m doing the cell phone in the diaper bag placed in the back seat. My husband is not attached to his cell phone so he’s decided he will take off his left shoe and place it in the backseat.
- How will you carry the child around? I see parents carrying car seats around and thought this looked like a good idea. I don’t consider myself a frail person, I do triathlons, but the weight of the child and the car seat make for an awkward carry that left me with an aching back. A small, fold up stroller is in my future!
- Take a friend. It would have been nice to have had someone with me to stay with my grandson while I went to the bathroom or got coffee.
We have many outings in the future, and I know that it will get smoother as I become more practiced and knowledgeable. I have already started planning more “field trips” for us, beginning with “My First Storytime” at the library, the zoo, parks, the new pool at the Tandy Family YMCA, Oklahoma Aquarium and a little further down the line, The Children’s Museum. I’m looking forward to watching him learn and explore all the wonders of the world, or at least Tulsa!
Safe Kids offers monthly and quarterly car seat checkup events. If you have a question about whether or not you’ve installed a car seat correctly, check out their events calendar to find an upcoming checkup. http://kohlskidsthinksafe.com/events/