The entire world was watching as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left the hospital with their first and very adorable baby. Royal watchers surely praised the Prince for his finesse in securing his son in their car. However, a number of moms from around the world noticed something wrong – the royal baby was not properly strapped on. It can be really hard to do everything perfectly when the world is watching you. But when it comes to safety, especially your child’s safety, it is very important to aim for perfection and to always learn from your mistakes.
Car seat safety is important, but it is also a confusing subject for parents, particularly new moms and dads. There are several issues to consider, and below are a few things that you should take into account.
Choosing a Car Seat
In general, all car seats that are sold today have passed very strict standards on fire and auto crash safety. But this doesn’t hold true for second-hand car seats. Used car seats probably have become worn out due to regularly use. Furthermore, straps and other attachments might have already gotten loose or torn.
There are several kinds of car seats, and your choice must depend on your child’s size and age. Basic options include: baby or infant-only seats, convertible or infant-toddler seats, and booster seats.
1. Baby or Infant-Only Seat
The most essential elements to consider when choosing an infant car seat are: 1) back, head and neck support, and 2) rear-facing installation. The head, back and neck must be properly supported because babies do not yet possess the muscle or bone strength to support these areas. Infant seats must face the rear or the back window for safety too. Most infant car seats are suitable for children that weigh 4 to 35 lbs.
2. Convertible Seat
These are called convertible car seats because these can be transformed from rear- to forward-facing as your child grows. A child can stay in a rear-facing position if his weight is between 5 to 40 lbs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children must stay in this position until they are two years of age. Once they reach 2 years and their weight is between 20 to 70 lbs., their car seat can be positioned forward.
3. Booster Seat
Children grow up fast. By the time they’re 4 to 8 years old, they’ll outgrow their car seats. Sometimes, however, they might yet be too small to use regular seat belts. This is where booster seats come in. These give kids that extra boost so that their seatbelts will fit better.
Additional Essential Tips
— Strapping a child onto the car seat must be done properly so that he won’t slip or fall. To measure if tightness is right, you should be able to insert only one or two fingers between the harness and the chest.
— A lot of new parents wonder why they can’t put their child’s car seat in the passenger seat. The main reason for this is that in case the airbags at the passenger seat are deployed, the force could seriously hurt the child. Even if the deployment can be considered as very mild, this can still cause serious head, back and neck injuries to a baby.
— You’ll know when the car seat is secure if you can hardly move it from side to side. One tip is to ensure that once the seat is attached, it should only be able to move about an inch on every side. Modern automobile models also have a distinct advantage over older ones specifically because these are equipped with the LATCH or Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children system, which makes securing a car seat more convenient.