Keeping your baby safe while driving in the car
A lot new parents don’t strap their baby in properly. Everyone with a kid should educate themselves properly about car seat safety.
This can be a big issue in case of a crash.
Worst case scenario your baby could end up being fatally injured.
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Get the right car seat
Babies up to 2 years have to ride rear facing in California (other states may differ).
It is actually better the longer your kid drives rear-facing. Their spines don’t fully develop up until around 3 years of age and are pretty fragile when sitting front facing in the car in case of an accident.
Also check the weight restrictions on the car seat.
We used this one, it came with the travel system and did a great job. Click here for basic buys.
Strap the baby in properly
This is so important in case of an accident. Strapping the baby in properly can make the difference between badly injured or getting out with just a scratch.
Make sure the shoulder straps are the right height – not too low and not to high just above the shoulders.
Pull tight until you can’t pinch it anymore.
This seems really right to new parents and honestly it was weird to me too, after all a newborn is so fragile but it is a must for them to be safe.
Make sure the chest clip is on armpit level. This way you make sure the organs are protected.
If the chest clip is too low it would be pressed into the stomach potentially resulting in damage or internal bleeding inside the stomach in case of an accident.
Keep the handle up
In case of a accident the handle will keep your baby from getting pressed into the seat.
Especially the face of your precious baby.
Always use base or seatbelt
Check your manual to make sure how to install the base or the seatbelt if you ride without a base.
A base is great because you can get the car seat including baby in and out super quick and it’s safe if installed correctly.
A seatbelt works great too, we only have 1 base and use the seatbelt in the other car.
5. Level the car seat
Your car seat should have a red line on the side that indicates how it should sit in the car.
The red line should be horizontal to the ground.
Why is that important?
If the baby falls asleep in the car seat and it is not leveled their head could get too low on their chest and they can suffocate because it is restricting their airways – which brings us to the first…
Don’t let them sleep in the seat
Besides in the car with the leveled seat.
There are reports of babies and even toddlers that died because they were sleeping in the car seat outside of the car so it doesn’t just affect newborns.
I don’t want to scare you, just make sure you educate yourself.
Strap the in baby wearing a jacket
A jacket – especially very thick winter jackets – traps air inside.
If a baby is strapped in with a jacket on and you get in a accident the air will release rapidly leaving a lot of space between the baby body and the straps that could ultimately result in the baby getting out of the car seat due to loose straps and getting injured or worst case killed.
Better use a jacket above the already strapped in baby. You can also swaddle a baby over the straps.
Adults shouldn’t use a seatbelt over a jacket either for the same reason even though rarely anyone does it.
Don’t use too long
Transition to a booster car seat once your baby outgrows the small one.
That means the feet are hanging over way too much or the shoulder straps can’t be put higher and would be too low. Still rear facing.
We got the Safety 1st All-in-One Sport Convertible Car Seat for our baby shower and started using it when she turned 1.
She loves looking outside while driving too so a bit plus is that she is content while driving and the cup holder always contains her sippy cup with water.
Those are the most important things to know for car seat safety.
Do you feel like I missed something important? Let me know in the comments.
This video on youtube tells the story of a mom that got into a horrible crash with her baby in the car. While the mother died the baby survived with only minor injuries.
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