Home Birth Prep: Installing the Car Seat

One of the most important items on our “Home Visit Checklist” is to ask whether or not you have installed your baby’s car seat. In most cases, since we are doing your checklist visit at around 36 weeks, our clients have not yet had a chance to install the car seat, in which case we ask you to put it on your to do list to complete prior to 37 weeks.

It may seem like it’s not a big deal to have a car seat installed when you are going to have a home birth, but if we run into a situation where we need to transfer you to the hospital for a postpartum concern, not having a car seat installed can be a barrier to having your baby join you at the hospital. Also, if you transfer before the birth, you will need to have the carseat installed in order to be released from the hospital.

While this post is not meant to be instructional on the hows and whys of choosing car seats and installation, we do want to provide you with a little bit of info to get you started, in case you need some guidance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some handy guides on their website. This one talks about different types of car seats, and this one has a tool to help you choose the right car seat for your child. This guide has instructional videos on how to install a rear-facing infant car seat.

When you have installed your baby’s car seat, the next step is to have a professional check your work to make sure it is installed correctly. You can find a car seat inspector by searching here. Often, you can get it inspected at your local fire station, and we can also usually recommend a local inspector.

Thank you for checking this last item off your to-do list – now it’s time to wait for baby’s birth day!