Seriously?!

So I was just reminded of how annoying and frustrating international adoption can be.

Guess what I found out? We get to buy 2 infant car seats!

It is illegal to use a USA one in Canada.

It is illegal to use a Canada on in the USA.

So, as of today we now get to buy two because apparently the standards between the two counties are different. Even if they are the exact same brand, they have to have the appropriate Country certification on them. And it doesn’t appear that any car seat company does dual certification on their car seats! (Please, if you know of one that does let me know).

We can possibly rent one with a car rental in the USA, but at about $10 to $20 a day, and about 3 weeks in the USA, it will be cheaper to just buy one. And, if we get lucky and don’t need to rent a car (if our hotel is next to the hospital) we would just need one for the taxi ride to the airport. However, I don’t think we can rent one for a one off car ride. Arg. The annoyances of international adoption.

So, as of now, I have a potential options that could happen:

  1. We could break the law on the USA side, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to get a ticket for unsafe car seat travel when we are in the middle of an adoption. Something tells me this wouldn’t be smart!
  2. We’ve thought about breaking the law on the Canadian side, but honestly it’s not going to be worth the ticket if we were caught. And since our child will be spending a lot more time driving in Canada, there is a lot of potential that we could get checked as they do random car seat checks here (or so I’m told).
  3. Another, more realistic option is that when we know the State we are going to be in, I may reach out to someone who can lend us a car seat to get to the airport! This could be complicated if we are flying between states, which may be a necessity, but depending on where we are this could work.  And then we buy a Canadian one for the long term. Only time will tell.
  4. Another option which is less complicated is that we just buy one in the USA and then find some sort of low income / mothers in need group to donate it to when we are done with it. I’m not sure if groups take used car seats, but I would HATE to thrown one out after only a few weeks of use. I know they say not to get one used, but honestly, if it’s only used for a few weeks, I hope some group will take it. And of course this would mean we’d buy a Canadian one too.

Right now option 4 is my preferred option due to the simplicity of it.  We buy the one we really want for Canada.  And we buy one for the USA and hope we can donate it when we are done with it.  I don’t have to figure this out today, but I do need to try to figure out which brand to buy.  Any suggestions on the brand?

Sometimes our rules are just so frustrating and seem so silly! Honestly, how different are Canadian vs. American car seats, really? Sometimes our rules seem crazy!

I’m going to chalk this one up to the joys of international adoption!

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83 Comments on “Seriously?!

  1. I ran into this problem, too. I bought one for Evie in the USA only to realize I couldn’t freakin’ get her across the border in it! Canadian carseat laws are more strict, hence the difference.

    I think option #4 sounds the best one. I’m sure places accept car seat donations, especially since yours will be pretty much brand new!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t figured out which country had the stricter laws, so thanks. Part of me is rather relieved that the one our child will be in the most is the better one. 🙂
      Thanks for your input, I too am leaning towards option number 4 for the simplicity of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness. The other option would also be to buy a used one from craigslist once you get to the US. If only need it for a few trips, it would’t be a big deal. There’s some really nice ones for cheap on craigslist or the buy sell sites. I’m kind of hoping you end up in WI for your adoption! 🙂 If that’s the case, I’m happy to help with getting you a carseat here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like your idea of buying it used. I swore I wouldn’t buy a used car seat, but it just might make sense to do it for the few weeks we are in the US. The biggest hassle would be juggling a craig’s list purchase with a newborn at the hospital – which would make it virtually impossible.
      I will let you know if we end up in WI!!

      Like

  3. What a strange system. I can’t imagine that the safety standards are very different (if different at all) between US and Canada. Keep the blogosphere posted (as we know you will!) about where you land and I’m sure someone could lend you a car seat for your time here. Or perhaps someone in the US is done with their infant car seat and would send it up to you prior to your departure?

    Also, I was curious — did you learn anything about flying with an infant? I was curious when you posed that question the other day. What DO you do with a newborn on a plane?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I honestly had not looked into the difference in safety standards yet, just that they were not the same. But, looking at all the comments evidently there is a big difference as Canadian standards are higher likely due to the cold weather we get. Who knew?
      I have learned a tonne about flying with an infant from everyone else who has done it! First, up until 2 years you can hold onto them for the flight and not pay for an extra seat. Baby carriers are recommended for the flight so that you can nap when baby naps. That said, they cannot be worn during take off and landing. If you want baby in a car seat you have to buy a seat for baby. Also, evidently if you fly with baby car seat and stroller are free to bring with you. But, without a baby you will probably be charged to bring it (as will be our circumstance on the way to the USA). If you fly a car seat as luggage on a plane it is no longer considered safe, I’m guessing because they get bounced around so much during the flight?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow – this never occurred to me to be honest. Car rental company seats are uniformly beyond shite – filthy, poorly maintained, cheap to begin with – before their hard life started, and staff never know how / have the instructions for fitting, so we always fly with our UK seat and put it into the car. We’ve never been asked or checked in NYC or Boston. Manufacturers might be able to help you with seats they sell on both sides of the border? I’m intrigued to know if we’ve been running the risk of a U.S. ticket without knowing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ya, a car seat from a rental company just doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. The filthy and poorly maintained aspect is just not ideal, particularly because our child will be in it from day 1, so I’d really like something sanitary for them to use!
      Glad to know you have never been checked in the USA. I think if we weren’t adopting we’d be fine with running the risk. But I cannot imagine waiting for judges to approve our adoption and having to say “we got a ticket for using a Canadian car seat here, not a USA one.” I cannot imagine it would stop the adoption, but honestly, the paranoid part of me just doesn’t want to find out! 🙂

      Like

  5. In the USA, Chicco is the top rated brand. We love ours. Simple to use and is really safe. I’d go with this for long term. Evenflo has some high rated ones for short term.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. we got our travel system from the US… so i guess it’s not legal here? at least it will be once we’re in the US on vacation next month haha. my husband is actually super anal about this stuff and said he researched and the only difference on the seats it’s a sticker. we know it’s safe and i guess just taking our chances with it. your scenario is a little different, however, and i totally understand the worry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s illegal all over Canada to have one from another country – https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/safedrivers-childsafety-notices-2007c09-menu-353.htm. What I’m learning from everyone today is that the Canadian ones actually have higher standards. And that if you drive across the border from the USA to Canada with a USA one they will not let you enter with it! So, hopefully you are flying for your vacation!
      Like you, if we weren’t in an adoption situation I don’t think we’d care. We’d just buy the one we want and travel across the border to the USA with it. But, something about having to state to an adoption judge that we got a ticket just seems like a risk not worth taking. 🙂

      Like

  7. If you end up in Illinois, you can borrow ours! (Or if you just need it to get to the airport, we’d be happy to drive you). We live 30 minutes from both major airports!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. See, I would probably bring the CA car seat and feign ignorance *if* anyone noticed (I don’t think they will). Or I’d buy a cheap car seat in the US and donate it or offer to send it to the US to someone you know for the cost of shipping (if it’s economical). XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think a cheap seat in the USA and donating it or sending it to someone makes the most sense from an ease perspective.
      I’m too worried about the possibility of getting caught in the USA with the Canadian one and having something happen while the judges are approving the adoption. I know, it’s super unlikely but I still cannot imagine having to deal with that!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I knew of the car seat rules! I should have mentioned before. Sorry 😦 Not just that, if you fly with a car seat as luggage, it is no longer a good carseat and should be tossed out. Keep that in mind too!

    Here is another suggestion:

    1)Buy a more expensive canadian car seat, that is fixed to your car as a convertible and buy a cheaper rear facing car seat in the US.

    2)The cheaper car seat should be part of a travel system, so that you can bring it back here, but use to take the baby on walks etc, something that you can attach to the stroller directly.

    This way, you can keep both the car seats. I do not know about the US, but in Canada, unless the car seat is brand new in box, you cannot sell or even donate it to any random person. In fact, no one would really take it from yuo unless they know you personally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • By convertible car seat, I mean 3 stage car seat in one, so that you just have to buy 1 car seat till the kid outgrows any car seat.
      The difference between the car seats is that the canadian car seats have more energy absorbing material because it can get frigging cold here compared to most US states.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are awesome! Have I told you that lately?! Good to know that a car seat as luggage becomes garbage! I guess we wont be buying a USA one until we are in the USA.
      I always thought the same thing about used car seats here – you cannot sell or donate them. Yet, when I was at a used baby clothing store the other day I saw that they had used car seats. Needless to say I was a bit confused. I know without a doubt we will not buy one used in Canada. It sounds like used ones are a lot more common in the USA, so if we buy one there we should be able to donate it.
      And thanks for the suggestion about buying a convertible car seat for at home. I think that was going to be my next big question – why convertible vs. one for each stage.

      Like

  10. I have an extra car seat we don’t use that doesn’t expire until 2017…. if it makes sense and is cheaper to ship this one to your hotel in the US I’m happy to let you have it just for shipping! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s a chicco keyfit 30. Base too! Also, I’m about 15 minutes from the Minneapolis international airport, if you happen to end up or layover here I can bring it to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So many flights from here to anywhere in the USA connect through Minneapolis, so there’s definitely a chance we will fly through there. I’ll keep you posted once we are matched! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s crazy! Between all of your blogger friends here in the U.S., I bet we could find a U.S. one for you to borrow when you are here if you told us the state when you find out! Good luck! What a happy challenge, though, considering all these things are making it real!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow that’s so weird and random! I hope you can find a dual one! I would think you would be able to use a Canadian one in the States, no? What do families do when they drive over the boarder? I’m sure they all use their Canadian car seats!

    Like

    • You would think so, right? I’ve been able to figure out that you cannot drive a usa one into Canada, they won’t let you cross the border. But Canadians go to the USA all the time, so what do they do? Clearly I’ll be doing some more research.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That’s absolutely ridiculous! It looks like several have already mentioned the options that flitted through my mind. I hope you find one that works for you.

    Like

  15. I just sold my infant car seat and here’s what I learned:

    * Very few places will take a used car seat, even a donation
    * Expiration dates on used car seats are of critical importance – for both the seat and the base (but you may not need a base because you’re just using it to transport to the airport, and the seat should strap into the car just fine)
    * Do not buy a used one off of craigslist. Get on the FB swap sites and buy one there because there’s more credibility behind the people selling them
    * Someone who reads you will have one to loan to you wherever you are – I’m sure of it. Shipping it back and forth will cost less than buying one used from a stranger
    * OH! The hospitals here give car seats away for low birth weight babies (my neighbor got two with her twins). I bet they have a loaner they could let you use – it’s worth asking! You can’t be the first person in an adoption situation without a car seat (or the first person in a birth situation without a car seat, for that matter)

    What a pain…

    Like

    • Thank you Courtney! You are right, it’s a pain. A good pain, but still a pain.
      I know here it’s almost impossible to find a used car seat at a store – I think it may even be illegal. I do hope if we end up buying one I can find a way to gift it or donate it since it will only be used for a few weeks. I just hate the idea of throwing it out.
      Craigslist is an option, but I’m not a huge fan of a used car seat from a stranger.
      Also, as you suggest it sounds like someone out there will probably have one we can borrow. And that would be awesome!
      And the hospital idea, that’s fantastic! I’ll absolutely look into it! I wonder if we bought one if the hospital would have a use for it? I’m not sure, but could also be worth looking into.

      Like

  16. I’m glad that it looks like you can get one from another blogger. If I can help (in Illinois), I would be more than happy to! I’m not sure how US centric this website is (http://www.lucieslist.com/), but it talks a lot about brands and compares products, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! There are a lot of bloggers in Illinois! I’ll let you know if we end up there!!
      Illinois it’s actually on my list of preferred states because we have family there that would love to host us so we could skip the hotel. 🙂 (Yes, even though I do not have any choice in the matter, I do have a few preferred states in my mind).
      I use lucieslist all the time! But when it comes to car seats I’ll have to look at Canadian ratings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you already know about the list. It’s annoying that there are different safety standards for the car seats.

        I don’t know very many bloggers from Illinois. 🙂

        Like

  17. That is so crazy! I would just go on craigslist and find one for like $20 on the american side, wherever your going, and then do Option #4, or just get a really cheap one at Babies R Us or something so that you don’t have to spend $300 on a Brittax or something. Maybe a $79 Graco…its only for a few days…and then really invest in a great one for home.

    Like

    • It is completely crazy, eh? I had no idea!
      I’m eying the Brittax for at home. And something much cheaper in the USA and making Mr. MPB drive super carefully to the airport! hahaha! 🙂

      Like

  18. Craigslist always has tons of gently used baby stuff, and through the Community board about kids/parenting, you could likely find someone to rent/loan one while in the states. Also, Uber or Lyft may be able to hook you up with a driver who has a carseat instead of a cab, if you end up just needed a couple of car trips.

    Like

    • I really like hte idea of renting or borrowing one. It just seems so wasteful to buy a new one for a few weeks, especially if I cannot donate it.
      I had not even thought about Uber or Lyft – great idea!!!

      Like

  19. Okay, if you’d be in Northern CA I’d happily let you use ours. However, you could also use limo service with a car seat to get to the airport.

    Like

    • Awesome! I suspect we will spend some time in CA, I just don’t know which part. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I know!
      And a limo service with a car seat sounds like a great option too! I know it will work out somehow.

      Like

  20. I love all of the love that you’re getting on here! Sounds like the community is coming together to help you find a solution 🙂

    Like

    • Sorry. To clarify. I meant instead of taking the taxi for the one ride if you get lucky and can stay near the hospital either in a hotel, airbnb, or home-away rental etc. Then again in the U.S. Car seats are dirt cheap compared to here if you’re only buying one that would equate to a rental one. I’m a car seat snob and wouldn’t go for cheap at home but we’ve used rental ones before plenty of times. They’re really hit and miss but meet the minimum safety standards for what that’s worth in your deliberations.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad to know that you’ve used rental ones before and they’ve worked. That might be what we do, unless the cost of a rental quickly surpasses the cost of a brand new one on the USA side.
        Like you I am already a car seat snob. I know we will be buying the best of the best for at home. When it comes to babies life, I figure it’s worth spending the money! The car seat and the crib are my two must buy new items.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. This just seems like insanity. Why don’t they all just have the same standards across the board!?!? I’m sorry you’re now having to deal with this. I would say maybe try for #3 when you know more about when/where the adoption will be, and if it doesn’t work then use option #4. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Ugh how frustrating is that?! I never would have even thought of checking that, how incredible. I am liking your idea of buying a cheap one in the US and then donating it, I think that is a lovely idea. Someone also mentioned purchasing from Craiglist in the US which would save you a bundle, but I can understand that you don’t want to do the messing around of picking up etc. Me being someone who likes things to be in order I would probably avoid the craiglist thing only because of the reasons you mentioned.
    I am surprised that the adoption agency doesn’t have some contact or ability to loan you one. If I was an adoption agent I would totally purchase one to lend to families… it’s just good service really. 🙂
    I hope you figure it all out. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is frustrating to say the least! I like your idea of the adoption agency being able to provide one – that just makes sense. But, our adoption agency is less then useful, so I wont hold my breath on them. And I will not give them ours if we have to buy one simply because I don’t think they’d actually start a loner program if we did give them ours and I want to see it go to use.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. So stupid but I’m loving that EVERY POST could be the “we are matched!!!!!” post. 🙂 In that light, car seat troubles seem like a pre-celebration!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Let me know if you come to East TN (or southwest VA or West NC or Northern GA), and I will see if I can help you. I know a ton of people with babies who are aging out of their infant seats who would want to help.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Ha! When I read the beginning of the post I thought “She’s been matched with twins!!!” 🙂 I guess in that case you’d need *four* carseats, which is just crazy! I love all the offers that everyone’s made for you. We don’t have a carseat yet, but if you wind up in CT, we might be able to borrow one for you, since we have a couple of friends with 1-ish-year-olds that have probably outgrown their newborn seats. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear how everything goes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have stated that we are open to twins! It would be my dream to get twins – be done with adoption and the entire child obtaining part of our lives in one quick moment!! Of course, the next few years would be crazy, but I’d be okay with that. It would be my dream come true! 🙂 Although 4 car seats would be less then ideal!
      I will absolutely let you know if we end up CT! If nothing else, we will have to meet up! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I didn’t read all the responses so this might have said this, but regardless of cost, they all must meet the same safety standards. You can get one for $50 (Walmart, Target, Amazon, Costco) and donate it after 3 weeks. Certainly frustrating, I know, but so good that you are prepared!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly what we might do. Buy one that will work and meets safety standards, but not break the bank for 3 weeks where there will be minimal driving. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas. 🙂

      Like

  27. This makes no sense. If our Canadian standards are higher, our car seats should be legit in the US! I hope you find an option that works. I know your story will help other adoptive parents after you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with your thinking! But, so far I haven’t been able to find anything that says our car seats are okay in the US. It’s so frustrating, but at least this problem means we are getting closer needing a car seat. 🙂

      Like

  28. If you come to Colorado I can help you out. You may want to look into child consignment stores wherever you end up. You can often get a car seat for $25-$30. One suggestion would be to see if anyone in the blog world or any other ttc /adoption communities you belong to is hurting a bit financially and would be in need of a car seat. Also mothers that are victims of domestic violence always need car seats as they often leave the house with literally nothing but the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s illegal in Canada to sell used car seats, so I hadn’t even thought about trying a consignment store in the US! Depending on where we are this might be worth looking into! And i love your suggestions for donating a seat that we buy – that’s exactly what I want to do. 🙂

      Like

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  30. Im late to the rodeo. Sorry, I’m catching up on blog posts. I didn’t read all the comments, but one thought is that you will need a car seat when you leave the hospital. They won’t let you leave without one even if you walk home. This might be a non issue for you with your social worker being there, but I thought I’d mention it.

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