Lifestyle

The Best Car Seats for the City

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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.

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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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[Editor's note: While Motherly loves seeing and sharing photos of baby Archie and other adorable babies when the images are shared with their parents' consent, we do not publish pictures taken without a parent's consent. Since these pictures were taken without Markle's permission while she was walking her dogs, we're not reposting them.]

Meghan Markle is a trendsetter for sure. When she wears something the world notices, and this week she was photographed wearing her son Archie in a baby carrier. The important thing to know about the photos is that they show the Duchess out for a walk with her two dogs while wearing Archie in a blue Ergo. She's not hands-free baby wearing, but rather wearing an Ergo while also supporting Archie with her arm, as the carrier isn't completely tight.

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When British tabloids published the pictures many babywearing devotees and internet commenters offered opinions on how Markle is holding her son in the photo, but as baby gear guru Jamie Grayson notes, "it is none of our business."

In a post to his Facebook page, Grayson (noted NYC baby gear expert) explained that in the last day or so he has been inundated with hundreds of messages about how Markle is wearing the carrier, and that while he's sure many who messaged with concerns had good intentions he hopes to inject some empathy into the conversation.

As Grayson points out, these are paparazzi photos, so it was a private moment not meant for world-wide consumption. "This woman has the entire world watching her every move and action, especially now that she and Harry are leaving the umbrella of the royal family, and I honestly hope they are able to find some privacy and peace. So let's give her space," he explains, adding that "while those pictures show something that is less than ideal, it's going to be okay. I promise. It's not like she's wearing the baby upside down."

He's right, Archie was safe and not in danger and who knows why the straps on Markle's carrier were loose (maybe she realized people were about to take pictures and so she switched Archie from forward-facing, or maybe the strap just slipped.)

Grayson continues: "When you are bringing up how a parent is misusing a product (either in-person or online) please consider your words. Because tone of voice is missing in text, it is important to choose your words carefully because ANYTHING can be misconstrued. Your good intentions can easily be considered as shaming someone."

Grayson's suggestions injected some much-needed empathy into this discourse and reminded many that new parents are human beings who are just trying to do their best with responsibilities (and baby gear) that isn't familiar to them.

Babywearing has a ton of benefits for parents and the baby, but it can take some getting used to. New parents can research safety recommendations so they feel confident. In Canada, where the pictures in question were snapped, the government recommends parents follow these safety guidelines when wearing infants in carriers:

  • Choose a product that fits you and your baby properly.
  • Be very careful putting a baby into—or pulling them out of—a carrier or sling. Ask for help if you need it.
  • When wearing a carrier or sling, do not zip up your coat around the baby because it increases the risk of overheating and suffocation.
  • Be particularly careful when using a sling or carrier with babies under 4 months because their airways are still developing.
  • Do not use a carrier or sling during activities that could lead to injury such as cooking, running, cycling, or drinking hot beverages.

Health Canada also recommends parents "remember to keep your baby visible and kissable at all times" and offers the following tips to ensure kissability.

"Keep the baby's face in view. Keep the baby in an upright position. Make sure the baby's face is not pressed into the fabric of the carrier or sling, your body, or clothing. Make sure the baby's chin is not pressed into their chest. Make sure the baby's legs are not bunched up against their stomach, as this can also restrict breathing. Wear the baby snug enough to support their back and hold onto the baby when bending over so they don't fall out of the carrier or sling. Check your baby often."

Meghan Markle is a new mom who was caught off guard during a moment she didn't expect her baby to be photographed. Every parent (no matter how famous) has a right to privacy for their child and the right to compassion from other parents. If we want people to learn how to safely babywear we can't shame them for trying.

Mama, if you've been shamed for wearing your baby "wrong" don't feel like you need to stop. Follow the tips above or check in with local baby-wearing groups to get advice and help. You've got this.

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At one of the most important nights of their career, celebrities made sure their hairstyles stayed put at the 26th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. As a collective, the hairstyles were beautiful—french twists, bobs, pin curls and killer cuts filled the red carpet on the night to remember.

And surprisingly, the secret wasn't just the stylist team, mama. For many of the celebs, much of the look can be attributed to a $5 hairspray—yes, you read that correctly.

Dove style+care micro mist extra hold hairspray was one of the top stylist picks for celebs for a lightweight, flexible finishing spray, leaving tons of body and bounce. Unlike most hairsprays that can take several minutes (even a half hour) to set the look, this extra-hold one contains a fast-drying, water-free formula that helps protect your hair from frizz in minutes. As a result, celebrities were able to hold the shape of their styles with mega volume.

"Dove hairspray works well by holding curls in place with maximum hold and ultra shine, while still maintaining soft, touchable texture that is easy to brush out," says Dennis Gots for Dove Hair, who styled Phoebe Waller-Bridge for the SAG Awards. Translation: It's great for on-the-go mamas who want a shiny hold that lasts, but doesn't feel sticky.

Here are a few awesome hairstyles that were finished with the drugstore Dove style+care micro mist extra hold hairspray at the SAG awards:

Lili Reinhart's French twist

"I sprayed Dove style+care micro mist extra hold hairspray all over Lili's hair to lock in the shape and boost the shine factor, making the whole look really sleek," says stylist Renato Campora who was inspired to create the look by Reinhart's romantic gown. "Lili's look is sleek and sharp with a romantic twist."

Cynthia Erivo's finger waves

"This look is classic Cynthia! I knew I wanted to keep it simple, but it's actually quite detailed and intricate up close," says stylist Coree Moreno. "While the hair was still wet (yes—I needed to work fast!) I generously spritzed on the hairspray for all night hold without flaking. The hair continued to air dry perfectly while she finished up makeup."

Nathalie Emmanuel's curly high pony

"Nathalie wanted a retro Hollywood glam for the SAG Awards, so I used her natural texture and created a high pony with loose tendrils framing her face and neckline," says stylist, Neeko. "I finessed the look with the hairspray to lock in the style while keeping her hair looking and feeling touchable."

Phoebe Waller-Bridge's slicked back bob

"I used duckbill clips on different areas of her hair to keep the shape and curl while the hair air dried. Air drying the hair allowed for maximum shine and then I sprayed lots of hairspray all over to truly lock in the sleek shape and enhance the shine," says stylist Dennis Gots, who was inspired by a 90s vibe for Waller-Bridge's look.

Dove Style+Care Micro Mist Extra Hold Hairspray

Dove Style+Care Micro Mist Extra Hold Hairspray

Who doesn't want a hairspray that makes your hair feel as good as it looks? Dove Style+Care Extra Hold Hairspray holds body, volume and enhances shine. It gives your hair touchable hold while fighting frizz, even in damp or humid conditions.

$4.89

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Beauty + Style Shopping Guides

We often think of the unequal gender division of unpaid labor as a personal issue, but a new report by Oxfam proves that it is a global issue—and that a handful of men are becoming incredibly wealthy while women and girls bear the burden of unpaid work and poverty.

According to Oxfam, the unpaid care work done by women and girls has an economic value of $10.8 trillion per year and benefits the global economy three times more than the entire technology industry.

"Women are supporting the market economy with cheap and free labor and they are also supporting the state by providing care that should be provided by the public sector," the report notes.

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The unpaid work of hundreds of millions of women is generating massive wealth for a couple of thousand (predominantly male) billionaires. "What is clear is that this unpaid work is fueling a sexist economic system that takes from the many and puts money in the pockets of the few," the report states.

Max Lawson is Oxfam International's Head of Inequality Policy. In an interview with Vatican News, he explained that "the foundation of unpaid work done by the poorest women generates enormous wealth for the economy," and that women do billions of hours of unpaid care work (caring for children, the sick, the elderly and cooking, cleaning) for which they see no financial reward but which creates financial rewards for billionaires.

Indeed, the report finds that globally 42% of women can't work for money because of their unpaid care responsibilities.

In the United States, women spend 37% more time doing unpaid care work than men, Oxfam America notes in a second report released in cooperation with the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

"It's an economy that is built on the backs of women and of poor women and their labour, whether it's poorly paid labour or even unpaid labour, it is a sexist economy and it's a broken economy, and you can only fix the gap between the rich and the poor if at the same time you fix the gap between women and men," Lawson explains.

According to Lawson, you can't fight economic inequality without fighting gender equality, and he says 2020 is the year to do both. Now is a great time to start, because as Motherly has previously reported, no country in the world is on track to eliminate gender inequality by 2030 (one of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by 193 United Nations member countries back in 2015) and no country will until the unpaid labor of women and girls is addressed.

"Governments around the world can, and must, build a human economy that is feminist and benefits the 99%, not only the 1%," the Oxfam report concludes.

The research suggests that paid leave, investments in childcare and the care of older adults and people with disabilities as well as utilizing technology to make working more flexible would help America close the gap.

(For more information on how you can fight for paid leave, affordable childcare and more this year check out yearofthemother.org.)

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It's been more than a decade since federal guidelines were implemented to ensure nursing mothers have the time and space to pump at work, but as Motherly has previously reported, many mothers still find it extremely challenging to maintain a pumping schedule in the workplace.

This week a new study out of the University of Georgia showed that while most women report having access to private spaces and break times for pumping there are still significant "gaps in access to workplace breastfeeding resources" and the researchers recommend employers take action to reduce breastfeeding disparities.

"We know that there are benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and the infant, and we know that returning to work is a significant challenge for breastfeeding continuation," says Rachel McCardel, a doctoral student at UGA's College of Public Health and lead study author. "There is a collective experience that we wanted to explore and learn how can we make this better."

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The challenges of breastfeeding in 2020

There is a lot of pressure on mothers to exclusively breastfeed, but nearly half of mothers feel like they must make a choice between breastfeeding and keeping their job. A baby's mother is the best person to decide whether the infant should be breastfed, formula-fed or both, but it should be her choice. When workplace supports for breastfeeding are not in place many mothers feel like they don't have a choice at all.

Public health campaigns and social norms reinforce breastfeeding as the best choice, but a recent survey from Areoflow found that 1 in 3 people (31%) "do not believe employers should be required to provide a lactation room" but at the same time, 90% of those surveyed stated that they believe women should be allowed to pump at work.

For too many women, those contradicting messages mean that pumping at work is an uncomfortable experience, something they need to do nearly in secret. It's an example of the many ways in which mothers are supposed to parent as though they don't work but pretend they aren't parents when at work.

Calling for change in 2020

Half the states in America explicitly protect the rights of nursing parents in the workplace, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and federal law also provides protections to nursing workers under the Affordable Care Act. Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act—but millions of working mothers are not covered by those protections, and the new research out of the University of Georgia's College of Public Health suggests that even mothers who are need more support from their employers.

Heather Padilla is an assistant professor at UGA's College of Public Health and the co-author of the study. She recommends employers "designate a person who is responsible for making sure that women who are preparing for the birth of their baby understand what resources they have available to them when they return to work," she said.

Supervisors or HR directors could fill this role, and would fill a gap between company policy and personal experience. Padilla and McCardel found that many women "said they hadn't expected to get much help from their employers, and there was a general lack of communication about the resources available to them."

The work Padilla and McCardel have done reinforces the work we at Motherly are doing: In 2020 we are calling for change, and demanding support for mothers feeding their babies.

Mamas need to work + babies need to eat

For many American mothers work is not a choice, it is a necessity. Mothers are increasingly the breadwinners for their families and it is very hard for mothers, even those with working partners, to be a stay-at-home parent in 2020.

We need paid family leave and protection from breastfeeding discrimination. We need employers to support working mothers who choose to pump, and we need to reduce the stigmatization of formula feeding.

Mama, we see you pumping in your office and mixing formula bottles to take to day care. We see how hard it is and we support you. Know that no matter what your baby is eating—bottled breast milk, formula, or some combination (because breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing)—we know you are working so hard to provide it.

We have declared 2020 the #yearofthemother. Join us, and call for change because McCardel is right—this is a collective experience and it is one we can make better for the mothers who come after us.

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