Saturday, October 9, 2010

Neither seen NOR heard

Once again, mainstream parents have managed to shock me with the lengths they are willing to go to to avoid interacting with their babies.

Today's hottest "must-have" baby accessory

The latest trend on infant accessories is the car seat canopy. This is an outgrowth of the already-established practice of throwing a blanket over the top of a car seat, only these have straps to keep them attached. According to this website, some of the benefits to having one of these things include:

  • Protection from weather and wind
  • Darker/more secure environment for sleep
  • Privacy

You know, I just can't get over how oppressive and bizarre these seem to me. A friend on Facebook posted a link to unnecessary baby products, and I commented this ought to be one of them. Another commenter said this:
i covered up all my kids in the carseat and it was NOT because i didn't want to touch or look at my sweet kids. One would be crazy not to cover up their babies during a WI winter in the middle of 0 degree weather. When you have a newborn in winter the removable carseats are a lifesaver for keeping them warm on snowy/cold days.
While I agree with this, I have yet to see this thing in action during adverse weather conditions. I see them in the store, in church, and anywhere else you don't want to be disturbed by your baby's sights or sounds. I've seen car seats sitting on the floor or in carts, covered the entire 20 minutes, or even 2 hours. I've seen mothers and fathers *only* lift up the cover to give a bottle, and in some cases, prop the bottle and cover it back up again. I've heard babies crying and seen mothers and fathers furiously rocking the car seat without even lifting the cover. But as the above website claims, this is a good thing.

We want our babies protected from the wind and to be warm.

We want our babies to have privacy.

We want our babies to be able to sleep better.

Seems like I've heard and seen this philosophy before...

I believe it makes her feel secure so I try to cover her even though some times I forget.. It also keeps her warm.

I cover the sides to prevent drafts and keep [her] warm

It helps protect them from drafts, helps me to control the amount of light they get, and it seems to make them feel safer and cozier.

it will prevent light and may keep the cage warm. it makes your [baby] feel protected and safe.

I cover night and she has no problem with it. On the contrary, it allows her to get some sleep while I'm up into the night working on book reports and such.

I think it is very important to cover [them]...... Not only do they get a SECURE sleep they need darkness & coziness.. Sleep is VERY IMPORTANT for their health

I only cover them when it's cold out seeing it can get 0 degrees in the winter...

Covering your [baby] doesn't stop them from hearing noises, it stops them from seeing things. My [baby] has a tendancy to start playing...

I got these testimonials from this website. It discusses whether or not to cover your PET BIRD.

Look familiar?

"But Emily," you might say, "How else am I going to keep my baby warm, protected from the weather, protected from germs, and asleep and quiet?" IDK, how about holding your baby?

It won't be long before we start covering their, cribs...too. Oh wait...

Oh, erm, well at least it's only used with babies. It's not like they will remember, and it won't scar them for life. Anyway, it is just a harmless way to keep them covered; we will stop using it when they get older.


Whozat said...

My daughter is almost 2 and it freaks me out when her carseat mirror slips and I can't see her!

(Even though I can always get her to respond if she's awake by asking "What does the kitty say?")

I can't imagine driving with an infant covered up.

The winter that she was tiny (born late October < 5 lbs) we buckled her into the bucket inside and carried her to the car with a blanket over it - until we got to the car.

Everywhere else, we wore her.

Carla said...

the comments from the bird thing - that was the creepiest part.

But of course you could argue that just because it's something you would consider for an animal doesn't mean it's not fit for humans. We give animals soft beds, food, and water - does that make those things inhumane for children? I don't think it's right to cover your baby like this, but you can see how it might be seen from a different perspective.

Emily said...

Sure Carla, very true! I was mainly just trying to draw a comparison of the cage cover itself.

Janeen said...

I have been SO guilty of the whole leave the baby in the car seat thing, SO SO guilty of it. (bad mama, bad mama) There was an article recently from Mothering that I read and it really hit home so now, I really do try to take her out and put her right in the sling. I would NEVER use something like that indoors though! There were times we used a blanket over the car seat like one time when it was really brightly sunny out and one time it was raining (the hood thing had been taken off the car seat) but inside, we didn't put anything over it and now, I'm working a lot more at making sure I take her out and put her in the sling.

April_Mommy said...

Just try to remember that there are exceptions to every rule... Just like the formula discussion from awhile back, there are people that must use things... I am one of them.

Lily is now two months old and just barely cleared 5 pounds. She is tiny, and she is fragile. I use the car seat cover to discourage unwanted dirty hands from touching her. Mostly at the store. Seriously, one lady just stuck her hands right in my car seat to totally uncover my underweight baby who NEEDS to stay warm. I started using the cover at the store and I don't have that problem anymore.

Places like church though, I just hold her, never take the carseat in (because I agree that it is totally lame). And I agree that some people overuse the covers, but there are extremes in any case.

It just so happens that my carseat cover is a blessing to me. I am very careful to not overuse it.

Arual said...

When I think of these car seat covers I actually think of keeping people from touching my baby. There was plenty of unwanted touching by complete strangers--this irresistible urge to touch babies that every person seems to have can be a big deal with their undeveloped immune system and all that. Now that my son is older, I don't worry about it but in the early weeks I considered a car seat cover to keep strangers from caressing my newborn.

Definitely see how they can be misused though. I discovered the best way to keep people from touching my baby was to wear him whenever possible.

Momofthesouth said...

The sad thing is that these kids not only are covered up but left for HOURS on end in those blasted CAR SEATS! They are for the CAR! Gosh, could you imagine if you were laid flat on your back and head ALL.DAY.LONG.EVERY.WHERE.YOU.GO. How uncomfortable. No wonder so many babies have misshapen heads and poor motor skills.

I saw a baby today in the mall who was like 3 or 4 months old, laying in the carseat buckled to the stroller and was EATING CHEERIOS!!!!!!!!!! :O She had no pincher grasp or palmer grasp and still very much had a tongue thrust, I can only imagine when she will choke on one of those things. Parents are so ill informed of how babies work and what their needs are.

Christie said...

Like someone else just said, there are exceptions to every rule. I was happy to see these.
Because my husband and I share a car, and I have to walk my son to and from school every day. Last year when my daughter was a newborn, I put her carseat on the stroller (because she couldn't fit well in the stroller) and often with weather and sun, the trip was miserable and I had to rig PUL with safety pins and whatnot to try to do what this product does.

(And before you ask why I didn't just wear her all the time... I've got serious back and neck problems from a car accident. I wear her when I can, but there are days when I absolutely can't manage it.)

However... I AM with you guys in that the general use of this product is not going to be like what I described. It's going to be yet another way to pretend the baby isn't even there while grocery shopping (poor babies never leave the seat the whole trip!).

CrunchyVTMommy said...

The thing is my baby likes to smoke. Im not a smoker. I bought the cover to give her a little privacy and prevent her second hand smoke from getting near me.

Ok but seriously people are sick. Thats all there is to it. WHY do they have kids? WHY!

Also I love your blog. First time visitor.

Anonymous said...

Why does no one seem to have heard of positional asphyxia!? Babies can easily die in car seats from it, especially when no one is bothering to keep an eye on them & rescue them. Car seats should not be used for more than an absolute max of an hour at a time without getting the baby out for awhile.

Every time I see a covered up car seat, unless it's obviously just from the car to inside, it makes me want to scream. Up here, people usually use fleece. Even in the middle of summer. Between positional asphyxia, heat stroke & the increase in SIDS in babies who've been overheated, it's really a wonder any of these babies make it out of the being covered up stage. But I'm the one who gets dirty looks for not bundling my kid & covering him.

Anonymous said...

I so agree with you on this one. and I to call the crib the cage. lol

~Darlene~ said...

I loved this! I had to laugh at your closing comments and the photo!

I agree with you completely!

Morgan -Ing said...

I freaking hate those carseat covers. They are HORRIBLE. Of course I don't own one of those carry-car-seats either. It's the sling for me. :)

Erin said...

Ha ha on the comparisons to the bird cage cover... I didn't even know you weren't talking about babies there other than the part that said "cage" instead of "carseat!"

Other top unnecessary baby products would have to be the "elephant ears" bottle holder, and the "zaky" hands. Of course, I might be able to see an exception where a baby product like one of these could be useful, but in most normal situations, they are useless and potentially damaging if overused. I recently saw a mom prop a bottle of formula mixed with rice cereal (I assume, because a thick brownish substance was oozing out of the bottle nipple) in her baby's mouth and then cover his infant car seat so he could not be seen. Luckily, he spit the bottle out and cried, so she uncovered him.

Emily said...

Yep, I agree there are situations where they could be useful, but for the most part, all these modern devices are simply used to fit the modern mother's paradigm, in which the baby is seen as more of an accessory than a lifestyle, and everything is done to provide more convenience and less contact. Typical human mothering activities, such as natural childbirth, breastfeeding, cosleeping, babywearing, etc, are frowned upon as "backwards" or "gross," while dissociative behaviors more typical of a pet owner, such as leaving them to feed on their own, placing them to sleep in a separate room (and subsequently ignoring any nighttime crying), and expecting them to "entertain themselves" for the most part, are viewed as normal. In today's world, it is fashionable to have children, but not to be a mother.

Erin said...

Yes, I recently wrote a blog post about that myself - that many baby items and programs/procedures (such as crying it out) are actually opposed to basic biology of babies, and that the real norm is to follow the baby's biology. Many parents assume they "need" these items because they are everywhere and suggested by baby registries, and then it is a wake-up call to them when the baby hates the bouncy seat, or the crib, or whatever else... if parents had realistic expectations of what a normal baby is like, then they might not be as frustrated when trying to fit the baby into cultural norms like being covered up in an infant seat for hours each day.

Charity Activist said...

What I don't understand is how parents consider these things more "convenient." They're pretty heavy. My son was a heavy boy and sometimes it hurt my back to wear him (that's when I sometimes had to resort to the stroller.) I can't imagine the back pain if I had been lugging him around in a car seat carrier.

Besides, they're pretty cumbersome. It's like carrying an overloaded suitcase with no wheels.