The 7 Hidden Costs of Having a Baby

Newborn baby photoHaving a baby is a life-changing event. Not only are you adding a person into your family, but that little mini — you needs things like diapers, food, and furniture — which all adds up very quickly. CNN Money estimates that raising a child to the age of 18 costs more than $225,000.

Our partners at Trusted Choice have outlined seven items that may include some unexpected sticker shock, along with some tips on how to save:

Diapers

Diapers may be the single most expensive item you invest in for your baby. From birth to their second birthday, you will spend an average of $2,500 on disposable diapers – not including wipes or diaper rash cream. What’s worse is that as of October 2013, diaper companies are now “downsizing” their product packages, but keeping prices consistent-which means that parents are paying the same amount for fewer diapers.

How do you save on diapers? Go cloth! Cloth diapers are much cheaper than disposables (anywhere from $250-$500 for a complete set) and can be used on other kids. They are also easily washable in home washing machines. Cloth diapers have evolved from the prefold and “trash bag” pants of the past. They now offer options that make them just as easy (and way cuter) than disposables.

Formula

At an average of $30 a can, formula costs can add up quickly. One can lasts roughly a week. On average, a formula feeding parent will spend $1,800 during the first year alone on formula.

One solution? Breastfeed! Many women encounter issues while breastfeeding, but statistics show that 90% of women can successfully breastfeed when given the correct support. Breastfeeding is scientifically proven to be better for your baby, better for post-partum weight loss, lowers cancer risks, and helps fight post-partum depression. There are many lactation consultants across the world dedicated to helping nursing mothers breastfeed successfully.

Nursery Furniture

Cribs, changing tables, mattresses – all of these items add up quickly for a nursery. The average price of a crib is $350. That does not include a mattress, changing table, or dresser. All of these items together will run an average of $700.

How to get the biggest bang for your buck? Buy convertible beds/furniture, or just purchase a crib, and use previously-owned pieces to finish off the nursery. Many changing tables go completely unused, so discuss what works best for your family. Buying a used crib is risky. Many manufacturers warn against purchasing used cribs as previous wear and tear may render the crib unstable.

Car seats

Car seats are an absolutely necessary cost for new parents – a cost that you will shell out at least three times during your child’s life. An infant car seat will cost anywhere from $50-$400, and will fit the child from birth until around 30 lbs. Next up is a convertible car seat, which will fit the child from 30-65 pounds. A convertible car seat can face forward or toward the rear of the vehicle, as most experts recommend having the child face forward until at least a year old. These seats range in price from $60-$500. The final piece you will buy for your child is a booster seat, which will cost $20-200. The major reason for the price differences is safety features.

Saving money on a car seat can be tricky. Attempt to find a car seat that fits the widest size ranges available. Buying used car seats is considered acceptable; however, you should always inspect the car seat before purchasing. Lift off all the fabric parts and inspect for cracks and dents. Car seats also have expiration dates, so be sure to double check that the car seat will be good for the entire usage period you are purchasing it for.

Hospital Bill

Childbirth is an intense experience, and can be costly as well. Depending on the birthing method, one can expect to pay anywhere from $3,000-$40,000.

While uncomplicated births are the most affordable, C-sections and other higher-involvement births rack up costs quickly. Epidurals and other pain relief methods will raise the price of the birth exponentially. Since many hospitals are aware of the financial constraints on new parents, many will have payment options available to help ease the sticker shock.

Childcare

Childcare is a cost that many parents have to consider when planning a family. There is no strict average for childcare costs, as the numbers range due to factors such as the age of the child, health considerations, and length of stay. The average cost for childcare will depend on your region as well. Most daycares will range from $300 to $600 monthly for a two year old. Higher-income areas, like Boston and New York, average $1,000 a month for a two-year-old child in full time care.

While there is no direct way to save money on childcare, limiting the use of childcare, or applying for tax credits (where available) are wonderful ways to save.

Breast Pump

While breastfeeding is free, there are some parents who decide to purchase a breast pump so that family members and friends to feed the infant. Breast pumps can average in price from $100-$300.

Many new mothers find good prices online, and some even find that pumps are covered on their health insurance. So, before throwing down your hard earned money on a pump, make sure it’s not covered by your health insurance first.

Having a child is an expensive endeavor, to be sure. As you prepare for a little one entering the world, it’s smart to start budgeting and making financial decisions that will help your family thrive.

Babyproofing Tips for Your Home

Baby crawlingMaking your home safe for your baby is an important step in becoming a parent. Many homes contain hazards that are well within reach of babies and toddlers.

When preparing your home for your baby, be sure to take a tally of each room – make a map if possible, and figure out where to move things to make each room safe for your child.

Our partners at Trusted Choice have compiled an article detailing the top baby safety tips you need to know, and how to modify your home to be the safest for children:

Address Your Outlets

The most common accidents for children under the age of 5 are injuries involving burns. It’s important to remember this when taking a look around your home. Make sure that every available outlet in your home has an outlet protector on it; keep extra outlet protectors available in case one is lost. If your family can afford it, invest in outlet covers that come equipped with a sliding latch. Be sure to cover any open electrical outlets on extension cords with electrical tape.

Electrical safety for children is important. As your child grows, you must babyproof things higher up. Knobs for stoves and low-placed appliances will have to be moved to higher areas or removed from the room completely.

Lock Away Hazardous Chemicals

Poisoning is another very common injury for children.

99% of households keep cleaning agents under the sink. For that reason, it’s important to invest in child proof cabinet locks. Use these locks for any cabinet that contains harmful items or items that can choke, cut, or burn your child. Even if you don’t think your child will drink something dangerous, they may open a container of something caustic, which blinds children.

Salt is another potential poison. It takes just a tablespoon and a half to kill a 25 lb child. Keep all chemicals, cleaning agents, and cosmetic items in locked cabinets high up where children cannot reach them.

Secure Your Bathroom

Bathrooms are another danger area for children. Young ones can drown in as little as two inches of water, and it’s amazing how quickly they can get themselves in dangerous situations. Always keep a close eye on your children in the bathroom.

Install a toilet seat lock to keep your child from opening up the toilet, and never leave a child unattended while bathing.

Child electrical safety is another factor when babyproofing in the bathroom, as electrical appliances can be pulled or fall into the bathtub. Never use electrical items while a member of the family is in the bathtub or shower.

Prevent Head Injuries

Head injuries are one of the scariest things that can happen to a child. Even a small uneventful run-in or fall can cause a large bump to rise on the child’s head.

Use foam bumpers to surround furniture with small edges, and never leave a child (especially an infant) unattended on a couch, bed, or counter. Always move items out of baby’s reach that can be grabbed or pulled down, such as books, picture frames, or knick knacks.

Reduce Strangulation Risks

Strangulation is another concern for parents. Items like necklaces, shoelaces, strings or blinds can also get wrapped around a child’s neck very easily.

Always shorten blind cords, and keep an eye on children while they play with toys that have strings.

Railings are also a potential for danger. Check railings on staircases to make sure that the gap is no wider than 3.5 inches. If the gap is larger than this, install acrylic sheeting or netting to prevent your child’s head from getting stuck between the rails.

More Baby Safety Tips >>

Photo by Ben Earwicker, Garrison Photography, Boise, ID, www.garrisonphoto.org

Is Your Teenager a Safe Driver?

Teenage driver female photoA young driver in the United States is involved in a fatal car crash nearly every two hours, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration .

That’s from 2011 statistics that showed more than 5,000 young drivers (ages 15-20) were involved in fatal car crashes, with more than 1,900 deaths and 180,000 injuries behind the wheel.

During the National Teen Driver Safety Week, parents and teens are encouraged to discuss ways to ensure that teens receive supervised driving practice, learn critical driving skills, and create family rules regarding teen driving when they become licensed drivers.

Here are tips and ideas to help parents talk with their teenagers about how to become a safe driver, shared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and TheCarConnection.com.

Teach Your Children How To Stay Safe Around School Buses

 

Teaching your children a few simple guidelines about school buses will keep them out of harm’s way and get them home safe and sound, say Carl Baskerville, elementary school principal, and Dr. Ricardo Martinez, administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Here are tips to help parents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Children

•  Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

•  When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.

•   Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.

•  If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.

•  Use the handrails to avoids falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings, and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.

•  Never walk behind the bus.

•  Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.

•  If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

Parents

•  Teach children to follow these common sense practices to make school bus transportation safer.

 

More School Bus Safety Info >>