One of the questions we get asked the most by new parents or people becoming parents for the first time is “how to make my child safer in the car?” This is somewhat an open ended topic but one that we all agree should be taken seriously. After all, it’s the law in all US States, UK, Europe and the majority of western society to have your child secured in your vehicle in a car seat.
If you want to know a little more about safety on the move, then read on…….
- Make sure your infant is travelling in the back seat of the car. Generally speaking, it’s the safest place in the car and doesn’t have the added worry of airbags going off left right and centre in the unfortunate situation whereby you are involved in a collision.
- Make certain that your child is placed in a rear-facing seat until they reach at least 1-year-old or around 20 lbs. If your child is over 20lbs before the age of 1, make sure you have an approved, specific rear-facing seat that compensates for higher weight. Always refer to your operational manual if you are unsure and always follow their guidelines. Any infant over the age of 1 and above 20 lbs is safe to travel in a forward facing seat.
- You should always check that the safety seat belts in your car hold the baby seat in place. Check that if the seat can be used either forward or rear facing (convertible) that the correct slots are used when installing the seat. Above all, make sure the seat belt remains tight when you are securing the baby car seat into the vehicle.
- Make sure you buy a seat where the harness fits sung around your baby. The chest clip should be placed at armpit level and you should be able to get 1 finger through to make sure it’s not too tight and make sure that the straps are pulled down fully over your babies’ shoulders.
- There will come a point when it’s necessary to move your child to a booster seat but this shouldn’t be done until at least 40 lbs. It’s important to remember that your child is safer in a fully restrained seat so make sure they are the correct size and weight before making the switch to a booster seat. You should use a belt positioning child booster seat which uses the adult safety belt and this is recommended for children of between 40 – 80 lbs.
- It is imperative to check the fit of the seat belt on older children. Your child must be tall enough to sit in the seat properly without slouching and their knees bent over the edge of the seat and feet must touch the floor. The seat belt itself need to fit tightly across the child’s lap and the shoulder belt needs to fit correctly and should never be put under the arm or behind their back as this is extremely dangerous should you have an accident. If this isn’t the case, you should consider keeping them on the booster seat until they have grown the required amount to safely ride in the back without any booster seat assistance. Typically speaking, a child will not properly fit into the adult seat belt system until they are approximately 4” 8 and weighing in at around 80lbs.
Regardless of how your child is riding in the car, you must ensure they are safe before you set off, every time. Your child’s safety is your responsibility and to make them as safe as possibly, you should always ensure buying baby car seats from a reputable retailer and try to refrain from getting a “bargain” and buying 2nd hand. Stay safe, thanks for reading.