Babies and Car Safety
The subject of car safety is one that should be taken very seriously as our lives and the lives of our children may depend on it. The following are some of the most important tips, warnings, and most common mistakes people make that you should bear in mind every time you are taking your baby with you for a ride.
If possible, always purchase new baby seats. When it comes to your baby’s safety and health, investing a bit more into a new, high-quality seat is undoubtedly a wise decision. When you are buying a second-hand car seat, you cannot be entirely sure that what you purchased is in perfect condition or that it hasn’t expired. The seat may have previously been in a car crash or some of the parts may be missing or damaged. If you are however forced to purchase or loan a used seat, ask for the manual and all the information you can get on the seat, check if it contains all the parts and if they are undamaged, and make sure that the given seat is the right size for your child.
Choice of vehicle
Not every car makes a good family vehicle, especially for those with more than one child. Preferably, look for a car whose characteristics will suit the needs of your family safety, in terms of size also. For example, having a 7 seater SUV is really convenient for (bigger) families, because of the spaciousness, comfort and great safety features it provides – but it is also heavier, which makes for a safer car in the case of an accident.
Rear and front-facing seats
It is a very common mistake among parents to attach their baby's car seat so that he or she faces the front. In case of accidents or crashes, the baby is much less likely to be mildly or seriously injured if facing the back: upon sudden stopping of the vehicle, the seat serves as a buffer, and the pressure the baby applies on the seat upon the impact is evenly distributed over the seat area, keeping the baby’s back and neck safe.
The first seat you should buy is an only rear-facing one. Keep your child rear facing until the exceed the weight or height of the seat – then you can move on to a convertible rear-facing seat and keep your child rear-facing as long as possible.
The first thing you ought to check is how tightly the car seat is installed, as it should never be loose, so that it doesn’t move during the ride and expose your child to danger. Also, you need to make sure the harness straps aren’t hanging loose and that they are in the right slots, as well as that the harness retainer clip is at the armpit level. Always read your car seat manual for additional information on these details and find precise instructions given by the car seat manufacturer.
Place the child in the back seat
You may think that placing the child beside you, next to the driver’s seat, is a safer option than the backseat, but it is actually quite the opposite. Rear-facing seats (required for babies) should never be put on the front seat. Secondly, having your child sit in the front can be harmful because of the airbags, which can inflict severe or even fatal injuries if activated in an accident, especially if the car seat is facing the front.
Do not leave the child in the car unattended
It simply cannot be stressed enough how important it is to ALWAYS avoid leaving your baby in the car unattended, even for a short while, regardless of how safe it may seem to you. In many states around the world, this is even prohibited and sanctioned by law. Reason—it is far too risky. One of the biggest threats to your baby is a heat stroke, which, unfortunately, often carries fatal consequences. Kidnapping is another enormous risk you're exposing your baby to by doing so. If it happens that you forget that there is a baby in the backseat, there are ways to prevent it, like apps that you can install, designed specifically for such purposes.
The car safety issue is often taken very lightly as people aren’t entirely aware of the possible consequences of their recklessness. So, do differently: read and inform yourself on the ways you can ensure your child a comfortable and carefree ride.