Published Mar 7, 2005
Another message board I am on had this post.....
"when I did my maternity rotation in Nursing school one of my classmates took a new mother down to the car when she was discharged....the hosp policy was NO carseats be brought into the hosp ...all babies were carried out.. this girl and her mother had the babies bucket in the front seat foreward facing.....did you not read the directions? and when my fellow student tried to help them fix it by explaining the problems the secuity guard had a stroke and said "we arent allowed to do that, you should ahve let them take the kid home like they had it in the first place"
what idiots! both hosps I had my boys at a civilian community hospital and a Navy Hospital both made me bring the carseat in and show the nurses I knew how to use it, tighten and loosen straps and properly strap baby in......"
So it got me thinking--what is your policies for car seats? On the thread following this post.....parents had a wide variety of experiences. Many said they were NOT allowed to bring their car seats inside. I don't understand how parents can properly fit their babies in the car seats if they can't bring the seat inside?? Many said they had no nurse escort to their car, so for all the hosptial knew--they could have taken the baby home in their arms!
Our hospital requires that all car seats are brought inside. The parents then get the straps adjusted as necessary to the baby. The mom then carries the carrier on her lap down to the car. The parents then secure the car seat in the car. We always make sure they are rear facing. We used to help them a lot more with the car seat in the car, until we were told that could be a liability issue. Our discharge note is something like "...parents secured rear facing car seat...."
I did my clinical rotation in OB Fall of 2003. At the well-known hospital I was at, the car seat was not allowed in the hospital. When it was time for discharge, the mom was in a wheelchair holding baby wrapped in blanket tightly. Nurse wheeled mom and baby out. Nurse was not even allowed to carry baby outside or place baby in carseat. This was all due to liability issues. The nurse's sole responsibility was to transport mother and baby via wheelchair to the car safely. Dad or mom had to place baby in carseat and buckle up properly. The nurse was not even allowed to offer advice on how to latch properly or check to see if carrier was even installed correctly. That is the parents responsibility.
I am having a baby in June. I'm an RN, so I am super anal about safety issues and such, so I can definitely understand where you are coming from. It is a shame that the nurse is "not allowed" to help with the carseat and placing baby in properly...but you can thank our sue-happy society for that one.
KRVRN, BSN, RN
Our parents sign discharge papers stating that they understand that the child has to be in a properly adjusted car seat until 6 years/60 lbs. in the state of CA... etc. I don't remember for sure but I think it also mentions the rule about rear facing too. We don't require parents to bring the car seat in, although many do because it's easier to adjust the straps for the first time with the seat on a higher surface (versus trying to hunch over in the car to do it). The staff carry either the baby or the baby and seat out. If the parents were going to place the baby in a front facing seat, I can see saying that that doesn't follow the rule and that they need to change it around before we will let the baby leave. The parents have to do the adjusting though.
Sometimes I wish we did have some special training on how to properly install car seats because there are times when you can just eyeball it and tell that the seat is in too loose or the straps aren't tight enough etc. I realize it is a liability though, but sometimes parents just want a bit of help and we have to tell them no. One time we had a baby that was going to be released to the aunt because the Mom was in the SICU due to birth complications and the Dad couldn't cross the border. Auntie came to the hospital with the proper rear facing seat, but it had been used and all the straps were adjusted to a 20 lb baby and the baby going home was a tiny 5 lbs! And of course she didn't have a baby herself and didn't exactly know how to adjust car seat straps. I gave a few vague suggestions and then said, please drive straight home and read the directions.
I just completed my clinical rotation in OB in December. Our facility requires that the car seat be brought into the hospital, the baby placed in the seat by Mom or Dad and then the nurse does safety checks to ensure that all is correct. Then, we walked them out to the car and checked the installation of the base before they left. As well, the parents had to sign stating that they understood the rules/laws about seats in the state and that they were liable for any problems. We also recommended that they have the seat safety checked by the local police who will do a full inspection for free to be sure that installation is correct.
I'm having my baby at the same hospital in July and I'm very thankful they do checks because just after giving birth, I'll want all the help I can get. It doesn't matter how trained I am - it's a first baby for me and thus still a learning process!
babyktchr, BSN, RN
I have a story to tell about car seats. Seems it is the thing to do once your baby is born, to bring the car seat into the hospital...after all...you have driven it around empty for so long, now there is something to put in it. I had one patient who did just that...had her significant other bring the car seat into her room. I was making rounds in the middle of the night, and peeked into this patients room. Mom asleep, dad asleep....no baby in basinette. My heart did its "dropping a beat thing" and I looked to mom. No baby there either. I walked over to dad...no baby there. Now I was panicked. I pulled the covers off mom and the NA pulled covers off dad...no baby. In the dark I hear.,....CAR SEAT. I was like...what?? Mom looks over and says CAR SEAT. In the corner of the room...there was a car seat...and there was the baby. They said the baby liked it in there better. I had to walk out....and wanted to scream. We laugh about it now...but man...was I skeered.
We have a nurse who is certified in car seat safety. She will go out and check seats if asked...otherwise..it is up to the parents to do it. We refer them to the state police also if there are questions. They can bring seats in...or not...but we are not responsible for putting the baby in the seat or make sure it is properly installed. We also cannot detain parents who do not have a car seat. We can, however, report them to the police if we feel so motivated.
We also cannot detain parents who do not have a car seat. We can, however, report them to the police if we feel so motivated.
You let people leave who do not have car seats??
Occasionally we will have people who do not have car seats--we just tell them they can't leave until they have one. Our health dept rents them, so we can refer the parents to their if necessary.
our car seat policy is parents have to bring the carrier part in, and we verify that baby is in correctly/straps adjusted properly, and go over car seat laws. One of our secretaries and a few nurses are "car seat certified" and can give extra help.
We can't do anything with the bases though. The local fire departments do car seat checks and we advise all parents to get the bases checked by them.
Also, all babies under 36 weeks and/or 5 pounds need a "car seat test" before discharge; we strap them in and hook them up to a cardiac-resp monitor for an hour or as long as the drive home is, if the parents live further away, to verify that the baby can tolerate being in that position
Same as above. But the car seat "test" had to be 90 minutes and we had a few nurses who were absolutely horrible about doing them. Even held up one family's discharge because the "baby is too fussy, to hungry, tooo....
Is it just me???? It seems to me that it would be more of a liability issue if, heaven forbid, something happened on the way home....parents might sue the hospital for not teaching proper use of a car seat. Now if I worked on L&D and I saw improper use of a car seat....I wouldn't care about hospital policy. I would darn sure make sure that the car seat was being properly used. My concern is for my patients. In my opinion, this policy of no car seats in the hosp is akin to not teaching people the proper use of a walker or crutches. What ever happened to common sense????
In the state I live in..we cannot hold a family in the hospital because they do not have a car seat. I know it doesn't sound kosher....but...we cannot hold them. As I said..we can report them to the authorities for driving with a child not in a car seat. I don't write the laws..perhaps though a written statement that they know they are not following the law...kinda like an AMA???
I have no problems with what anyone is saying...common sense dictates that. But...when do parents take responsibility for their children?? They are expecting their baby for 9 months...in that time they surely have time to learn how to use a car seat, find out where formula is sold etc. Post partum teaching is a difficult thing. You are battling fatigue and excitement and oodles of family members and just plain "I don't want to learn". You can't possibly teach to how to's of newborn care in 24-48 hours. And even the most receptive parents "forget", because they are just plain exhausted and overwhelmed. As I said..when does responsibility drop to the parents. Surely they have to own something here.
I do want to re-iterate that I don't disagree at all with what anyone has posted. If I happen to take out a new mom and baby...habit always keeps me around to see if the baby gets put in right and if the belts are adjusted, etc. I don't want to see any baby harmed because they didn't know.
We just amended our documentation on discharge to include the parents acknowledging the proper use of car seat and where they can go to get help.
BittyBabyGrower, MSN, RN
We have a video that the parents have to watch before DC....I believe it is from Ford....about car seat safety. We also have them bring them in and the Parents adjust the straps, etc. We are not allowed to...we can show them how to use rolls, etc. We take the baby out in either the seat or bassinet, but we do not put the baby in the car or in the seat.
If there is no seat or in wrong, we remind them of the law and then document it. We can't hold the baby...once the baby is dc'd the baby is the parents responsibiltity.
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