Transporting your little ones should be done with utmost care, thus the need for a baby car seat.
Whether your child is a newborn, an infant, or a toddler, you should keep them safe and secure while in transit via cars. Doing this can prevent unintentional injuries that can result from potential car accidents.
However, not knowing how to use a baby car seat properly may also result in hurting your little ones.
Therefore, you should know the following tips when using a baby car seat to secure your child safely:
Using the Right Type of Car Seat
Not every car seat can fit or is suitable for all types of children. Some may outgrow their car seats faster than other babies. If the baby car seat does not fit your little one anymore, you might end up doing the opposite of protecting your baby. Depending on their age, you should consider the following types of car seats when transporting your baby:
● Infant Car Seat - These are suitable for newborns up to babies one year of age, or those within a 22-lb. (10kg) to 50-lb. (23kg) weight range. These seats are rear-facing and vary according to the manufacturer's instructions.
● Convertible Car Seats - These are seats that your child can use from birth until they outgrow it. The weight of your child determines how you should use the car seat, whether in a rear-facing or forward-facing position. Usually, you start a forward-facing position for your child when they reach the age of three. Its bulky frame gives off a feeling of security, though it doesn't offer portability. Some cannot be used in other cars while some cannot be used as carriers.
● 3-in-1 Seats - These can be used from birth to an age where your child does not need a car seat anymore. This type of car seat works as a booster seat or convertible car seat.
● Booster Seat - This is a belt-positioning car seat that your child can use when they reach a weight of 40 lbs. (18kg). You can either use the car's seat belt or its harness.
To find the best car seat for your child, you can check comprehensive shopping guides like Cosier for an in-depth list of the safest baby car seats.
Avoid These Mistakes When Installing a Car Seat
Even if you bought the best and most high-quality baby car seat, it will be useless if not installed properly because it can’t secure your baby the right way. Thus, you must avoid the following installation mistakes:
● Not Reading the Manual - Whether you're a parent of two or more, don't rely on your experience and memory when installing a newly bought car seat. You must study and understand the manual in order to properly install it as innovations may have prompted the manufacturer to modify its instructions and features.
● Putting It in the Wrong Direction - As mentioned, there are different positions for certain types of baby car seats. As a result, you can easily follow the belt paths. The belt running under your baby's legs are for rear-facing car seats, while the belt that flows on the back of your child is for a forward-facing car seat.
● Not Using the Right Angle - Seats usually have a specific range that indicates their angle, which also depends on the child's age.
● Improper Seat Belt locking - When locking the seat belt, you would hear a retracting sound after you have pulled it out. This is the right way to ensure that the seat belt is locked correctly.
● Not Minding the Base - To keep the base of the car seat from moving out of its place, you should secure it tightly. Push down the base while pulling the seat belt slack simultaneously. Moreover, you should use the click connect of the base when it is a rear-facing baby car seat.
Properly Bundling Up Your Baby
Even when it's too cold, you should not wrap your baby in bulky clothing when using a car seat. A child can be thrown off the seat since they can slip through the straps during a car crash. This is due to the extra space created by fluffy padding that flattens due to force.
Therefore, it's advisable not to use thick winter clothing when harnessing your baby. Instead, do these to keep them bundled up safely:
● Keep your small child warm by putting a blanket over them.
● To avoid compromising your child's safety with blankets, you should use those that are specified by the car seat manufacturer. Examples are fitted blankets or aftermarket covers that can give your baby the warmth they need.
● Use a coat as a blanket for bigger children. Cover your child after they have been harnessed.
● Let your child use booties or socks, mittens, and hats to add more warmth. By keeping them warm, they can sleep well during the ride.
Getting Your Baby Car Seat Checked
Child passenger safety (CPS) technicians can help secure your kids using car seats. Especially when you're unsure of whether you have installed the car seat correctly, letting a CPS technician check it can significantly help. They can even teach you how to install it properly.
Before the checkup, you must do the following:
● Check the CPS technician's recent certification to see whether they are fit to do the job. Some may not have a certification, which may compromise the installation of the car seat.
● Prepare 20 to 30 minutes for your one-on-one education. Don't rush because you might miss the essentials. Use this time to prepare all the questions that you have in mind.
● The CPS will not only teach you the basics, but they are also responsible for examining the following:
○ Whether you can install the LATCH system or seat belt properly.
○ Expiration date, visible damage, and recalls for the car seat.
○ Seating position required for a specific type of baby car seat.
○ The manual of both the vehicle and the baby car seat. It's to ensure that both manuals are being followed.
○ Appropriate car seats according to the age and size of your little ones.
Not only should you drive properly when you are with your little ones, but you should also consider how they will be safe inside the car. Their safety relies on their baby car seat, whether you’re traveling near or far. Not only can you transport them safely because you’re assured that their seats can secure them, but you can also focus on driving safely. Using the appropriate car seat for your little ones is a must, and so is following the instructions on how to properly install them.