Hey everyone! I'm just a "pre-nursing" student.... but I have been volunteering at our community hospital on the Birthing Unit for a little over 6 months now. Basically I just do little tasks here and there, but one thing we do do (hehe) is take the patients down to the front after they have been discharged.
Typically, I go into the patients room while they are still packing everything up and wheel them downstairs. However, 9 times out of 10 , these are new parents (or parents with much older children) and they are fumbling trying to put their baby in the car seat. The straps are not adjusted properly, the baby is not sitting in their correctly, the pads are too bulky or not padded enough for the small size of the newborn.... etc..
Then when it comes time to put the carseat in the car.... the seat belt is not properly fit, the carseat is too loose, there is no locking clip to keep the belt tightened, etc.
AND I'M NOT ALOUD TO SAY ONE THING ABOUT IT!!!
I admit, I'm not a certified car seat safety expert. But I have 3 children, all of who have been in carseats from the day they were born and I have read every instructional booklet that comes with the seat, and I have made sure the seats are properly installed, etc....
Last week I was discharging a Hispanic family and they carried the baby down stairs. I asked if they had a carseat (it was difficult because they didn't speak English very well, and I don't speak Spanish very well), but they said yes and went out to the car to get it.
It was a carseat that a typical 3-4 year old would ride in. It was old and dingy and the straps were set up at the highest level. They tried to put the baby in, they couldn't figure out how to snap the belt, and the straps were so high they were up and over, covering the poor little guys face. And then, when they installed it in the car, I didn't see them belt the carseat in.
It was so frustrating because (even if I could speak Spanish) I couldn't tell them that it was not in there correctly.
I'm just wondering what kind of policies other hospitals have and if this is typical, why? Why isn't there someone who is certified in installing carseats on staff to help these new parents out? If it is for liability reasons, wouldn't it be worse if the parents weren't told how to properly install the seat and then they get into an accident?? I'm curious as to what you all think and have experienced.
I realize I'm only a volunteer, but I guess I'd like to bring this up to someones attention just to see what the reasoning behind all this is....
Thanks for reading this long post... any suggestions, ideas, or experiences are appreciated!