One of the most important duties you have as a parent is to keep your child safe. This also applies when riding a vehicle. You must be prepared to offer your baby a safe ride as soon as you get out of the maternity. Babies are at greater risk when it comes to car crashes, because their body is fragile, their spine is developing and their head is large compared to their body, that’s why is important to count with a good road risks insurance in case of any eventuality. A correct position of your baby’s body when riding a vehicle is crucial. Using a car seat (child safety seat) is the best way to protect your infant when traveling by car. There are a lot of car safety products on the market nowadays and sometimes it may be overwhelming for you to choose the right one. This is why, you have to take into consideration several factors before buying a safety car seat for your baby. Is really important to have one, since you’re taking your baby everywhere with you, since doing the shopping to longer road trips like going on a vacation or getting one of those vacation rentals houses in another state.
First of all, every car seat is different, so the type of car seat your child needs depends on your infant’s age, height and weight, but also on the type of vehicle you drive.
There are several types of car seats, which vary in the position of the child and size of the seat.
For newborn babies, the proper type of car seat is the infant-only car seat which has the shape of a shell, it’s rear-facing and keeps your infant in a semi-recumbent position. It is designed to distribute the restraining forces over the child’s head and body, excluding its limbs, in the event of the frontal collision. The infant-only car seat is fixed using an adult seat belt to hold it in place and it has a three point or five-point baby harness to hold the infant. This type of car seat is recommended from birth (2-3 kg) until your baby reaches 9-13 kg.
For toddlers and preschoolers, convertible or forward-facing with harness seats are the ones recommended. Convertible car seats have the advantage of placing them both rear-facing and forward-facing. Experts urge parents to keep their children in the rear-facing position as long as possible, usually until about 2 years old, because facing backward gives the best protection for the baby’s head, neck and spine, so there are smaller chances that your child is severely or fatally injured in a car crash.
School-aged children can be placed in booster seats while riding the car. These seats are forward-facing only and they have enhanced side wings designed to protect each of five vulnerable areas of a child including their head, neck, face, torso and pelvis.
Older children can ride cars using the vehicle’s seat belt only if they are large enough to fit it correctly. They must always use the lap and shoulder seat belt to be best protected.
There are also 3-in-1 car seats and All-in-One car seats built for extended use through 3 (or 4) stages: rear-facing 5-40 pounds, forward-facing 22-65 pounds, and belt-positioning booster 40-100 pounds.
Below are some rules to follow and tips that might help you choose the right type of car seat for your baby and keep him protected during car rides:
- Choose a seat with a label that states that it meets or exceeds Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213;
- Read the entire child safety seat manual and install it correctly in your vehicle;
- Always put your infant in a rear-facing child safety seat in the back of your car;
- Never use an infant-only seat in a forward-facing position;
- Don’t use second-hand seats, especially if they were in the car during a crash;
- Be sure to check the tightness of the safety seat before each use;
- Check to see that the safety belt holds the seat tightly in place;
- Be sure to readjust harness straps as your child grows;
- Use a car seat base or belt latch for more protection if the car seat you bought does not have one: Car Seat Base with LATCH System, Isofix Interface Belt Latch, B-Safe 35/B-Safe Elite Base
- Toys can injure your child in a crash, so be extra careful to only give your child soft toys to play in the car;
- Make sure you’re not placing your baby on a forward-facing car seat too soon;
- Your car seat has an expiration date (yes!) – usually around six years. Read the label to make sure it’s still safe.
- Never leave your child alone in a car, although he stays safely in his car seat!
Nothing is more important than your child’s health and safety. So, be a responsible parent and never make compromises regarding this subject!