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The Best Car Seats for the City

Car seats. They keep your precious cargo safe. But when you live in the city, safety isn't the only factor. Indeed, there are a lot of options and features to consider, and many car seats out there can be quite expensive. So choosing the right one for your family can feel overwhelming, if not impossible. Since it is child passenger safety week, we decided to do the bulk of the work for you and have picked the car seats that experts and parents alike tout as the crème de la crème.

From those with narrow frames to those that are easy to install, here are 13 options that urban parents should seriously consider.

NARROW

Diono radian rXT. If you’re a city dweller with a small car or a large family of five, you may want to opt for a car seat with a smaller frame. The Diono radian rXT is only 17 inches wide, which means you can fit three across the backseat of most midsize cars. It also provides major longevity, since it can be used for an infant and can even converts into a booster seat. Plus, the frame folds flat for storage and travel. That being said, it isn’t the easiest car seat on our list to install, nor is it the lightest. So it's probably best for parents who plan to keep it installed in one main car. $299, buy here.

Clek Fllo. The Clek Fllo also features a narrow footprint and fits three to a vehicle’s backseat. Clek Fllo is known for its safety features, including an included anti-rebound bar, advanced side impact protection, steel frame construction and energy absorbing technology. An added safety benefit, this car seat allows for extended rear-facing of up to 50 lbs and 43 inches. Like the Diono, all those safely features make it quite heavy and can take a little more time to install. But we love it because we can trust that it's with us for the long haul. $379, buy here.

LIGHT

Nuna PIPA lite. The lightest infant car seat on the market is none other than the Nuna Pipa lite, weighing in at an astonishing 5.3 lbs! This revolutionary car seat is brand new for 2017 and is about to make the lives of many parents a whole lot easier. You'll barely need to lift a finger to transfer baby from the car to the stroller. Although the PIPA lite is just that -- super light -- a word of warning for you city mamas, it is not equipped with a European Belt Path and therefore cannot be used in taxis without the base. If being able to use a lightweight car seat in a taxi is important to you, the Nuna Pipa only weighs 2 lbs more. $299, buy here.

Maxi Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit. The Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 with TinyFit is the lightest weight convertible car seats on our roundup but that does not mean it skimps on safety or functionality. In fact, the Pria 70, which holds children from 4-70 lbs and 52 inches tall, utilizes Air Protect technology for advance side impact protection and FlexTech technology, providing multi-directional energy management in the case of an accident. The TinyFit system adds a few extra pounds to this car seat initially, but once your baby hits 18 lbs, it can be removed making for a car seat that weights in around 20 lbs. $289, buy here.

CONVERTIBLE FROM INFANT TO TODDLER

Chicco Fit2. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ride rear-facing for the first 2 years of life. Since most children outgrow their infant car seat between 12-18 months, before you know it, you'll be upgrading to a bigger seat. But not with the brand new 2017 Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler car seat. With its 2 Stage design, parents are able to follow the AAP's recommendation without the need of purchasing a convertible car seat before their child’s second birthday. Stage 1 is designed for infants 0-12 months, and Stage 2 situates toddlers in a safe and comfortable rear-facing position while taking up no extra space in your back seat. $279, buy here.

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit 4-in-1. If you’re willing to forgo an infant car seat, the Graco 4Ever Exend2Fit 4-in-1 is the only car seat you’ll ever need. This car seat fits the tiniest of newborns, starting at just 4 lbs, and safely holds children all the way up to 120 lbs. What’s special about the Graco 4Ever is that just because it grows with your child doesn't mean it compromises in the comfort department. With a plush newborn insert, 6-position recline options and a 10-position head rest adjustment, this car seat will keep your child safe and comfy for nearly 10 years of use. $349, buy here.

EASY TO INSTALL

4moms self-installing. Though installing your car seat properly is the most important first step you can take for your little one's safety, many car seats are difficult to install. Original and ingenious as always, the 4moms came up with self-installing car seat, which makes a perfect installation effortless and worry free. Parent’s must use a compatible smart device and the car seat’s base to take advantage of the auto-installation. But this 4moms infant car seat can also be used without the base, making it possible to take along on quick taxi rides around the city. $499, buy here.

Britax Boulevard ClickTight. Installing the Britax Boulevard ClickTight car seat is super simple with very little room for error. The ClickTight technology allows you to quickly install this convertible car seat using the vehicle's existing seat belt. So there’s no additional LATCH belt to install, and no need for wiggling and tugging the car seat into place. Aside from the assurance of knowing your car seat is installed correctly, the Boulevard is packed with safety features, including two layers of side-impact protection and a Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator, which ensures the harness is the perfect fit for your little one. $379, buy here.

INNOVATIVE

Doona. If you’re looking for an infant car seat that performs more than one trick, the Doona from SimpleParenting is what you need. It’s the only car seat that doubles as a stroller, taking the ‘travel system’ to a whole new level. Simply remove the Doona from your car, and with one simple motion, the wheels extend down into a functioning stroller. It makes it incredibly quick and easy for getting around town. Even better, the design of the Doona offers extra side impact protection, and the handle bar acts as a built-in anti-rebound bar, making it both convenient and safe. $499, buy here.

Cybex Could-Q. When transferring baby from car to stroller, many parents worry about their little one remaining in a cramped position for too long. The Cloud-Q has solved this very problem with the first car seat with a reclined position. The Cloud-Q has two positions, a traditional setting for when used in a car and a second flat position setting for when used on a stroller. This car seat is also paired with a base that boasts extra safety measures as well as an easy installation. $399, buy here.

Britax Endeavours. Britax's newest infant car seat is sure to keep your new bundle safe. In fact, its anti-rebound bar, which is made of steel and is higher than most anti-rebound bars out there, can minimize potential rebound rotation by 30 percent in the event of a car crash. Plus, the European belt path lets you install your car seat safely without a base, which is perfect for city dwellers who often get in and out of cabs. $299, buy here.

FOR OLDER KIDS

Mifold. Once your child has outgrown his convertible car seat, he’ll graduate to a booster. Suitable for children up to 120 lbs or 57”, the Mifold keeps your kiddo safe while riding around town -- perfect for families living in the city. It's so tiny and lightweight, it can easily fit inside your child’s backpack, which is great for carpooling and after-school playdates. A 30-second installation means your child can ride safe no matter the circumstance, whether it be a quick taxi ride or a trip overseas. $39, buy here.

Clek Olli. Just like many of the booster options out there, the Olli is extremely portable while still providing comfort and safety to your "big little ones." It weighs a mere 5 pounds and has a convenient start for transporting it from one place to the next, which is a feature our kids love. Plus, they have a coulee of playful prints to choose from. Great for everyday use all around. $99, buy here.

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

DEMI™ grow stroller
$799.95, Nuna

BUY

2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

PIPA™ lite car seat
$349.95, Nuna

BUY

3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

PIPA™ base
(included with purchase of PIPA™ series car seat or) Nuna, $159.95

BUY

4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

Diaper bag
$179.95, Nuna

BUY

5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

SENA aire mini
$199.95, Nuna

BUY


With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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A barking cough echoed over the baby monitor at 5:00 am. My eyes hadn't even opened and in a hoarse morning voice I asked my husband, "You heard that too, right?" Maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought. But he agreed, and I groaned, knowing what my day—already planned to the hour—would now look like.

My husband is a teacher with a hefty commute and not always a lot of flexibility, so things like sick kids, vet appointments and oil changes usually fall to me. While I'm thankful for a job that essentially allows me to work anywhere—like car dealership waiting areas, my kitchen table or even waiting in line at the grocery store (thanks, email app!)—I still flinch at any disruption from my usual schedule.

I knew the barking baby seal probably meant Croup and because my older kiddo had also been battling a nasty cough and cold, I made plans to take both kids to the doctor. Four hours of meetings scheduled? No problem. I'd make the kids appointments, change my in-person meetings to conference calls, get the kids comfortable with some PBS and pillows and get on with my day working from home.

Two doctors appointments, a breathing treatment (due to unforeseen wheezing) and a trip to the pharmacy later, the girls and I were back home. I had 10 minutes to spare before a call with my manager. Barely breaking a sweat, I thought. Oh, the smug confidence.

I texted a quick update to my mom who'd asked how the girls were. Exasperated, my 3-year-old began pacing in circles in the kitchen. She might have been sick, but somehow her energy never faltered. She gestured with frustration— her palms up and little fingers spread wide, "It's not time for texting, Mommy. It's time for lunch!"

Some people have the type of kids who get colds and melt into the couch for days. They sleep more than usual, they're quieter and they are more than happy to zone out to a movie. I do not have such children.

But she was right. I apologized and sloppily slathered some peanut butter and honey on stale bread ends. Then added bread to the running grocery list.

Five minutes to spare.

As I served up a gourmet lunch, of PB&H and a juice box, I fumbled around to find the conference code when I heard the splat of baby barf hitting the floor (it's possible there is no worse sound.)

"Mommy! Ew! She barfed!"

I made a mental note to talk to the toddler about using the word, 'barf.'

My confident attitude about taking the day head on was now in a swift downward spiral. Sure, I could still join my meeting. I could half listen on mute and soothe the coughing baby with some gentle hip bouncing. But I'd likely have to answer a question and unmute myself, no doubt as the baby started crying again or the dog barked at a UPS truck.

I could make it happen and later face my oldest asking why I'm always on the phone or always texting and never playing. Basically, I could make it work, but not work well.

So, here's what I did.

I sent one final text to my manager that said, "Thought I could make today work but can't. Two sick kids. Need to reschedule."

I then breathed a huge sigh of relief for making one decision and not trying to squeeze in 50 things. I was able to refocus my attention to the little people who actually needed me. My manager sympathetically—and genuinely—responded, "Mom job comes first."

Because let's face it—my 3-year-old doesn't care that my inbox is full and my calendar is back-to-back. All she knows is this: When I'm home she wants to play.

And just because I can work anywhere, doesn't mean I should. I have to learn to stop "making it work." Some days it just doesn't work. I need the reminder to put the phone down. Close the laptop. Focus on what's in front of me. Find a way to shut off the part of my brain that's yelling and anxious about everything I need to do.

Sometimes I need to just s l o w d o w n.

My career isn't going to come to a screeching halt because I spent a few hours or even a few days with sick kids. But I'd like to think my kids will remember the times I spent snuggling and relaxing with them when they were sick. I'd rather they hold on to those memories than ones of me texting and scheduling and over-scheduling and trying to make ALL of it work.

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