Car seat safety is more important than ever.
There are more cars on the road and faster drivers, so it’s imperative that we think about our kid’s safety all the time.
Most accidents happen within a mile of our homes and ironically these short journeys are the ones we take most risks on!
Three out of four car seats are not fitted correctly. With Isofix nowadays people think that’s great, job done, but actually we need to think about how secure the straps are as well.
I’m immersed in the parenting world and everywhere I turn I am constantly reminded about issues such as car seat safety.
I will admit I became quite paranoid and every time I put my son James in the car I would go through a mental safety checklist.
Rearward facing is best
My first bit of advice is to keep your baby rearward facing for as long as possible. Rearward-facing seats provide greater protection for the baby’s head, neck and spine than forward- facing seats. The energy of the impact is also absorbed and distributed by the seat shell and car seat belts.
In Scandinavian countries it’s mandatory to have your baby/toddler rearward facing up until 4/5 years of age. They have the lowest injuries and fatalities compared with America that has the highest.
Most parents think it’s nice to turn the baby around so they can see you as it’s comforting for them but remember that if your baby has never been front ward facing they know no different. Simply place a mirror there so they can see you and vice versa.
Secure the straps
In the event of an accident your child will be thrown out of their seat or badly injured if the straps are not secured tightly enough. During these cold winter months, it’s tempting to put snowsuits and bulky clothing on our babies and kids but this type of clothing will not allow you to tighten the straps securely. You are far better off getting a blanket that fits into the car seat to keep them snug and warm.
Morrck do great wraps for babies that are quick and easy for travelling. There’s no struggling with outdoor clothing, simply wrap over indoor clothing. See their video here
Choosing a car seat is very individual. It needs to suit your car, budget and size of your baby or child.
Group 0+ is from birth to 13KG, which is usually up to 12 months. After that you have what’s called Toddler Group 1, 9-18KG and should last them up until 3 1/2 years and finally Group 2/3 which will be for all kids up to 12 years of age.
General safety tips:
- Never buy a child car seat that is too big, make sure it is appropriate for your child’s weight from the first day of use. The appropriate weight category is stated on the orange ECE approval.
- Switch from baby to toddler seat when your baby has outgrown his baby car seat i.e. when the top of his ears extends past the top of the seat back.
- Switch from toddler to child seat if your child’s shoulders are 2 cm above the highest openings for the shoulder straps in the toddler seat, when the headrest is set in its highest position.
Nearly all the baby stores will fit your seats free of charge now and are on hand to give great advice. As a first time mother I found the entire experience very daunting so don’t be afraid to ask questions and put your child’s safety first.
Keep an eye out for new safety standards at this year’s show where there will be experts on hand to answer all your questions.