Author Topic: Baby -> Car Required?  (Read 1232 times)

SyedAli

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Baby -> Car Required?
« on: November 26, 2018, 07:31:54 PM »
Hi,

My wife and I are expecting twins in early 2019.

We had a car from 2014-2017, but decided that the car payment (~$250/mo), parking (~$125/mo), insurance (~$50/mo), gas (~25/mo), and random fees/maintenance were not worth it, as we live in an apartment that is adjacent to our grocery store and a 5 minute walk from the subway. We spent 2018 doing a bit more walking, but mainly using Uber, Lyft, and Zipcar to substitute for our car ownership. I estimate that we saved ~$300/mo on average (and possibly more depending on how bad our maintenance would have been).

My wife is convinced that we will need a car once the babies are born, but I am not so sure.

My boss at work has a lot of experience living car-free. After living car free for several years, my boss found out she was pregnant and bought a car (expecting to need it). However, she said that the car essentially sat in her parking garage for the entirety of her maternity leave, and that she only uses it to drive to work now (even though she doesn't need to - she can walk to work in ~20 minutes). She said that everything she needs the car for can be done by Uber. She can quickly install her carseat in the Uber (and the Uber driver often is eager to help install) or order an Uber with a car seat included. Longer trips can be done by Zipcar or a rental car - just install the carseats and you're good to go.

In your experience, does having a newborn baby (or multiple babies) significantly change the calculus regarding whether or not a car is needed? The only advantages appear to be (1) you can leave the base of your carseat in the car, so all you need to do is "click" your carseat into the base rather than strapping it to the seat via the seatbelt clip, and (2) it's essentially an extra closet for your stuff. Neither of these reasons seem like they're worth ~$3,600/year to me.

I completely understand that our need for a car may change over time, and as the babies grow into kids and young adults the need for a car may be completely different. I'm perfectly okay with that. I'd just prefer not to spend $3,600/year on something I don't need for the next few years.

Bonus question - if you don't think a car is needed, what do you think would be a good way to "prove it" to my wife? I'm thinking we could possibly borrow one of my parents' cars (they have 2 and are retired) for a month or two, and if we find we aren't using it, we can just not buy our own car. Short term rentals from a car rental company seem quite expensive ($700/mo, and doesn't include parking or gas).

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2018, 08:48:13 PM »
While I owned a car when my oldest was born, he probably only traveled in the car a handful of times in his first 6 months of life. Adding a baby complicates going out, so whenever possible my wife and I would schedule errands to occur when the other was at home with the little man. If he was in daycare at a location more than a few blocks away it probably would make a lot more sense to get a car.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2018, 09:13:48 PM »
I believe the key word here is twins. TWINS! That word raises a couple specific questions.

1. Will there be 2 adults around 24/7 for the first 3 months? If not, should transportation suddenly become necessary the child care spouse will suddenly be responsible for installing two car seats into an Uber. So, a bucket seat in each hand, then put the children down on the curb, run back into the house, get the base. Install one base, then walk around the car and install the second base on the traffic side while the children sit in the buckets seats on the curb? That sounds like a distinct nightmare.

2. Multiples commonly come premature, and need more medical monitoring than singletons. Basing your twins early days on someone else, who popped out a single child, might leave you very surprised.

3. Distance from services (grocery, pharmacy, ER), and availability of taxi/Uber at 0300?

4. More of a comment/opinion, returning to the carseat. I've frequently heard that most carseat bases are installed incorrectly, and should be installed, checked by a professional, then left in place. Having to install TWO bases into multiple Ubers carries too much risk for me, personally. My brother died in a car, due to failed safety equipment. I urge you to sit down, and truly think through how willing you are to assume that base is properly installed each and every time.

I do think borrowing a car for the first 3 months is a sound idea, to test the waters. You'll have reliable transportation, where you can just leave the car seat bases installed. If you don't use them, no skin off anyone's nose. If you do end up needing a car, you have time to figure out the best one to purchase.

But, Heavens to Murgatroyd, your wife is gestating twins. TWINS! For your own continued existence, I urge you to take a very soft approach when trying to 'prove' anything to her.

reeshau

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2018, 02:43:10 AM »
3. Distance from services (grocery, pharmacy, ER), and availability of taxi/Uber at 0300?

This.  Your arguments against a car are based on utility.  I would bet a beer that your wife is thinking of it as insurance.

We, albeit newbies at no-car living, gave it a go on arrival to Dublin, where many people both have no cars, and struggle mightily to have a car.  (particularly, those who have on street parking)  We had a rhythm going well, but ran into problems with a minor medical emergency with our 3 year old:  not life threatening, not needing an ambulance, but he was in distress and getting a taxi (no uber here, but app-based dispatch) was quite a chore given the time of day.  Nope, sorry, not going to put him or us through that again.

The rest of the time our car is a luxury timesaver.  But it is really insurance.

This said, why have a car payment?  If my guess holds, why not get a safe, basic car (or minivan--you have twins!) and pay cash?  And make sure your insurance company knows it's not a daily driver.  That can get the annual recurring cost down quite a bit, and a cheap car should retain a lot of its value when you find it's no longer needed and resell it.

By the way @Sailor Sam , gold star for "Heavens to Murgatroyd."  Are you actually a Snagglepuss fan?

Kapiira

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2018, 10:49:36 AM »
I could be convinced that there's a way to make carless life with twins doable, but right now it is very difficult to imagine.  I don't live in a big city and haven't needed to be creative with ways to solve these problems, but here are my thoughts on the challenges:

- I agree with @Sailor Sam that having one person lugging two babies to the curb and installing two seats sounds like a nightmare.  Do you have stairs to navigate?  With no steps, a double carseat carrier could be used.  But if you have steps, carrying two 20 lb babies in 10 lb carseats to the curb with a diaper bag will be very difficult. 

- Installing a carseat correctly can take 10 minutes or more, especially if the carseat/car fit isn't good.  Getting the right car and carseat combination is often difficult.  A seat that installs easily and correctly in one car might require a rolled towel or a pool noodle to install correctly in another car, and there are other cars where it just isn't possible to install correctly. I know what you say about your boss installing seats quickly, but I know lots of good parents who are responsible people and still do a dangerously bad job of installing car seats.  My family is full of people who I trust completely with my kids in every way...except with their carseat installations.

- Finding a daycare that you are happy with, you can get into, and meets your budget can be very difficult as it is.  Only being able to look at daycares within a very limited radius seems daunting.  Obviously, if you don't need daycare or are already into a daycare that is convenient you can disregard.

- There's a pretty high likelihood that your wife will need a c-section with twins.  In that case she will not be able to carry babies in carseats for some time after the surgery.  This is a shorter-term concern, but significant all the same.

- How do Uber drivers feel about picking up puking babies/children?  If they're in daycare they get sick all the time.

Aelias

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2018, 11:20:06 AM »
I don't think it's required, but it's unquestionably convenient.  Example: getting two kids, one or both sick, to a pediatrician via stroller sucks hard (ask me how I know!).  Same with Uber, I expect.  The good news is you can get a decent used 4 door compact car for not much money, and particularly if you don't drive very often, the maintenance and gas expenses will be minimal.  What you absolutely do not need--and should hold the line on--is a minivan/ SUV.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2018, 11:23:35 AM »
I believe the key word here is twins. TWINS! That word raises a couple specific questions.

1. Will there be 2 adults around 24/7 for the first 3 months? If not, should transportation suddenly become necessary the child care spouse will suddenly be responsible for installing two car seats into an Uber. So, a bucket seat in each hand, then put the children down on the curb, run back into the house, get the base. Install one base, then walk around the car and install the second base on the traffic side while the children sit in the buckets seats on the curb? That sounds like a distinct nightmare.

2. Multiples commonly come premature, and need more medical monitoring than singletons. Basing your twins early days on someone else, who popped out a single child, might leave you very surprised.

3. Distance from services (grocery, pharmacy, ER), and availability of taxi/Uber at 0300?

4. More of a comment/opinion, returning to the carseat. I've frequently heard that most carseat bases are installed incorrectly, and should be installed, checked by a professional, then left in place. Having to install TWO bases into multiple Ubers carries too much risk for me, personally. My brother died in a car, due to failed safety equipment. I urge you to sit down, and truly think through how willing you are to assume that base is properly installed each and every time.

I do think borrowing a car for the first 3 months is a sound idea, to test the waters. You'll have reliable transportation, where you can just leave the car seat bases installed. If you don't use them, no skin off anyone's nose. If you do end up needing a car, you have time to figure out the best one to purchase.

But, Heavens to Murgatroyd, your wife is gestating twins. TWINS! For your own continued existence, I urge you to take a very soft approach when trying to 'prove' anything to her.

Just FYI- if you do choose to use bucket seats and remove them frequently from one unfamiliar car to another, it is perfectly safe to install them without the base.  The base is just a convenience for when you use the bucket seat with a regular car.

I'd vote that twins = need for car though...
« Last Edit: November 27, 2018, 12:54:34 PM by I'm a red panda »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2018, 11:51:20 AM »
We have two little ones (6 months and 3 years). We take them on public transit fairly regularly, and this works well. No need for car seats, you just get on the bus or train, ride for a bit, and walk to your destination (with stroller if a long walk is necessary).

We don't use Uber. Car seats would be a royal pain. It's not just the effort required to install them correctly each time, but also once you get to your destination you'll have to carry the car seats around with you at the same time as you try to wrangle your kids. This may be somewhat feasible when they're little babies and you just carry them in their car seats, but when they're walking you'll need to have one hand to hold each kid's hand, leaving no hands to carry car seats unless both parents are along. Also toddler car seats are bulky and heavy; I know from experience hauling one through the airport that carrying one one-handed for more than a couple minutes is exhausting.

KCM5

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2018, 01:35:04 PM »
I generally donít think you need a car when you have a baby. But the way you seem to rely on Uber or car shares makes this a no-go to me. I think your underestimating the hassle of car seats. They suck to install and haul around and youíre going to have TWO of them? With all the required baby stuff?

If you dont use carshares daily, go for it. But it sounds like you do so buy a reasonably priced sedan

Clambone

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2018, 03:23:15 PM »
Do not assume that every Uber and every Uber driver can fit your car seats, especially when the kids get a little bigger.  Backwards-facing car seats are really big.  I'm 6 feet tall, and when we had our second kid, I could barely fit into the driver's seat of a Mazda 3 with a backwards-facing car seat behind me.    We had to choose our next car quite carefully (a Mazda 5 works beautifully for us).  I could not fit the seat behind myself in a smaller sedan. I think you will be happier with a car for a while.

Cranky

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2018, 04:13:07 PM »
It may be a whole different Uber experience where you are, but we found getting an Uber with a car seat that was rear facing, or even one that was willing to wait around while you installed one, to be pretty challenging.

I think it really depends on where you are going to go when the babies are little. I donít drive, and when my kids were small, we didnít get in the car for weeks at a time - but we pretty much only went places in our immediate neighborhood.

I think itís going to be pretty darned hard to take two babies anywhere. Try it without a car, and if it doesnít work, youíll know that itís worth $3600 to you.

Freedomin5

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2018, 04:35:20 PM »
We didnít have a car, and still donít. It worked for us because we live in a city with a great public transportation system, taxis available 24 hours a day, and moved within walking distance of a major grocery store and subway station.

We didnít need a car with DD, but found baby wearing to be sufficient. We only have one kid though. With twins It is more challenging (my sisters are twins and I vaguely remember the craziness of trying to head out the door when they were babies). If you go carless, try to have a car for at least the first few months, because after having two humans yanked out of your wife, I donít think she will have the energy or capability to carry or wear a baby for significant amounts of time. Giving is birth is basically undergoing major surgery. Especially if itís C section, which can take up to a year to fully heal.

Kashmani

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2018, 05:18:35 PM »
To the comments above I would like to add that it depends on your city. We were car-free in a large metropolis with a newborn and hardly ever missed the car. However, around the time our second child was born, we moved to a city with a mediocre public transit system and a harsh climate. We bought a car and have had one ever since. I don't use it to commute, and neither does my wife. However, it makes family extracurriculars much easier.

Case in point: My children are now 7 and 9. They have long since out-grown strollers but have swimming one evening per week and karate another. Having a car allows them to put on their pyjamas immediately after swimming and fall asleep on the ride home. Waiting 20 minutes for the bus would not be worth the hassle. Taking the bus would also make it a $20 round trip. Similarly, groceries for a family of four easily fit into a trunk, but would be a pain to haul on the bus.

Once the kids are grown, we will probably sell the car. But for a family of four, the convenience outweighs the cost, at least for us.

As a last comment, I would say this: A car is cheaper than a divorce. Convincing someone juggling two newborns or toddlers to install car seats in an Uber might be outside the realm of the realistic. When we were car-free, I absolutely hated the rare occasions we had to take a taxi, because it required us lugging the car seat around with us, in addition to a frequently sleepy child.


chemistk

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2018, 05:42:37 AM »
Adding to the background noise here, reiterating some points:

-Car seats are a PITA to haul around. You can certainly do it, but unless both parents are present (because you have twins), the parent with the kids is going to be grounded until help arrives. One person dealing with two carseats and two kids (each with potentially different needs, wants, and schedules)? No thank-you.

-You really, really, really underestimate the insurance it provides. Twice when our youngest was a couple months old, he developed a croupy cough. This is considered an emergency worth of going to the ER. This was also 3AM - when the pediatric nurse tells you over the phone to "Go to the hospital NOW, there is no time to consider how you're getting there. We would have taken an ambulance (and eaten the bill) had we had no car. I think my wife has been to the hospital four times now with both boys, for various emergencies. I can't even think of the ambulance bills...

If you believe you can do it, there's nothing wrong without having a car. You mentioned that you might be able to borrow one of your parents' cars - I would do that for a couple months to see how often you use it. After your trial period, ponder the times you used the car and decide whether it's right for you.

But none of this matters if your wife isn't on board. Fully. She's a nesting mother right now, she's always thinking of the kids and their safety, and if she won't sleep easy unless there's a car in the driveway then you might be out of options.

nessness

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2018, 06:42:48 AM »
I think using Uber would be somewhat possible when the babies are in infant seats (you can do a seatbelt install without the base pretty quickly once you get the hang of it), but nearly impossible once they outgrow the infant seats and move to convertible seats (which most kids do by a year). There's no way anyone could manage two convertible car seats plus two babies or young toddlers on their own. So I'd only seriously consider going car free if it's possible to manage solely with walking and public transportation.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2018, 07:42:47 AM »
I think using Uber would be somewhat possible when the babies are in infant seats (you can do a seatbelt install without the base pretty quickly once you get the hang of it), but nearly impossible once they outgrow the infant seats and move to convertible seats (which most kids do by a year). There's no way anyone could manage two convertible car seats plus two babies or young toddlers on their own. So I'd only seriously consider going car free if it's possible to manage solely with walking and public transportation.

It's recommended to move them to convertibles at 1 year even if they technically still 'fit' in the infant bucket.
https://www.parents.com/health/parents-news-now/is-your-1-year-old-in-the-right-car-seat-are-you-sure/


Also, for those who need a really lightweight travel convertible seat,  can I recommend the Serena Next?  It weighs next to nothing, and costs nearly that.  Our daughter (20 months) seems to be quite comfortable in it, despite it not being very padded.  Do note the rear facing weight limit is lower than most seats these days.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Cosco-Scenera-NEXT-Convertible-Car-Seat-Otto/41126739

It's super easy to strap onto our carry on luggage when I use it on a plane, and easy to install in a rental car.  I -still- wouldn't want to install it into ubers constantly around town; but it takes a lot of the trouble out of traveling with a car seat.  (Our regular convertibles, which have more 'comfort' bells and whistles, weigh a ton)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 07:45:09 AM by I'm a red panda »

nessness

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2018, 10:11:36 AM »
I think using Uber would be somewhat possible when the babies are in infant seats (you can do a seatbelt install without the base pretty quickly once you get the hang of it), but nearly impossible once they outgrow the infant seats and move to convertible seats (which most kids do by a year). There's no way anyone could manage two convertible car seats plus two babies or young toddlers on their own. So I'd only seriously consider going car free if it's possible to manage solely with walking and public transportation.

It's recommended to move them to convertibles at 1 year even if they technically still 'fit' in the infant bucket.
https://www.parents.com/health/parents-news-now/is-your-1-year-old-in-the-right-car-seat-are-you-sure/
Thanks - I had big babies who outgrew the height limit well before a year, but that's good to know for advising others.

SyedAli

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2018, 06:03:29 PM »
OP here.

I just want to thank everyone for the detailed and thoughtful replies. One thing that I would point out is that we don't rely exclusively on Uber - we also use Zipcar quite frequently. There is a parking lot adjacent to our apartment that has 2 spots for Zipcars, and then a parking garage within a 10 minute walk from our building that has about 10 Zipcar spots. There are other Zipcar locations in our general vicinity as well. I understand that Uber may not be easy, but a lot of the concerns raised in this thread seem like they could be addressed by a Zipcar - reserve the car, install the carseats, and you're off and running (and don't need to worry about pissing off the Uber driver or oncoming traffic). The Zipcars range in size, from Honda Fit to Honda Odyssey.

That being said, I think I'll take the advice and just bite the bullet on a car. The point about it being an insurance policy is a good one. Also the point about a car being cheaper than a divorce :)

Thanks again for all of the thoughtful responses - this was really appreciated!

SimpleCycle

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2018, 10:37:40 AM »
So we have two young kids and a car.  I am of the mind that we could be car free, but my wife appreciates the convenience of having one.  We have a lot of experience with Uber and kids though because we travel a lot and rarely rent cars if we're traveling to cities.

We live in Chicago, so a dense urban area with good public transit in the city and basically no non-car ways to get to the suburbs.  We both do entirely public transportation commutes, and we walk the kids to/from preschool and daycare.  We use our car once or twice a week - for the grocery store (which can be done by transit but I'm much more likely to go to Aldi if I use the car), and to drive out to suburban locales to hike.  The hiking is actually the biggest reason we don't give up the car.  It'd be limiting, not to mention tiring, to be limited to places we could use a combination of transit and bikes to get to.  That said, I think a few ZipCars a month would probably be more efficient than car ownership.

The thing my wife and I really disagree on is how much of a time penalty we're willing to endure to take transit.  And she has a point - it's sort of the worst to have a cranky kid and not be able to make a quick exit to the car.  Instead you might be facing 30-45 minutes on the bus or train to get home, just HOPING they fall asleep in the stroller.

The hardest thing about Uber with two car seats is fitting in both adults.  If all four of us are Ubering, we often take two Ubers, which of course doubles the cost.  But the alternative is to squish one of us between two convertible car seats, which is super uncomfortable and seems at least somewhat unsafe for everyone.  But that said, the installs/child wrangling is much easier when we are both traveling.

A seat belt install with an infant bucket is pretty easy - you don't install the base, you do a seatbelt install once the child is already securely strapped into the seat.  This means you can meet the Uber driver carrying both seats, place them into the car and then install each one while the children are contained inside the car.

I'd try it out when everyone is in infant buckets and see if you have a desire to continue once it gets a bit harder with convertible car seats.  But just to give you a mental picture of how solo Ubering works when I'm with my 1 year old and 3 year old.

1. Put the two car seats and their bags on the curb before I call the Uber.
2. Put the three year old in a carrier on my back.  Call the Uber and carry the one year old in my arms to meet the Uber.
3. Seat belt the one year old on the drivers side/street side of the rear seat.
4. While he's relatively contained by the seat belt, install one convertible on the passenger side, then move him into it.
5. Then install the other convertible on the driver's side/street side, and put the three year old into it.  The worst part of this is you're on the street side with a child on your back, which is probably not the safest.  This can be replaced by having the kiddo in a stroller, except my three year old can houdini out of a stroller.
6. Get in the passenger seat, apologize profusely to Uber driver and assure him he'll get a good tip.

Some of these shenanigans are because my three year old won't just sit in the car while I wait to install her car seat, so she has to be contained somehow until I can strap her into the car seat.  You are right that a lot of this probably is solved by using ZipCar.  However, you will just need to become a car seat installation expert because an improperly installed car seat is no bueno.

That said, if you are dedicated to being car free there are some alternatives out there to know about.  The Immi Go is a foldable convertible seat that folds down to fit in a backpack and weighs 10 lbs.  It requires the top tether but all modern U.S. cars should have the tether available.  It is for children over 1 and 22 lbs, but note that it is front facing only so you should wait until at least 2 by best practice.  The Ride Safer Travel Vest also works for children who are at least 3 and 30 lbs.  We're thinking about getting one because it would help solve the "can't fit the second adult" problem in Ubers.  Finally, the Cosco Scenera is an excellent travel convertible seat - 7 lbs, easy to install rear facing, and low profile enough that I don't have to ask the driver to move their seat up to install it.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2018, 10:41:48 AM »
Oh, a final note is that I've taken Uber to the hospital in emergencies a few times and just installed the car seat in the Uber.  It's actually much easier when it's just one kid and one parent using an Uber.

chemistk

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2018, 05:55:39 AM »
Oh, a final note is that I've taken Uber to the hospital in emergencies a few times and just installed the car seat in the Uber.  It's actually much easier when it's just one kid and one parent using an Uber.

I'm just chiming in here to point out that if you're in a rideshare-dense area, it's probably BETTER to take an Uber to the hospital than use your own car, zipcar, public transit, or ambulance (assuming the emergency isn't for you). While you're gathering up the kid, you can hail the Uber and let the driver know what the deal is ahead of time. It's waiting for you outside your house and you have a driver whose nerves aren't rattled by the trip and who (if it's early in the AM) isn't likely to be sleepy and running on adrenaline.

That being said, it completely turns into a different scenario if you live in a non-rideshare dense area. It takes an Uber about 15-30 minutes to get to my house after about 9PM, and those precious minutes count in a lot of situations.

Since the OP has twins, I would still very much lean toward getting a car, for the exact reasons that SimpleCycle points out - but for others reading, if you have one kid (or staggered kids), the above is something to consider if you're worried about trips to the hospital.

Aelias

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2018, 12:03:56 PM »
Oh, a final note is that I've taken Uber to the hospital in emergencies a few times and just installed the car seat in the Uber.  It's actually much easier when it's just one kid and one parent using an Uber.


The only time I had to take a kid to the hospital on my own, I probably should have taken an Uber in retrospect. First, I was definitely distracted while driving.  It would have been good to have someone else focused on the driving so I could focus on the kid.  Second, we ended up admitted to the hospital for a few days and racked up $82 in parking fees. I also, I think, left my door slightly ajar or something because my electric car was verrrrrry thirsty on the ride home.



vivian

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2018, 03:26:32 PM »
I think one infant with no car in a city is feasible. Twins changes this. In addition to points mentioned above, twins means you have to put a rear facing car seat behind the driver. Whether this will work with rideshare depends on the specific car and height of the driver.

Also, twins means any trip will involve a stroller. With one infant, I could either carry the infant or put him in the shopping cart. With two, you will need a double stroller. Which is much bigger than a standard stroller and may have trouble fitting in the rideshare car trunk.


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mavendrill

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Re: Baby -> Car Required?
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2018, 12:08:59 AM »
A few notes:
infant car seats used properly make a car-ride safer for a baby. But safer is not the same as safe.  The convenience of car seats makes it easy to run errands and take the kids, neglecting the reality that unnecessarily riding in cards is a real hazard to young children regardless of the (proper) use of safety equipment.  All things else equal, a system that encourages you to not drive is better.

Car seats are heavy.  A car seat can easily top 20 lbs, add in your child, and you can imagine 35-40 lbs in a couple of months.  Permanently installed car seats ameliorate some of this hassle.  HOWEVER, permanently installed car seats have real drawbacks in certain climates.  Most heavy jackets cannot be safely worn in a car seat, so in extreme cold, a pre-installed car seat might mean bundling up babies, taking them to car, unbundling them, buckling them, bundling them for car ride etc.  Now if you use a base and infant carrier this is potentially not a problem, but infant bases are super fast and relatively easy to install anyways, so I don't see the advantage of permanently installed.

If you want to go without a car, it might be helpful to consider your social situation.  Do you have a friend/neighbor who owns a car and would give a ride to an urgent care/er at 2 AM and lives near by?  If so, I think there is no reason to consider a car.