5 failsafe tips for car travel with newborns
If you’re a first-time mum or dad, there are a lot of things to plan for including how to safely use a car restraint. We’ve put together a failsafe list to ease your mind when travelling with your new bub.
Don’t swaddle your child in a car seat
You should never swaddle a baby in a capsule or car seat, because your child’s arms and legs act as anchors holding them in the seat in the case of a crash. Swaddled babies can easily slide out of the restraints in the event of a crash or sudden impact. When the weather is cool dress your baby warmly, buckle them in, and then pop a blanket over the
Choose the right child seat for you
It’s a personal preference as to whether bub’s first months of car travel are in a capsule or rear-facing child restraint, but one thing to consider is whether you want a restraint which can later be converted from infant to toddler seating? While capsules are safe, some do position bub so his or her body is quite curved. No matter your option, we always advise regular breaks on long road trips so your baby can lie flat and stretch their back out.
Rear-facing restraints can be converted to front-facing easily, with some models able to convert to a booster seat as your child gets older – always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
Check your child seat is installed correctly
While anchor points and luggage points look similar, using the correct one can be the difference between life and death in a crash. All child seats weighing more than 2kg (which is most of them), including new seats with iso-fix technology, are required to be hooked to an anchor point via a tether strap. Check your vehicle manual or with your manufacturer to make sure you use the right point, luggage points aren’t designed to retain a child seat. If you’re unsure you can have an RACQ expert professionally fit your child seat for you.
Don’t over tighten the straps
While it’s important the tether strap is tight enough to stop the seat from moving around, it’s also important that it’s not too tight that it changes the position of the restraint. You should tighten the strap until you have removed any slack, it should never be digging into the seat.
Know when to upgrade child seats
There are a lot of new laws around when to switch your baby from rear facing to forward facing in their child seat – these days it goes on height and age. Most new car seats have markings which show the shoulder height bub should be when you switch them around. More and more seats are available now which allow bub to stay rear-facing for longer, even up to four years of age if they’re not too tall. It’s law to have your bub rear facing until they are six months old, but experts are now encouraging parents to continue with rear-facing as long as possible. In a crash the car seat takes more of the impact when rear-facing.
For more information on kids and car seats visit here.