A simple guide to understanding and utilizing your car seat and accessories.
So it has been an exciting nine-month wait to meet your precious little one and the varying options of safety equipment has had you spinning from one direction to another. The only ringing thought permeating through your mind is: Am I prepared? As parents we innately want only the best for our kids, keeping them safe, happy and healthy is our top priority and we get to exercise this new mantra the very moment we leave the hospital . Your baby’s car seat will be the first piece of equipment she/he will be placed in – you need to be absolutely confident that it will be safe.
Choosing a Car Seat
There are two main types of car seats, either rear facing or convertible seats both requiring their own set of guidelines to follow to maintain their function, which is to keep your baby safe.
A rear facing car seat is recommended and ideal for newborns as well as infants up until 13kg, the reason for having your baby face the posterior end of the vehicle is to safeguard their head and neck against any possible injuries – as the soft tissue around that area is especially delicate and sensitive to even the slightest jerk.
In fact more than 7 out of 10 road accidents are due to a head on collision, meaning that the effect of this kind of impact, throws any passengers forward to create a whiplash motion which could prove fatal to a young infant. You can insure your vehicle against minor accidents, but if your car is not fitted with the correct car seat you could be risking more than just your monetary assets.
The convertible seat, or forward facing car seat is recommended for infants that are 13kg and above, it is a larger seat that allows you to convert it as your baby grows.
So you’ve shopped around and finally you settled down and purchased the savviest tools for the baby travelling trade and have not a clue how to properly and safely use it?
Car Seat Installation
This is gravely important, a poorly installed car seat – whether rear or forward facing – can greatly affect the safety of your baby in even the most docile of incidents.
- Read the instructions, a simple yet severely overlooked notion for many new parents. It is extremely important that the manufactures guidelines are followed with pin-point accuracy.
- Secure the seat, by diligently checking to see if the car seats bottom and back is flush against the vehicle’s back passenger seat. Check the instructions for the recommended recline or angle.
- Choose a rear-facing direction, if you are installing your car seat in the front passenger seat deactivate the airbag function – otherwise keep your baby in the back passenger seat for added safety.
- Do a 2.5cm check, if the car seat is installed properly – whether you are using a LATCH system or the conventional threading with the seatbelt method – it should not move more than 2.5cm in any given direction.
- Check the seatbelt, make sure that all seatbelts and straps are secure and not twisted or knotted which could easily happen.
- Comfort check, make sure you baby is comfortable with their head and neck supported with specialized car seat neck pillows or blankets.
Great! You checked everything, baby is happy and so are you – happy travels.