How long can I keep LO in car seat while shopping

posted 2 years ago in Parenting
  • poll: How long can I keep LO in car seat while shopping
    Only a couple hours at most recommended : (65 votes)
    86 %
    3-4 hours to run some errand through the day : (11 votes)
    14 %
    5-8 hours for a full day out and about : (0 votes)
  • Post # 61
    5858 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: July 2018

    livster :   Right now on the rare occasions that I work from home 2 days in a row, I end up with major cabin fever!


    There are literally a million things between going to target for four hours every single day and not leaving the house for days on end. 

    What even is there to do the second day after spending four hours there the day before? 

    Post # 62
    3225 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    I will say, my baby has taken many of his afternoon naps at Target. If he’s fighting naps I strap on the Lillebaby and roam the aisles while he snoozes away. Yes sometimes for hours at a time. He loves it in there for some reason! My husband is not so pleased because that leaves me loootts of time to get things I never knew I needed. 

    Post # 63
    1229 posts
    Bumble bee

    zzar45 : I don’t know. I don’t particularly like Target (or big box stores in general), so it wouldn’t be how I choose to spend 4 hours.  But I’m pretty sure the OP started this thread solely to get feedback on how long it is appropriate to keep her baby in a car seat, not to get our general opinions on what particular activities she chooses to indulge in. If she said she spent 4 hours visiting different museums around her town, I hope the feedback would still be the same (that is, don’t keep your baby in a car seat for longer than X hours).

    Post # 64
    2785 posts
    Sugar bee

    I think bees are being way too harsh here. “Stay sane” to me is just a saying. “Well-behaved” baby is just how she worded it, nothing alarming. I read tons of posts and articles referring to babies as “easy baby” “angel baby”….there was even a baby book I read (eating, sleeping, being ftm practices) and it classified babies into categories and gave tips on how to approach each (I don’t remember all of them, but something along the lines of easy, sensitive, passionate, grumpy). I am a ftm to 6 mo old twins – and “well-behaved” to me meant “baby who is not colicky, not crying a lot, is generally content, doesn’t need to be constantly held, sleeps without much effort…etc.

    And OP explained that super long outing was one time occurrence, usually her other trips are much shorter. There is nothing wrong wanting to get out of the house with the baby, some people are more introverted and love staying home in pjs cuddling, some are not, and need constant interaction, can’t sit at home for a day type – and just because one became a mother does not mean she is all of a sudden a different person who wants to stay home all day every day cooing at her baby. I had a c-section with twins, and I could not stand to stay home all day after less than a week – after that I was out and about and made it a point to get out almost every day (even though it was a hassle with 2 infants).

    And newsflash – this age, babies are a little boring. They sleep almost every hour, eat, poop….there is not a lot of play and interaction yet.  I can’t wait until I can do kids activities with the girls, but in the newborn stage I do things I like, want to do, and they come along for the ride. They would not know the difference if they are in a store with things to look at, or at a baby and me class (that a lot of times, baby sleeps through the whole thing anyways).

    At 6 weeks, tummy time is still supposed to be relatively short, and she is giving her baby tummy time daily, holding her baby at home, plays, etc.

    In other countries, the culture is not that mom stays with her baby at home 24/7 and does nothing but coos with the baby – parents continue lives as usual and baby comes along for all the adventures (while still being very well taken care of, fed, held, cuddled, loved, etc).

    However, I do believe that for outings, a baby carrier would be a much better option than a travel system. You get to bond, baby gets used to your smell, warmth of your body, etc. And you can move faster than when having to push a stroller. Ha. I wish I could baby wear all the time, but with 2 it was more challenging so I always have to have a stroller with me. I wish I could throw it away, I hate that heavy, bulky, bus looking thing 😉

    Post # 65
    2785 posts
    Sugar bee

    zzar45 :  Who made that guideline? Most people go to work for 10 hours a day every weekday. If she is used to a fast paced busy lifestyle, how is wondering Target for 4 hours “worse” or “less normal” than lets say sitting in front of TV watching netflix for hours/days on end during maternity leave?? She is not getting drunk and high and dragging her newborn to a rave party Geesh.

    Post # 66
    209 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    I think your instincts are right that a whole day in the carseat is too long.  I wish that my baby would have been agreeable to shopping and dining out all day, instead we stayed at home a lot because she had colic… and the only thing that made her not cry was holding her while bouncing on an exercise ball. So I say good for you guys!!  

    Now that the colic stage has passed I also very much enjoy getting out of the house (as does my extroverted baby!) and have found it useful to keep a variety of baby carriers/other items stashed in the car… I will list them in case this helps you in choosing what to get:

    1. A K’tan for a quick run in run out type errand (it’s a wrap without wrapping so it’s the fastest to get on and off, but it’s not as supportive) 

    2. An Ergobaby 360 for longer baby wearing.  (Much more supportive and being able to position the baby forward or inward facing is really really really helpful) We also use ours for hiking. Just as an aside, my baby was very picky about carriers until about 4 months so don’t be discouraged if your baby resists at first.  (also check out BWI and see if there’s a chapter near you! the one by me let’s you check out carriers to try for a week at a time) 

    3. A blanket! I have a floor mat by Tiny Toys and a thick quilt.  Whenever the weather’s nice outdoors or I am somewhere kid friendly enough indoors (library, friend’s home) it’s super pleasant to put the baby on the ground/floor and play.   

    4. Stroller.  I have a travel system and when she was younger I used the bassinet all of the time.  Now that she’s older we use the normal seat.    

    5. Shopping cart seat cover.  I never thought I’d want one of these, but around 6 months my baby could hold herself up really well and loved sitting in the cart.  It’s nice to have a cover so that she doesn’t suck on the bars… ewww….

    6. Phil and Ted Lobster seat. It clamps onto a table. If you are dining out a lot or traveling when your baby is a bit older, this is handy.  Babies can sit in it earlier than using the standard high chair at a resturant and it takes up less room at the table.  We used to just hold her in our laps, but once she started eating solids and grabbing everything within a large radius it was nicer to have her in her own chair.   You can also use this on an island/breakfast bar- which we’ve found helpful while traveling.  

    Obviously some of this are for older babies, but I figured I’d share them in case you were interested.  When I’m out and about I try to not spend too much time in any one place and I use a different type of item each place we go.  (grab a coffee down the street using a stroller, run into the drug store with the Ktan wrap, head to target with her in the shopping cart, play with her at the park on her blanket… you get the idea) 

    I also want to encourage you to trust your own judgement … soon your baby will be more active and probably won’t tolerate as much time in the carseat anyway and you’ll naturally adjust. I hope this wasn’t more than you wanted in response, feel free to ignore if it was! 

    Post # 70
    8774 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    pglt09 :  

    God I thought you meant left alone  in a car  at first  reading , the answer to which  would  be NO TIME of course , but just in there  with you while shopping  ,if asleep,  couple of hours or more is fine ( not  10am  – to 7pm  though !!) n . I’d go for a sling though,   myself.  

    Post # 71
    2785 posts
    Sugar bee

    RobbieAndJuliahaha :  “Your blithe ‘all good, got it covered, y’all can move along now’ attitude is concerning.” – What about if someone who is a new mom, is genuinely having it “all good” and is a happy adjusted new mom. Her post did not resonate PPD at all. All she said was she likes to get out of the house, and this outing was unusually long, usually it is a run to target, grocery store, somewhere else to get out.

    I honestly think a lot of bees are on her case not because they are “concerned” but because they feel envious or inadequate that they were not this “happy, adjusting well, confident to get out early on” and there must be something wrong with her, because no one can adjust to motherhood so easily.


    Post # 72
    9632 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    solnishko1186 :  lol I adjusted to motherhood just fine. I took my baby to the store, restaurants, visiting with family, just about everything I used to do before I had her. But she wasn’t in the carseat the whole time…

    And I completely get wanting to get out of the house, but the baby needs to come first. Keeping a young infant in a carseat for up to 4 hours every day is not healthy IMO. PPD can manifest in a lot of different ways; someone “not realizing” they had their baby in the carseat from 10-7 PM sort of raises a red flag for me personally.

    Post # 73
    1327 posts
    Bumble bee

    Haha, wait a minute here… Okay, so. You’ve got your BABY strapped into a seat for 4-9 hours a day? I mean, is that what this boils down to? Am I missing something? No, really, disabuse me of any misinterpretation, as that’s what I read. Baby strapped in seat for 4-9 hours. 

    Post # 74
    1297 posts
    Bumble bee


    solnishko1186 :  I disagree.  I’m not a parent and I saw red flags everywhere, so I’m certainly not jealous.

    I have no problems with new moms wanting to get out of the house.  The way the OP stated it though, being out of the house for hours on end with the baby stuck in the car seat all day was a daily or near daily occurrence, and that’s what the other Bees are commenting on.  Not to mention it wouldn’t occur to you at all, gee, the baby has been in the car seat the majority of a 10 hour outing sometime during that day?

    All parents make mistakes and do the best they can, and I’m glad the OP came for advice.  Now she knows (hopefully) it’s not a good idea to keep an infant in the car seat that long.  But I think it’s a stretch for you to say the Bees that gave her a hard time are just jealous.

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