For all the emphasis that’s put on your child being born at the hospital, another crucial time for you as a new parent is when it’s time to drive your new baby home in your car, not to mention every time after that when you drive with your baby in the car. Practicing good safety habits for both you and your child will help ensure he or she comes home safely every time. While driving with a baby in the car for the first time can certainly be stressful, here’s a few child safety tips to help put your mind at ease.
Choose a Good Car Seat
While it may be tempting to buy a car seat with all the bells and whistles, thinking that it provides greater protection than other car seats, the truth is that all car seats are federally mandated to provide a specific level of protection, no matter how much they cost. When selecting a car seat, then, simply choose one that is rated to safely hold newborns and which has been tested to withstand crash-type forces.
If you want to save some money over the long-term, choosing a convertible car seat that can grow with your child is a wise investment. Remember, also, that in the unfortunate event that you are in an accident, in addition to potentially getting an auto accident lawyer from a firm like Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP, you need to get a new car seat, even if your child wasn’t in it at the time.
Trying to fit a bunch of harnesses on a tiny baby can be intimidating the first few times you do it. The main thing to remember, though, is where all the buckles and straps need to end up when you’re all done. The chest straps should be over the shoulders of your baby, without being too close so as to cause a strangulation hazard.
The chest buckle should sit even with the armpits to ensure the rib cage will take any forces in the event of an accident. Lower straps should go over your baby’s thighs, and the lower buckle should sit below their belly, to ensure it doesn’t damage vulnerable internal organs located in the stomach area during an accident.
It’s easy to understand the importance of driving safely when you first bring your new baby home. However, as you become accustomed to having your baby with you, it’s easy to go back to old, bad habits. Remember, though, that as your children grow they will be watching how you drive and forming habits that they’ll have when they begin driving. So, unless you want to teach your older child that you’re a bad driver and they shouldn’t do anything that you do, try to practice smart and safe driving habits, especially when you have your child in the car with you.
One of the most common questions which arise as children grow is “when can I transition my child to a new car seat?” the most important thing to remember is the height and weight recommendations listed on your child’s car seat. These are manufacturer recommendations coming from various tests they have performed on the seat.
Try as hard as you can to keep your child in their current seat until they exceed height and/or weight limits for that seat. Since each child grows differently, there’s no specific age for any given transition. The main thing is to keep them rear-facing as long as possible, as that is a much safer position for them during an accident.
For the Long Haul
Properly securing and then undoing a car seat every time you go anywhere can seem like a nuisance at times. When it comes to the life of your new baby, though, nothing is too much to ask to keep him or her safe and secure. Plus, before you know it, they’ll be buckling themselves in and you’ll wonder what happened to your newborn baby.