When you have a child, it changes your outlook on the world. You may be filled with increased love and compassion. Your priorities in life may change dramatically. And—if you’re like most parents—you probably start to realize that everything around you now poses a safety hazard.
You set to work baby-proofing your home. You’ve covered electrical outlets, you’ve installed baby locks on kitchen and bathroom cabinets and you’ve gotten rid of any sharp or breakable furniture. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Traveling with your baby by car brings a whole new set of challenges.
In today’s post, we outline the most up-to-date car seat safety recommendations for your little one.
Choosing a car seat
With a newborn, you have the option of using an infant carrier or a convertible car seat. Studies show that an infant carrier provides the most protection for young babies. However, it’s important to understand when to transition your baby into a convertible car seat.
Waiting until your baby reaches the weight limit of your infant carrier before getting a convertible car seat can be a serious mistake. If your baby outgrows the car seat height-wise before reaching the weight restriction, using an infant carrier can be extremely dangerous. If your baby’s head is less than one inch from the top of the carrier, they are 13 times more likely to suffer head trauma in an accident—compared to in a convertible car seat. Experts recommend moving your baby into a convertible car seat no later than their first birthday.
Choosing the right orientation
Babies should always be rear-facing in a car. Previous recommendations have been to switch your child’s car seat to a forward-facing position at age two. However, further crash test studies have demonstrated that it’s safest to keep a child in the rear-facing orientation for as long as possible—until they reach the height and weight restrictions for that orientation. For some children, this transition may not happen until as late as four years old.
In car accidents involving babies, trauma to the head and spine are a leading cause of death or serious injury. Following the above guidelines can help keep your most precious cargo protected in the event of unforeseen disaster.