Before you bring your new baby home, it's important to educate yourself on car seat safety. It's not as simple as buckling them in and taking off down the road. Knowing important facts can help save your baby's life.
There's no doubt that you will hear some negative and dangerous advice. Usually, this advice comes from older people, from a whole different generation. Their biggest objection is that because their kids didn't even ride in car seats, yours will be fine. Another terrible piece of advice is when they say that your child will be fine wearing a bulky coat in the car because they never had an issue with their kids. It's best to stick to what researchers study to protect your baby.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a baby's risk of dying in a car crash drops by 71 percent if he or she is properly strapped in. Choose a car seat that is well equipped for your car. For example, if you have an older car, you may not have the features like the tethering system to make the car seat safer. Contact your local licensed car seat specialists to see which car seat would be ideal for your car. Additionally, you can contact the manufacturer of the car seat.
While considering which car seat to choose as you look through several, there are some things you should keep in mind: your baby's age, his or her height, weight and if the car seat meets safety standards. A general guideline is from birth to two years old, you should use a rear-facing car seat. When using this type of car seat, make sure you switch before your child exceeds the weight limit of the seat.
Keep in mind, unless you get a convertible car seat, you will need to purchase a new seat when your child is more than two years of age and not exceeding 40 pounds.
The safest place for your baby's car seat is in the back seat, away from any active airbags. If all you have for a vehicle is a truck with one row of seats, deactivate your airbags before placing your baby in the vehicle. If you have only one car seat to add to your car, place it in the middle of the back seat so the risk of your baby getting hurt in a car crash is minimized. Follow the instruction manual completely. Don't skip over any step. Definitely don't assume you will be able to figure it out on your own and skip the manual altogether - this could significantly harm your baby. Every car seat is different so only use the manual that came with the car seat you're using. If you don't have one, contact the manufacturer.
Be sure to recline your child at the correct angle. While in the rear-facing position, the car seat should follow the manufacturer's recommendations for reclining as it will ensure your child's head doesn't fall forward. Additionally, babies need to ride in the car semireclined as it keeps their airways open. Most car seats have indicators right on the car seat, that way you can adjust it as needed.
We get it - You are so excited about your baby's next milestone. However, it's important to keep him or her in the rear-facing position as long as possible. Each car seat manufacturer has separate limits. Follow those recommendations and also talk to your baby's pediatrician about when you can safely make the switch.
During the colder months, you bundle your baby up and get them ready for the day. Without thinking, you strap them in their car seat and take off. What you may not realize is thick outerwear like coats or winter suits can prevent the harness straps from securing your child as snug as they should. You can dress your baby warm while you head to the car but as soon as you get inside the vehicle, take off the coat or suit, buckle him or her in, and place a blanket over your baby to keep them warm. If nobody is sitting in the back seat with your baby, you will want to make sure you have a shatter-proof mirror in the back so you can ensure your baby isn't pulling the blanket over his or her face.
What other tips would you like to add? The main goal we strive for is to make sure all babies remain safe, no matter the situation. Leave your comments below to help fellow parents.