Newborn Car Seat Safety


You know why it’s so important to put your baby in her safety seat, no matter how short the drive: Auto accident are the leading reason for injury and death amongst children, and a lot of occur within 25 miles of home (and not, as is often thought, on highways).

A crash at even 30 miles per hour develops as much force as falling from a three-story window. But utilizing a car seat– specifically the very first time– can be tricky. How do you know it’s installed properly? And how can you protect your newborn’s floppy head? Here’s everything you have to understand to ensure you’re utilizing your kid’s car seat as securely as possible.

According to research studies, children as much as 2 years of age who are put in forward-facing child safety seats are substantially more likely to be seriously hurt in a crash than same age children who remain in rear-facing child safety seats.


There are 3 types of safety seat you can use with your baby:

  • Infant-only safety seat. This small, portable seat (sometimes part of a stroller system) has a carrying deal with and a separate base that’s suggested to be left in the car. (If you have more than one automobile, you can purchase additional bases for a lot of safety seat.) It’s designed for babies and babies weighing up to about 22 to 40 pounds, depending upon the model, and is implied to be used just in the rear-facing position. The majority of babies outgrow infant seats by the time they’re 8 or 9 months old– at which point you’ll need to get your baby a convertible or all-in-one safety seat.
  • Convertible car seat. With a greater height and weight limitation (as much as 40 to 60 pounds), this seat can be used for longer in the rear-facing position and can later on be used in the front-facing position. The only issue: The fit of a convertible seat may be slightly less secure for a newborn. So if you select this model, make certain your baby fits snugly in it.
  • All-in-one (3-in-1) car seat. An all-in-one seat can be transformed from a rear-facing car seat to a forward-facing safety seat and lastly a car seat. Just examine to be sure yours is created to be used with babies (not all are). The drawback is it doesn’t have a bring handle or separate base. And due to the fact that it’s bigger, in addition to ensuring your newborn fits snugly into it, you’ll need to examine its manual to be sure the seat fits your car model

There are also two types of harnesses; you’ll wish to select the 5-point harness considering that it ensures baby remains the most secure:

  • 5-point harness: All new safety seat these days are created with a 5-point harness, given that it offers the most points of security. The harness’s belts connect to the seat at 5 separate points: Two above the shoulders, two at either side of baby’s hips, and one between baby’s legs.
  • 3-point harness: Older harnesses may have straps that connect to the seat at only three points: Two above each of baby’s shoulders, and one between baby’s legs.


No matter the model of car or car seats you have, you ought to always follow 3 important rules for installing an infant safety seat:

Place the safety seat in the backseat. The most safe spot for your baby is always in the backseat– ideally in the center spot, away from passenger-side air bags. If your car doesn’t fit a car seat safely there, put the seat on either side of the rear seat (or, if you drive an SUV, in the 2nd row). One location you should never put a car seat: on the front seat. If there’s an accident (even if it’s small), the passenger-side air bag might open up and seriously injure your baby. (To keep in mind: All kids under the age of 13 belong in the backseat.).

Face it backwards. Professionals advise parents to keep kids in the rear-facing position as long as possible, generally till about 2 years old. Why? Facing backward offers the best protection for a baby’s head, neck and spine. Kids under 2 are 75 percent less most likely to be severely or fatally hurt in a car crash if they’re rear-facing. (Learn when to make the switch to the forward-facing position listed below.).

Make certain the base is protected tightly. A car seat shouldn’t wobble, pivot, slide or suggestion. If it moves more than an inch forward or to the side, it’s too loose. You’ll understand a rear-facing baby seat is installed tightly enough if, when you hold the leading edge of the safety seat and attempt to press it downward, the back of the seat stays strongly in location at the very same angle.

If you own a car made in 2002 or later on.
All cars made in 2002 and later are created with a LATCH system (anchors and tethers designed to attach the car seat to the rear seat of the car). Bear in mind that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says parents need to use either the LATCH system or the seat belt with a safety seat, however never both. Read the safety seat and car manuals thoroughly and follow all instructions. The fundamentals:

  • Location the safety seat base in your car. Find the LATCH system.
  • Connect the safety seat base’s lower anchors to the lower anchors of the LATCH system, guaranteeing there are no twists in the belt.
  • Press down on the car seat and tighten the straps.
  • When the base is set firmly, attach the baby provider.

If you drive a car made before 2002.
Since cars made before 2002 do not have the LATCH system, you’ll use the car’s safety belts to protect the safety seat instead. Thoroughly check out the safety seat and your automobile’s handbooks and follow all guidelines. Installation basics:

  • Location the base of the safety seat in your car and thread the belt through the rear-facing course, making certain there are no twists in the belt.
  • Buckle the seat belt. Push down the seat again and tighten up the belt more.
  • Check how your lorry’s seat belt system “locks.” If it locks instantly, the shoulder portion of the belt will make a clicking sound when you have actually pulled it out. If the seat belt doesn’t lock instantly, you’ll need to use a locking clip (brand-new safety seat always come with one; if for some reason your safety seat does not have one, you can purchase a locking clip independently).
  • Once the base is set securely, connect the baby carrier.


Inning accordance with a 2014 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), less than 10 percent of new parents set up or use safety seat properly, with the majority of strapping the harness or the car seat too loosely. So it’s always a good idea to obtain somebody to verify your handiwork. Attempt any among these choices:

  • Consult your local cops or station house, baby shop or car dealer; most will do a safety look for you totally free.
  • Discover a safety seat examination station near you through the NHTSA directory or call 866-SEAT-CHECK.
  • Bear in mind that only a qualified car seat safety specialist is most likely to be up-to-date on all the current suggestions, so for assurance search for one in your area through the National Child Guest Safety Certification Program.


Ready to strike the road? A couple of safety suggestions to bear in mind:

Gown baby comfortably. Since the harness straps go between a baby’s legs, gown her in pants, leggings or tights that enable you to strap her in comfortably.

Set the seat at a 45-degree angle. If the car seat is too flat, your baby might slide out through the straps; too upright and his head may flop forward too much and make it challenging for him to breathe. That’s why all rear-facing seats have built-in angle adjustors or signs, so inspect yours. Your baby’s head ought to rest at least 2 inches listed below the top of the car seat. Once your baby’s older and has more head control, she can sit at a more upright angle.

Make certain baby’s head is safe and secure. Even at the 45-degree angle, you’ll wish to keep a baby’s head from flopping around. Many baby seats include unique cushioned inserts to protect baby’s head; if not, pad the sides and the area around your baby’s head and neck with a tightly-rolled blanket. And never ever use inserts that don’t included the car seat; it not only voids the warranty, but it could make baby risky.

Adjust the harness to fit your baby. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is not changing the harness properly. The straps on a rear-facing safety seat need to be at or below your baby’s shoulders. Use the retainer clips connected to the harness strap and attach them at armpit level, with the harness clip at the center of your child’s chest, to keep the straps from slipping off your baby’s shoulders. The straps must lie flat and untwisted and need to be tight enough so that you can’t get more than two fingers between the harness and your baby’s collarbone. (If they’re too tight and pinch your baby, she’ll let you understand!).

Use rolled-up blankets if baby slumps over. Lots of babies slouch to one side of the seat. If this happens, position a rolled up hand towel or blanket on each side of your baby’s shoulders. Just use specially-designed assistances if they included your car seat. And never place any padding under your baby, considering that it can affect the safety of the harness.

Strap in toys, too. The last thing you need when you’re owning is a diversion– an annoyed, whiny baby who’s dropped her lovey. So connect toys to your child’s car seat with plastic links or really brief cables, or get among those activity focuses that are specifically developed for a car seat. Choose soft toys, too, so that if you need to stop short there’s less opportunity it can hurt her.


You should never ever strap baby into her car seat in a coat or snowsuit. Due to the fact that they include an extra layer in between your baby and the harness, large winter season clothing can make it challenging for you to get the harness straps tight enough. Instead, cover baby’s body with a blanket over the top of her safe car seat.


Properly-secured car seats are created to be completely safe for a monitored snooze on a brief car trip. However you need to never ever, ever rely on your baby’s safety seat as a spot for napping. A 2015 paper in The Journal of Pediatrics alerted that car seats are not intended to be used for not being watched sleeping– and that babies who are delegated nap in their car seats are at risk of death from strangulation or suffocation. Remember: The only safe place for a baby to sleep is on her back, in her crib.


Lots of infant car seats can lock into shopping carts, which is sure to be practical however likewise possibly harmful. The weight of the baby and car seat makes the shopping cart top-heavy and most likely to tip over. So be additional vigilant when placing your baby’s car seat on a shopping cart (or, as suggested by the AAP, use a sling, baby provider or stroller for optimum safety while shopping).


The Federal Air travel Administration (FAA) suggests using a child safety seat in flight (protected with the plane safety belt) up until age 4. The majority of baby, convertible and forward-facing seats are licensed for use on aircrafts.


The AAP recommends that children remain in the rear-facing position up until they’re at least 2 years of ages or have struck their seat’s weight limit. It is essential to inspect the manufacturers’ standards to learn if it is time to get a brand-new seat or, when it comes to a convertible seat, change the position. If you’ve lost the paper instructions (it takes place!) many web sites have them as downloadable PDFs.

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