Parents try their best every day to keep their child safe. Sometimes, however, there are times when although they have the child’s interest at heart, what they are doing can actually cause more harm than good. Some of the largest mistakes are made with car seats. Here are some instances of what can happen, and how to avoid it.
Not removing a winter coat
It is a hard decision to make. You have taken your child outside to keep him or her buckled into her car seat on a cold winter’s morning. Any parent with a conscience knows that the child is going to be a bit chilly until the car warms up. In order to keep your child warm, you may want to strap your little one into the safety seat while still dressed in his or her winter coat. Here is why that can be a really tragic decision.
When strapping your child into the car seat with a coat on, you will think the buckles and straps are tight and will keep your child safe. In actuality, because the coat is puffy, it is providing a false sense of security. In the event of a collision, the coat compresses, leaving the child open to being ejected from the car seat because the straps are not tight.
In order to ensure your child is hooked in his or her car safety seat properly, you want to make sure everything is latched securely. You should not be able to pinch any webbing, particularly up near the shoulders, and the chest harness should be at armpit level. This should all be done without any coat on at all. If you are still concerned about your child being warm in the vehicle until the heater kicks in, then simply put the coat on top of him or her or use a blanket.
Napping in a car seat
Riding in the car can be the final straw a parent uses to get their infant to sleep. For fussy babies, a trip around the block in a vehicle is often the kryptonite needed to break a spell of fussiness, no naps, or crankiness that can all be rectified with sleep. Once the baby has finally given up and is snoozing soundly, the last thing a parent wants to do is risk waking him or her up by pulling the little one out of the car seat to be snuggled into the crib. Often, parents will simply bring the car seat and baby into the house, set it on the floor and unbuckle the straps with the thought that the baby will be more comfortable. There are a couple of reasons why it is worth the risk to pull the baby out of the car seat and not leaving your cutie in the seat to sleep.
If not strapped in their safety seats correctly, babies can suffer from positional asphyxiation and suffocate. Their heads, particularly those of newborns, are heavy and cannot be supported in a way that keeps airflow unrestricted. They slouch down in a chin to chest position and airflow is cut off.
Whenever the car seat is being used in or out of the car, if your child is in the car seat, then he or she must be at all times buckled correctly. If any of the straps are loose or unbuckled, then there is a risk of head injury, strangulation, and asphyxiation.
If your child is in the car seat, then you should never set the car seat on a couch, table, shopping cart, bed, or crib. The seat should be put latched into a stroller designed for the carrier, in the base in the car itself or on the floor. Otherwise, the slightest movement can cause the seat and subsequently the baby to fall onto the floor and be injured.
Front-facing vs. rear-facing
When you first bring your newborn home in the family vehicle, the positioning of the car seat in the base is easy. You put your child rear-facing. The confusion starts to occur when your child starts reaching one year and beyond. Simply put, your child should stay rear-facing until they are at least 2 or 3 years old.
A child who stays rear-facing until the age of two, or has reached the maximum height and weight for rear-facing will be much safer in the event of a crash. The spinal column and ligaments in young children are still developing. Because their heads are proportionally larger than their necks, their stability is still a little wobbly. In the event of a collision, being in a rear-facing car safety seat gives your child the best support for his or her head, neck, and spine.
Studies have shown that children under the age of two are five times more likely to survive or sustain only minor injuries when in a rear-facing car seat. Once your child outgrows the infant carrier, then a convertible car seat is an ideal next option; it enables you to position it rear-facing initially and then front facing once your child is large enough.
Some parents feel that their children will be uncomfortable rear-facing as they get older. But if your little boy or girl has only ever been rear-facing, then he or she will not know the difference. It is ok if their feet touch the back seat or are folded over.
Once a child has reached the age or size that makes turning the car seat to front facing, it remains vital that you ensure the car seat is secured properly. The seat needs to be harnessed tightly to the vehicle, and make sure the straps and the chest clip are positioned correctly.
Going to the bathroom on the road
It is guaranteed that at some point while on a road trip you will hear those five words: “I have to go potty.” Nearly every parent has had to do the scramble to find a bathroom and then get the little one to the toilet before disaster strikes. Now there are ways to quickly (and safely) get your child to a toilet without worrying about getting there in time.
The car tire toilet seat attaches to your vehicle’s tire. If you can safely pull over on the side of the road, then it is an ideal way to let your child do his or her business. It also works well in a parking lot, while camping or in an area while a bathroom is not readily available. You can control who is around and ensure your child has the privacy needed while taking care of bio breaks.
Read more helpful Tips for Traveling with Baby.
Every parent wants to do best for their children. You buy everything you need to keep them safe. With a couple extra steps while using your car seat or on the go, you can ensure everyone gets to the destination safely and securely.