Ask Jessi: Can I Take My Baby Black Friday Shopping?

November 20th, 2010by Jessi Arias-Cooper

A Reader Asks:

“I love Black Friday shopping, and I really want to go this year. My boyfriend just found out that he has to work, so he won’t be able to watch the baby. She’s only 4 months old, so she would be in her car seat most of the time. Can I take her with me?”

Jessi Says:

Grab some tissues and get ready for some heartbreak. I STRONGLY advise you not to take your baby with you, and by that I mean absolutely not.

It’s no place for a baby, or child in general.  The atmosphere just isn’t safe. Traffic is a nightmare and people are C.R.A.Z.Y. Beyond the obvious dangers, getting a shopping cart to put your little bundle’s car seat in is next to impossible. So, not only will you be fighting your way through crowds, but you’ll be doing it carrying a 25 pound baby seat.

While Black Friday is the kick-off to the merry season of love and generosity, it’s brutal and sometimes extremely dangerous. Every year, as I deck out my Christmas tree and chug some non-alcoholic eggnog, I hear horror stories on the news about someone being severely beaten or trampled to death in the gotta-have-it madness of Black Friday.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the energy of Black Friday. If you’re into it, which I am, the thrill of a successful grab for a $3 set of footie pajamas parallels reaching the summit of Everest. I’ve even gone as far as to throw in maniacal laughter as I claim my prize. What a rush.

Still, as much as I look forward to the big day, where soccer moms and blue-haired grannies openly wrestle over obnoxious dolls that poo themselves, I’ve still had to stay home a few times to hang with my cherubs. Sometimes these situations are just unavoidable.

Missing the early morning doorbusters may be a drag, but your bambino will be safe.

If you still thirst for the thrill of the Black Friday experience, I suggest you:

  • Arrange for a babysitter- Maybe they could spend the night at grandma’s house after Thanksgiving or you could go old school and hire someone you trust
  • Go to the stores after your fella gets home- You’ll miss the morning sales, but the stores will be less busy and you’ll still get your hands on some hot deals
  • Work out a babysitting swap arrangement with another mom- You’ll watch her littles from 4AM to 6AM and she’ll watch yours from 6AM to 8AM
  • Shop online- You won’t get the exact same feeling as you would if you had 10 espresso loaded parents breathing down your neck, but there is still skill involved. You have to find the best deals between the stores, and get to them before they sell out (Hint: Check online ads ahead of time, while your Thanksgiving turkey is settling)
  • Hit the stores before he heads to work- There are tons of stores that  have sales starting between midnight and 6AM. If he doesn’t have to be to work until 8AM, you’re totally golden
  • Ask someone to be your elf- If you can’t make it, make a list of must-haves and have a pal snatch up as many deals as she can. If she only gets one or two things, you’ve still saved a little moola

Don’t let the thrill of Black Friday chaos lure you out with your children. The deals may be mind-blowing, but the risk to your tots isn’t worth it. Bake some cookies, watch A Christmas Story for the thousandth time, cuddle up by your freshly decorated tree and tell your boyfriend that he better take Black Friday off next year.

Jessi Arias-Cooper is the senior writer and an editor for She is a work-from-home mother of 3 boys and has been married for 10 years. If she had time for hobbies and interests outside of parenting and keeping house, they would be jewelry making, baking, watching bad B-movie horror flicks and creative writing . If you have a question for Jessi, click here.

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