Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I'm still researching car seats, and the clock is ticking on my decision. He is quickly approaching the 22 pound weight limit on his Chicco Keyfit Infant Car Seat, which by the way is one of the top rated infant car seats by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They also make a newer model that has a 30 pound weight limit if anyone is looking for a great, easy-to-use car seat or travel system. The Chicco Keyfit 30 also has a lower minimum 4 pound baby weight, so it's an ideal choice for preemies and small babies. Just throwing that out there for my mommy-to-be readers!
So far, my favorite is still the Recaro convertible car seat. Based on my continued research, they are by far the most safe, comfortable, and compact convertible car seat on the market; they have some of the highest weight limits available (70 pounds in the convertible car seat and 120 pounds in their other safety seats); and their new ProSERIES child safety seats are made right here in the USA and include a convertible car seat, a combination harness to booster seat, and a booster seat. You can find a lot of discounts for their previous Signo/Signo G2 and Como/Como G2 convertible car seat models because they are closeout items. The primary difference between the Signo and the Como models is that the Signo has an infinite adjust knob for the head rest and no re-thread shoulder harness, but the Como required manual adjustments. The new ProRIDE convertible car seat has the infinite adjust and no re-thread harness as default features.
Be careful if you are purchasing a Signo or Como because there was a recall on car seats manufactured between February 1, 2008 and February 16, 2009. The central harness adjuster had a manufacturing defect that caused it to sometimes slip and possibly not maintain the desired tightness. Car seats not affected by this recall will have a green dot above the bar code on the model number sticker. This problem was corrected in the G2 models, but I assume they changed the name completely in order to distance their newest model from the recall.
Despite the recall controversy, I'm still a dogged fan, especially since it wasn't a major flaw like harnesses that comes unbuckled under pressure, parts falling off, and things like that. The price point, however, is always the issue with the Recaro. Given how tall my son is and how ahead of the curve his weight usually is, I will most likely need to purchase a booster seat if only to give him more leg room in my Toyota Corolla. I'm not sure I can justify the expenditure when I'll just need another seat in a couple years.
Some have suggested going straight to a toddler car seat, which would be front-facing. But my son is so young that I want to keep him rear-facing for now, and Georgia law requires that all children 6 and under must be in a child safety seat appropriate for their age and height. They go by the NHTSA guidelines, which say children must be at least 1 year old and 20 pounds before switching to a front-facing seat, toddlers 1-4 years old and under 40 pounds must be in a car seat, and children up to 12 years but under 80 pounds and 4'9" must use a booster.
For the sake of my immediate budget, I'm also looking at some convertible car seats by Evenflo. They are the only convertible car seats with a weight limit over 40 lbs (it's 50 in the models I'm looking at) that I can consistently find under $100. If I go this route, then maybe, just maybe, he'll slow down growing and stay in this seat long enough to transition straight into the ProBOOSTER, but that's probably just wishful thinking.
In order of price from lowest to highest the Evenflo contenders are the Titan Sport, Titan Elite, and the Triumph Advance LX, DLX, and Premier. The main differences among these models is that they get plusher and cushier the more high end you go. The higher end Triumph Advance models are usually over $100 but still much less expensive and more compact that than their competitors. I've found really good sales and discounts at various places including Ebay. Many Ebay sellers are even offering free shipping, so it's worth a look because I've found several auctions for the car seats mentioned here brand new and cheaper than at other stores after shipping.
The main issue that's keeping me from being a huge fan is that many of the reviews for Evenflo car seats have stated that the children outgrew the height way before the manufacturer's stated limit. My son is on the tall side, so that's a big turn off. The maximum height is 50 inches on all of these, but I've read several reviews that complained of their children outgrowing the seat with heights in the 35-inch range. It may be user error, but that means the seats may be difficult to adjust if that's the case. At any rate, I find it hard to imagine a user error that would result in an infant or toddler outgrowing a car seat 15+ inches before the manufacturer's maximum height capacity.
Because my son is a big, fat, giant-sized baby (and I mean this in the most loving and adoring way possible), it looks like I'll have to go with the more expensive Recaro ProRide in order to save money long term. For those of you who don't struggle with the issues of having a toddler-sized infant under 6 months old, be glad! Meanwhile, it looks like we'll be going to the store to try out car seats before making a final decision.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
- Diaper bucket or waterproof bag
- Cloth diaper friendly detergent
- Diaper sprayer
The diaper sprayer and gloves are optional, but very useful to have. I don't actually have a diaper sprayer because I have a "dirty" sink with a sprayer. For those who don't have that luxury, my cloth diapering mom friends swear by their diaper sprayers because it allows them to spray the mess directly into the toilet before tossing the diaper in the pail or the wet bag.
Your choice of detergent is very important to the life and functionality of your diapers. Most detergents leave a residue that will eventually build up on your diapers and cause skin irritation, interfere with the diaper's ability to wick away wetness, or both. Cloth diaper makers do not recommend using regular commercial detergents such as Tide or Dreft, but some people have had success using 1/4 - 1/2 the recommended amount in their diaper washes. I personally use Charlie's Soap because it is an all natural, residue free laundry powder. I love that it's made in the USA and that I'm supporting American made products every time I purchase it. It's also very economical. Even though I do all my regular laundry with it in addition to the diapers (for diapers I usually double the amount of soap), one bag lasts over 3 months. It is also not necessary to use fabric softener or static cling sheets with Charlie's soap as it is the chemical residues that stiffen clothes and cause static in the dryer.
Location, location, location!
When considering places to keep your dirty diaper pail, keep in mind that even with pre-rinsing, baking soda, and all the diaper odor tricks out there, it has been impossible in my experience to completely eliminate diaper bucket odors. If you have space in your laundry room, I would recommend keeping the dirty diapers there since it will be out of the way. If this is not an option, use a diaper pail with a tight fitting lid or a wet bag with a drawstring to seal in as much of the odor as possible.
To keep diaper odor to a minimum, I've found the rinsing all diapers, including the ones that only have pee, greatly reduces diaper pail smells. You can also sprinkle the inside of your dirty diaper container with baking soda. While I have had the best results using a dry diaper bucket, some have had success by keeping the diapers in water with a tablespoon of vinegar, but do not use bleach as this ruins the waterproof layers in your expensive AIOs and your waterproof covers. If you do use bleach for your prefolds and other coverless diapers, make sure to rinse them thoroughly as the bleach residue can irritate your baby's skin.
The Wash Cycle
Pre-rinse wet diapers and remove solids from dirty diaper before putting them in the diaper bag or bucket. Make sure all velcro tabs are secure so they do not snag other items.
Run your diapers through a rinse cycle first to get rid of any remaining solid waste. This may be done with cold water. You may do a short soak if you desire, but don't overdo it as this will breed bacteria.
After the pre-rinse, wash your diapers with your cloth friendly detergent on a cycle that uses hot water. Hot water will serve to disinfect your diapers. For extra whitening or deodorizing, you may add 2-4 tablespoons of baking soda. If you are using a regular, commercial detergent for laundering your diapers, I would recommend using a bit of baking soda in the final rinse because it will help to remove the residues. The added benefit is that baking soda is a natural fabric softener.
If you are laundering items with a hook & loop style closure such as Aplix or Velcro, make sure it is secured or it will stick to other garments and create snags and pulls or even ruin some fabrics.
Drying Cloth Diapers
Either line dry your cloth diapers or put them in the dryer on high heat WITHOUT fabric softener. Fabric softener will make them less absorbent and cause repelling issues. Using high heat or the sun will further disinfect your diapers for healthier reuse. Drying in the sun is an energy efficient way to launder cloth diapers without increasing you utility bill that also naturally deodorizes without artificial fragrances that only mask unpleasant odors without treating the cause. Line dried items are easily fluffed up by placing them in the dryer for a few minutes on a heatless setting.
All cloth diapers regardless of style or brand recommend prewashing up to 5 times before use in order to bring out the maximum absorbency of the fibers and fully preshrink the fabrics. For most diapers prewashing with your regular laundry is fine as long as you use the appropriate detergent, remember to avoid fabric softener, and wash with like colors.
Certain fabrics, however, must be laundered separately. The two main ones are wool and hemp. Check the laundering instructions on your wool diaper covers to see if they're machine washable. Most will be hand wash and line dry only. Those items will shrink up to 50% or more if machine washed and/or dried. Hemp has naturally occurring plant oils that will interfere with wicking, so it must be washed several times before use. Do not wash hemp diapers with other fabrics until they have been completely stripped or the oils will transfer to them.
Now that you know the cloth diapering basics, come back to Cool Mom's Blog every week on Diaper Duty Tuesdays for an ongoing look at cloth diapering tips, how to's, and reviews!
For a look at all my cloth diaper information, go the the Cloth Diapering tab at the top of the page or click here.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
When getting ready to stock your diaper stash, there are many things to consider. Are you diapering part time or full time? What is your budget? Will you be cloth diapering mostly in your home or with caregivers? Do you travel often? The answers to these questions will have an impact on the solution you ultimately choose.
How many diapers do I actually need?
This is probably everyone's first question when they make the decision to use cloth. Diapers can be expensive, so you want to make sure you're making the most of your investment.
Most other sources claim that 8-12 diapers a day is sufficient. I this is a gross underestimate. As a point of reference, my son uses 20-25 diapers a day. This is more than twice the figures most give for daily diaper usage. That means if I want his diapers to last without having to launder every day or two, I have to have at least 60 in my diaper stash for full time cloth diapering.
I have a small budget. Can I still cloth diaper full time?
Absolutely! If you start slowly building your diaper stash from early in your pregnancy, you can have a sizeable collection by the time your little one is born, especially if you start baby registries at your favorite cloth diaper stores or ask for cloth diaper gift certificates.
If you choose to go with prefolds, you can cloth diaper full-time for about $100. For a current price reference, I just built my ideal prefold starter kit (2 newborn Proraps covers, 3 small Proraps cover, 50 preemie size Indian prefolds, 1 infant Snappi fastener pack) for $105.50 at HeinyKing.com, and they offer free shipping for orders over $100. My son is 19 pounds and still wears preemie size prefolds. I have seen babies over 20 pounds who are still able to wear size small diaper covers, so don't worry about your infant outgrowing these too quickly. The weights given are general guidelines and every baby is different, so you may be surprised at how far you are able to go with a particular size.
For those who decide to move into the one-size or AIO diapers, starting with prefolds will give you more time to build your stash and allow you to use cloth while they grow into the other diapers.
If your budget is larger, I would still recommend starting with prefolds or contours since it can be difficult to get the right fit for a newborn in the AIOs and pocket diapers. Most one size diapers don't even start fitting until about 10 pounds. The prefolds and contours are also good to have around for those days when you put off laundry because your little one kept you awake all night.
Most covers do not come in a one size option, and some people choose not go with one size diapers since it can be hard to get the right fit. Honestly, there is no true "one size fits all" diaper because they do not fit very small or very large babies and there differences in body shape/type that affect a diaper's fit even when your little one is in the optimal weight range to use one size diapers. If this is where you find yourself and you're trying to decide what sizes should make up the bulk of your diaper stash, your baby will wear mostly smalls and mediums during the course of his or her diaper wearing days. Another option to consider if you're not a fan of the one size diapers is the Thirsties Duo line of diapers and covers. They have a nice selection of color options and are specially designed for maximum adjustability so that you only need two sizes from birth to potty training. I made a diaper cover that works similarly to the Thirsties Duo, and it is the cover that has fit best ever since my son was a newborn.
I would stay away from fitted diapers regardless of your budget because they are like AIOs but without the built in waterproof cover but not significantly less expensive. In fact, they can actually be more expensive than AIOs when you factor in the added cost of diaper covers and the fact that you can get such great bulk discounts on AIOs. With the bulk pricing of an AIO set, you might be able to get them for less than some fitted diapers. Spend the extra couple of dollars and get the AIO or save a lot with prefolds/contours and buy a good set of diaper pins or Snappis. If you're handy with a needle and thread or own a sewing machine, you can even add your own Aplix closures to your contour diaper collection if it's the convenience you're after.
I'll be covering how to choose your cloth diapers and decide which features and styles are best for you. If you haven't already subscribed, be sure to do it now so you don't miss any of this series!
To read more about cloth diapers, go to the "Cloth Diapering" tab at the top of the page or click here.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
As promised, this is the first installment in my cloth diapering series. In this post, I'll cover the basics of cloth diapering including the different styles of diapers and pros and cons of each one. For quick reference, you'll find links to this series and future articles in the "Cloth Diapering" tab.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Do expect to take 2-3 times as long as anticipated. Our impromptu Father's Day gathering involved the meeting of several of my extended family members and their children for a mini family reunion with a total of 14 people. The wait at the restaurant pushed us 30 minutes past our reservation. Even though we sat at two separate tables, the high business volume made all of our courses run 10-15 minutes later than usual. The talk between our two tables and oohing and aahing over the baby made everyone eat slower than usual. It took three times longer than was typical to close out our tabs because of the busyness at the restaurant. Then there was the after meal catch up session at my uncle and aunt's house during which almost everyone got caught up in watching Avatar, a 2.5 hour movie, on my Uncle's big screen HDTV.
Do bring more outfits than you think you'll need. I almost didn't do this. I thought for sure the most he could possibly need was 2 extra outfits, so I almost put the third one back in the drawer. He spit up all over the first one at the restaurant. Then while visiting with my family, my son decided to bathe himself in his own drool. So I ended up using the third outfit, which I originally believed superfluous.
Don't wear the heels. You know all the walking around you do at home to offer comfort and succor to your fussy baby while you wait for his bottle to warm up, to convince him that he's sleepy, or when he's randomly upset for reasons unbeknownst to you? Enough said.
Do invest in a wet/dry bag. If you plan to cloth diaper full-time, this is the way to go. I used the little green dirty diaper sacks which are basically mini plastic bags. I don't have a sack dispenser, so I had to search for the wad of bags every time I did a diaper change. Only 2-3 cloth diapers fit in each, and you have to knot them off to make sure they don't escape in your diaper bag. After a full day out, I ended up with 4 tightly knotted sacks floating around which I had to rip open when I got home. Do yourself a favor. Get the wet/dry bag. They come in a dizzying array of sizes, styles, and patterns. You can use one side for all your clean diapers and changing items while keeping the dirty diapers safely sealed off in the other compartment. It's more organized, convenient, and less waste. They also double as great swim bags, so you'll be using it long after your child is out of diapers.
Do bring extra diapers, formula, and other basics. When it comes to diapers and food, it's always better to have more and not need it than not enough. I brought much more than I needed because I expected that we would take longer than everyone insisted was the maximum. Because we took longer than even I anticipated, however, I used every single cloth diaper and diaper cover I brought then had to use the emergency disposables and I used almost all the formula I brought with me.
Do bring the travel bottle warmer. If you bottle feed and you're driving longer than about an hour, these are absolutely indispensable, especially if you drive these kinds of distances regularly. I live in a rural area, so this is definitely true for me. You can find good travel warmers for under $15, and I'll definitely be getting one before my next road trip (4 hour drive to a wedding in July). Use the bottle warmer to keep the water heated up for the next meal. When baby gets ready to eat, just add formula, dissolve, and feed. Easy!
Don't be shy to tell people when it's time to leave. No one knows your baby like you do. You know her routine, and you know when she's had enough socializing. Leave before your baby reaches her limit. It's better to cut the visit short than to have a long drive home with a crying, hungry, sleepy baby who's too cranky to eat or fall asleep. Once you're on the road, it's not as easy to comfort your little one. Drive separately if that's what it takes to avoid staying out too late.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
So I did a little research, and this is what I've found.
What is the weight limit on infant car seats?
I double checked mine, and it said 22 pounds. My son is 18.5 pounds , so good thing I looked. When I was car seat shopping during my pregnancy, I saw infant car seats that went up to 35 pounds and I was considering starting with a convertible car seat so that I wouldn't have to get another for while. I would have gotten one of those, but ended up receiving this one as a gift. It's been a great car seat! If my son wasn't such a little fatty, he'd definitely get a lot of use out of it.
What is a convertible car seat anyway?
A convertible car seat can be positioned in the vehicle to be rear-facing for infants and forward-facing for toddlers. They should still have a 5 point harness for safety. They are also secured the same way as infant car seats.
Are the weight limits different for convertible and infant car seats?
Like infant car seats, the weight limits vary for different models of convertible car seats. The weight limit is also different for when the car seat is facing the front or back. According to about.com baby products guide Heather Corley, the limit is about 30 pounds rear facing and 40 pounds front facing. Some new models go up to 65 pounds. I've even seen a few convertible/3-1 car seat options go as high as 100 pounds. But something to remember is that the higher the weight limit, the bigger the car seat. Make sure your vehicle can handle it before making the purchase.
How long should baby use a rear-facing car seat model?
Child passenger safety experts recommend at least 1 year and a weight of at least 20 pounds before switching to a forward-facing model. It's best to keep your child rear-facing for as long as the weight limit allows on your car seat model. The new recommendation is to keep your child rear-facing until 2 years old if at all possible.
Thinking ahead: How long should I use a car seat for my child?
The current recommendation is that children should be restrained in a car seat or booster seat until they are at least 4 years old or 40 pounds. The longer the better. Because of how fragile small children's bone structures are, staying rear-facing as long as possible is safest as it greatly reduces the inertial impact of a collision. Seat belts in vehicles are designed for adults (3 point rather than 5 point restraints) and can cause serious injury in an accident including but not limited to spinal cord injury, intestinal stricture, and bone fractures. Even in an appropriate child safety seat, serious injury can occur during accidents if the harness is not appropriately fitted to the child.
Yes! It's time to start shopping for a new car seat. My son is 3.5 pounds away from the maximum weight limit and will very likely outgrow his current model by the time he's 6 months old. For those who can, I am definitely in favor of starting with a convertible car seat for newborns so that you get longest use out of it. Going through all the transitions as your baby grows can mean buying as many as 3-4 child safety seats. If you can buy one that does more, you'll be saving money in the long run and decreasing your consumer waste.
My Car Seat Picks
Most economical: Cosco Scenera ($39-60 new)
Weight limits: 5-35 pounds rear-facing, 22-40 pounds front-facing. Features a removable cup holder and 4 harness locations for maximum adjustability as your child grows. It comes in a variety of color options. Available at most retailers. Online prices vary by color. Lowest price found was $39.99 in Meridian pattern (charcoal grey) at Baby Depot.
Best Value: Evenflo Titan Sport ($67.54 and up)
Weight limits: 5-35 pounds rear-facing, 20-50 pounds front facing. Features include removable cup holder and storage compartment, 2-position recline, and multiple harness slots to accommodate growth. This model is affordable, compact, and easy to install with the LATCH system. Lowest price $67.54 in Stonehill color option at Amazon.com. A Titan Elite model is also available with more features. The Evenflo Triumph line also offers some good choices.
Most versatile: Recaro brand convertible carseats
Weight limits: 5-35 pounds rear-facing, 20-70 pounds forward facing. May be used for children up to 8 years old. Features include side impact protection, ergonomic shape, infinite adjustable headrest, double wall head support, and ventilation system to keep baby cool, approved for airplane use. Some features vary by model, so check the specific model an accurate list. I was impressed by their long history as an automotive seat designer for over 100 years and manufacturers of the first child safety seat. Recaros are on the pricey side, running between $200-300 brand new, but no one else comes close in safety and comfort features, and they have the highest maximum weight limits, which means you'll be able to keep your child in a car seat style safety restraint (the safest) for as long as possible. They come in a variety of colors and styles. Diapers.com has many Recaro closeouts available for up to 50% off.
If you're looking for a booster seat, Recaro makes a great, affordable model. For $90, you can get a booster seat for children up to 100 pounds complete with side impact protection unlike other booster seat models.
Best All-Around: The First Years True Fit Convertible Car Seat C630 ($147 and up)
Weight limits: 5-35 pounds rear-facing, 20-65 pounds forward-facing. The C630 model was given 4 out of 5 stars by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Aministration (NHTSA) for ease of use in both forward- and rear-facing positions. The C670 rated a full 5 stars in both forward- and rear-facing.. They were the only ones to be rated this highly in both the rear-facing and forward-facing categories. Features include no-rethread harnesses for easy height adjustment, removable headrest, side impact tested, built in lock offs, low center of gravity allows deeper, wider, and taller seating area with increasing the outer dimensions, and multi-position buckle. One draw back is that this a very wide seat. It may not be a great option if you have a smaller vehicle.
Note: All car seats sold in the USA are considered safe as they meet a minimum safety requirement required by law. The ease of use, however, increases overall safety as the easier a product is to use and install properly, the less room for user error which may lead to death or injury in the event of an accident. Others rated 4 and above were the Recaro Signo (FF), Graco My Ride 65 (RF), Safety 1st Complete Air (FF).
Current Sales and Discounts
Free shipping on all order $49 and up at BabiesRUs.com
Free shipping on orders over $49 and 15% off select car seats and strollers at Diapers.com. Use code SCGEAR at checkout.
Free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members. Free one-month trial available.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Some brands ran very oversized swallowing my infant son though they were labeled 0-3 months or even newborn! Others claimed to be 0-3 months but were barely larger than some premie sized clothing I had. Yet another strange scenario I encountered was the occasional discrepancy of size within a brand. For instance, the striped 0-3 months size Faded Glory organic footy pajamas were significantly larger than the ABC pattern in the same size and line. My son wore the ABC's for weeks before the striped ones fit. As my son has grown, this problem has not decreased. To complicate matters, almost all baby clothing regardless of brand shrinks significantly after laundering. I have seen a few items decrease by nearly half!
Above: 5 days, 5 lbs. 10 oz., wearing Carter's premie size long sleeved onesie with newborn size socks
Right: 2 weeks, 6 lbs, wearing Gerber Newborn size pajama
Below: 2 weeks, 6 lbs, wearing Faded Glory Organic 0-3 months size pajama in ABC print
As you can see, even the newborn size was large on my little guy, and the empty legs are splayed out as he bends his knees. While it is hard to tell in the picture of the Faded Glory, it's actually much larger than the Gerber. The Faded Glory was cut very generously for width, which I appreciated as he grew. I've found Gerber brand clothing to run the smallest of any clothing line for babies that I've encountered.
Faded Glory Pros: Organic 100% cotton, conveniently available at WalMart, Organic pajamas and two-piece clothing sets for $5, soft fabric, comfort features like padded zippers
Faded Glory Cons: Inconsistent sizing, some styles/color selections ran too big to fit newborns, some styles/color selections (stripes again, specifically the blue stripes...tan stripes were large but didn't pill) had a bad problem with pilling in the wash
Gerber Pros: Best fit for newborns, variety of cute patterns, and designs, available at almost all baby stores, almost always come in multi-packs with a mix of colors, comfort features
Gerber Cons: Thin material, don't seem as durable as other brands, are outgrown quickly since they are so small (my son wore them comfortably for about two weeks and outgrew them within 4 weeks of receiving them)
Now my son is 4 months old and about 18.5 lbs and 25.5 inches long at his 4 month check up. For the most part, he wears 12 month sizes or larger. We have started stocking up on 24 month sizes as they go to clearance.
Right: 4 months, 18.5 lbs, Gerber 3-6 month sleeveless onesie. I should note that this onesie seems to run slightly larger than sleeved versions in the same size. As you can see, he won't be wearing this much longer.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
1) The First Years Fast Heating Travel Warmer by Learning Curve - Nothing beats a cup of super hot water for reheating a bottle, but when you're on a road trip with no Starbucks in sight, this gadget is what you need. The uniquely designed warmer adjusts to any size and shape of bottle and features push-button settings for more accurate temperatures. It plugs directly into the car and has a safety feature to prevent overheating. Those who have irregularly shaped bottles (i.e. not perfectly round or straight) will especially appreciate this warmer.
3) The First Years Take & Toss Feeding Variety Pack - This 28 piece set has everything you need for feeding baby on the go. PVC, pthalate, and BPA free, It includes 6 bowls, 6 spoons, 6 bowls with lids, 6 snack bowls with lids, and 4 spill proof cups all in a zippered pouch for easy packing.
4) Munchkin Powdered Formula Dispenser Combo Pack - Carry cereal and formula with this handy two-pack. At under $5, you can buy multiple sets for the most versatility and convenience. Both 8 oz. capacity dispensers feature a pour spout lid. One has a single compartment and the other is divided into 3 chambers. BPA free.
5)Pandigital PAN7000DW 7-Inch Digital Picture Frame - Rip your child's favorite videos to an SD card for hours worth of entertainment without the stacks of DVDs. Play a continuous video loop or select individual movies. Use a power inverter like this Schumacher model to plug it into your car. Older children can watch it in their laps. For babies, zip tie it to the headrest in front of them. I personally have an Aluratek, which was given to me, but I would personally choose the Pandigital for its many travel friendly features and extras such as built in 1GB memory, 6 in 1 card reader, alarm, calendar, WiFi compatibility, and more. If only they had a cordless version, it would be perfect!