Baby sans automobile

by Milton on Wed, Nov 25th, 2009

in Home,Week 17

Just in case we end up not being able to sell our house before baby arrives, we’re going to have to come up with a strategy for taking care of a baby without the convenience of a car. Our current house doesn’t have a garage, and none are for sale, and parking spaces are hundreds of bucks per month.

Of course, all difficulties merely turn into challenges, and I’m especially interested in challenges that require minimalism and creativity to overcome.  But, I haven’t really thought about it enough to know if it’s even possible.

I like Dear Baby’s take on the car-less life with baby.  Their solution, which has yet to be tested, is:

  • Quinny Zap stroller – 13lbs, can hold a stroller seat or a car seat, folds up real small, has storage, etc.
  • Maxi Cosi car seat – for the first few months when the baby’s too small for a stroller, and also for car travel.
  • Zipcar – for doctors appointments, emergencies, day trips, etc.
  • Taxis + stroller + car seat for quick trips or visits.
  • Moby Wrap or BabyBjorn when we using public transportation, or walks.

I think it can all work. The main wild card is the fear factor of “what if something crazy happens and you need to get to the hospital and every second counts”… a car would clearly be the most convenient option, or an ambulance actually, so we’ll need to come to terms with that fear and see if it’s worth the cost of a car plus $150/month in parking plus insurance and all that.

I’m looking for examples of people who have a newborn and survive without a car. Any tips or tricks or advice would be really helpful! Thanks.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jordan Thu, Nov 26th, 2009 at 2:58 am

We had a car with angus (2 actually). But 9 times out of 10 we left the house on foot. It felt a lot easier (and lighter) to just walk out the door. Normally we’d just take a diaper and a hat. I don’t think you’ll miss the car much. You’ll just spend more time in your neighborhood. Babies love long walks, so going on foot is nice for the baby too. Your equiptment list looks good to me. A inexpensive bucket seat and a snap and go would probably be cheaper and more flexible than the quinny.

No worries. The baby just wants to snuggle you for the first 6 months. They don’t need space or parks or cars.

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2 jess Thu, Nov 26th, 2009 at 5:33 am

you don’t have a car now, so your transportation can be pretty similar to what it is already. how do you get to doctor’s appointments now? how do you get around town now? it will be the same. a good example is a lot of the moms in NYC. they are religious about their strollers because those strollers are functionally their primary vehicles. wraps/slings and a quality stroller that will grow with your baby are invaluable. a car is a huge convenience but don’t let anyone convince you it’s a “necessity.” if you have a car-free lifestyle that works for you, it’s not like someone is handing you a baby AND taking away the car you are totally dependent on at the same time.

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3 Callie Thu, Nov 26th, 2009 at 11:25 am

When I visited my sister in Seattle over the summer, my son was 14 months old, so he was far from a newborn… but, we took a stroller and our Ergo carrier. We ended up using the Ergo the whole time. We walked whenever possible and rode the bus when we absolutely had to. We did not take any cabs, but we did use a zipcar a few times. I was really surprised at how easily we adapted to being car-free.

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4 Kristy Mon, Nov 30th, 2009 at 5:02 am

I think if there is that emergency moment, you can just call for an ambulance. Just make sure you have a carseat at all baby stages just in case. I would use the carseat/carrier and one of those snap-and-go’s for the first couple months, way more comfy to be in the carrier than a normal stroller and then when the baby is old enough to sit up by themselves you can invest in a nice stroller/jogger that will last you the rest of the way. Also if you are out and about and need to jump into a taxi, having the carseat/carrier is good because you can strap those into the car with a seatbelt without the base unit piece. I am a car safety guru so if you need any advice in that area, just let me know :) People might look at me funny but Adelyn is 6 years old and still in a 5-point harnessed seat. Better safe than sorry, I say.

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5 misha Sun, Dec 6th, 2009 at 8:26 pm

We have a car but I don’t really use it very often. I think the grass is always greener in this conversation. You want a car bc you don’t have one and think it will make things easier but if you don’t really use a car now, you’ll be fine without one I think. But I would put some money away now so that once baby is born, and you decide it’s a life must have you won’t feel like you spent a shit load of money you didn’t have.

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6 misha Sun, Dec 6th, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Also I forgot to mention that you won’t be using the car seat to carry baby around for more than 3 months – you will start to feel like the poor munchkin had some space to move around and stretch out. I’ve read stuff about how it squished them and isn’t good for their spines to be all squished up in a car seat. Plus you and Red might become proficient baby carriers and nix the car seat thing altogether. Keep your options open and the zip car thing is really awesome if you have a zip car place close to you.
ok. I think that’s it. for now!

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7 Joshua Daniel Franklin Wed, Dec 9th, 2009 at 10:59 pm

We’ve survived a newborn without a car–twice! We were also nervous about it the first time because all of our relatives recommended a car, but we live walking distance from most everything so didn’t see the need. There is a learning curve with baby carriers like the Mobi or Ergo (I don’t recommend BabyBjorn by the way), but it’s worth it. My wife even went to a couple Seattle Area Babywearing Network meetups to get tips and try out a few different carriers. I also have to point out that babies love being held but hate carseats.

Also just so you’re informed: “Car-free with a kid: the challenges”
http://blog.seattlepi.com/buschick/archives/174322.asp

By the way, our second was born at home with Rainy City Midwifery. Tell Beth that Molly, Joshua, Cedar, and Frances said hi!

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8 julia Sat, Dec 12th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

My baby is three and a half months. He’s never been in a stroller. I walk and take public transportation everywhere. He rides in a Moby every day, an Ergo once in a while, and a car seat only when he is in a car. It’s really easy, actually.

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