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The kids and I recently took a trip to Florida to visit family. My husband made the trip from Denver to Orlando with us and stayed for the first week we were there. The kids and I stayed almost a week longer since we didn’t have any camps or big events to rush home for. Flying with multiple children (or even one, depending of the temperament of said child!) is always a daunting task. I was thankful that my husband would be along to help on the over three hour direct flight.

Since Cooper is now three, he needs his own ticket. Though I miss the days buying one less ticket, I absolutely love not having a big, sweating, squirmy baby on my lap. There are few things as difficult as trying to cram yourself under the seat in front of you to retrieve food, toys, pacifiers, spit up cloths or clean diapers with a toddler on your lap. The last flight I took with Cooper was a disaster…so bad that if his tantrum had happened while we were still waiting to take off, I’m pretty sure we would have been escorted off the plane. His ears were hurting, which I could tell by how he held them and screamed, but also, he just wanted off. He wanted to jump, to run, and get off mommy’s lap. That made two of us. So this time, I decided we’d bring his car seat on the plane instead of checking it with our bags.

Because I needed a way to get the car seat through the airport and onto the plane, not only with the help of my husband, but also without his help on the way back, I looked at the various options on the market to roll it through the airport. Most of the options I found online looked complicated and I wasn’t sure if they would require more concentration to take on and off the car seat than I felt I would be able to manage quickly and efficiently while simultaneously micromanaging three children or they were made specifically for a certain brand of car seat. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money so I decided to try a little MacGyver Mommy experiment.

The next time I was at Target, I picked up a two pack of bungee cords…and they were on clearance for three dollars and change. Perfect. I got them home and packed my rolling carry on size suitcase with a quilt while I conducted my experiment. I put the back of the car seat flat against the front of the suitcase and threaded one of the bungee cords through the hole that would hold a seat belt when strapping the car seat in forward facing. I pulled the cords though and then crossed them over each other behind the suitcase in an X before pulling them up and hooking them onto the soft handle. Then I took the second cord and wrapped it around the top part of the car seat and looped it around and made an X with that bungee cord before hooking it both ends on to the extendable handle. When I tilted the suitcase back to roll it behind me, the bottom of the car seat didn’t hit the floor. 20140727_161019_resized_1

The next step was to see if I could not only pull the seat and the suitcase with my bungee cord contraption, but Cooper as well. I strapped him in his car seat, and tested it. With his extra weight, I realized I needed to make the bungee cords even tighter. A pull here and a pull there and voila, I could easily drag the suitcase, the car seat and a strapped in Cooper through the airport. And I could wear my backpack/diaper bag/carry-on on my back.

On the day we were actually flying, my homemade contraption worked perfectly. I wasn’t sure if it would fit rolling down the aisle of the plane (ideal) or if I would have to disassemble it just before we boarded and have my husband carry it above the heads of the other passengers (not at all ideal). I am happy to say, it was tight, but we were able to roll it between the aisles and all the way to our seats. This was going to be a key part in the level of ease or difficulty I would have on our return to Denver without Daddy. Phew!

If you are planning a trip with your baby, be sure to read my past blogs: Packing the Perfect Cloth Diaper Bag and Traveling with Cloth: Mission Accomplished.

 

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If you intend to travel with a car seat for your infant or toddler, make sure it is labeled by the manufacturer as “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” It should be on a sticker on the side of the car seat. You can see the sticker on our car seat in the picture on the left.

Do you bring a car seat on the plane? And if so, how? It’s not easy!

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It was a sunny Sunday after about eight years ago. I was on a short hike with our two big dogs and my husband and Lauren, who was about ten months at the time, were hanging out at home. As I was a few blocks from the house, I heard sirens and they sounded close. I was friendly with several of our neighbors, two of whom were very elderly, so I assumed that something must have happened–a fall or worse.

A minute later, my cell phone rang. It was my husband. “The ambulance is at our house. Don’t panic. Lauren was choking but she’s fine now.” Ambulance? Choking? What? Panicking was an instinct not an option. I sprinted home.

When  I got there, the EMTs were loading Lauren, in her car seat, onto the stretcher. Still confused, I climbed in with her. They told me that she needed to go to the hospital to be checked out even if she seemed fined. Protocol I guess, for when anyone calls 911 for a child.

Before I could get the story about what had happened, we were off. Lauren fell asleep almost immediately so I called my husband and asked “What happened? What was she choking on?” He told me that she had been standing by the front door (she wasn’t walking yet) and suddenly he noticed that she was gasping and coughing. She turned bluish and her eyes rolled back in her head. He grabbed her and ran outside to the front yard so that he could try to clear her airway and yell to a neighbor to call 911 at the same time.

Since I had taken Infant and Child CPR and First Aid through the Red Cross before taking a job as a nanny, I had shown him the basics: Lay the infant face down across your arm with her head lower than her body, cradle her chin in your hand. With the heel of your other hand, thrust blows downward just below the baby’s shoulder blades. He did this and yelled for our neighbor to call 911. After a few tries, an earring back flew out of Lauren’s mouth and she began to breathe again. Phew. But the ambulance was already on its way. 18155

At the hospital, Lauren was examined and then X-rayed to see if she had swallowed a foreign object. Sure enough, there was an industrial-sized carpet staple sitting in her stomach. We guessed that both objects had been lodged in her airway and that one had gone up and one had gone down when my husband wacked her on the back saved her life.

As scary as that incident was, it was not the only time it happened. About six  months later, we had people over and someone gave Lauren half an olive to try. What we didn’t know was that she had a dry cleaning tag already tucked in her mouth. She began to choke again and this time I was the one who flipped her over and got the offending items out of her mouth. I was expecting only to find the half olive that she had been eating but was surprised to fish out the pink piece of paperboard as well. This time, we didn’t bother to call 911 since we could see that she was breathing normally right away. She was fine. I wasn’t though. I couldn’t believe it happened again. Where was she finding these things? We kept our house clean and I picked up “chokers” as I called any small item whenever I saw them. It just goes to show that you can’t prevent all accidents from happening no matter how careful you are. You have to be prepared for things to go wrong. Babies and toddlers have ways of finding the tiniest things in couch cushions, under area rugs and embedded in carpet pile. If there is something they can fit in their mouths, they will find it.

I’m awfully glad I learned those seemingly simple but life-saving techniques before I became a mother because when the time came, the motions were instinctual.

Have you had any close calls with your baby? Are you CPR and First Aid Certified and if not, to you plan to be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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