Child car seat safety tips
While road safety is a potent problem in India, the car seat culture is still foreign to childcare and health in our country. In fact very often children aren’t even strapped to regular seat belts while driving. Of course regular seat belts can do precious little though as the height of children is much shorter compared to a normal seat belt design.
There are enough and more reasons for the lack of use of car seats, primary among them being the fact that there is no law to enforce its use. Also the fact that people aren’t really aware of the benefits of child car seats, further aggravates the problem. A part of the issue perhaps is also to do with the high emotional quotient where people are loathe to put the child on the car seat, preferring to hold on to the child themselves. The fact however is that the love and concern for the child should actually mean investing in a car seat that goes a long way in ensuring child safety in case of an untoward accident.
Remember that when you hold your baby in your arms, he or she is at a risk of flying off your arms in case of an accident. Head and spinal injuries are extremely common car crash injuries for babies especially those under the age of 1.
Here is some handy information on choosing the right car seat to ensure child car safety.
- Choose the right car seat bases the baby’s age and weight- Typically car seats sizes are based on both the child’s age and weight.
- Ensure proper installation- Ensure that the seat is installed properly in your car. The thumb rule is that once the seat is held by the seatbelt, there should be very little movement sideways. In fact in deciding a model go for one that is easy to understand and install. Product demos can be extremely helpful when it comes to car seats.
- Infant Carriers – Typically up until the child weighs 13 kilograms, it is preferable to use a rear-facing seat, popularly known as infant carriers. They are known to provide the ideal head and neck support to the child and leave you worry free. Infant carriers also have a carrying handle, which means it is easy to transport a sleeping baby without too much disturbance. In fact these carriers easily double up like a carrycot. Of course as the baby gets heavier lifting her while in the seat gets tougher. Typically the first car seat will last you a few months, needing change with the baby’s weight.
- Convertible seats- You could also opt for convertible car seats that can be used as rear seats in the early days and then can become a forward facing seat. Ensure though to see that the seat is fixed properly in both directions.
- Booster seats- These are designed for older children and make use of the car’s seat belts.
Other than the choice of seats, ensure you follow the following child car seat safety tips:
- Ensure that the child is seated properly with the back resting against the backrest and the belt above the pelvic bone
- Ensure also that the harness is in place and correctly adjusted with not too much of extra space between the harness and the child. The strap paddings need to rest on the child’s shoulders. Often times the clothing that the child is wearing also affects the fit of the harness, be mindful of that.
- Ensure that there are no cuts or cracks in the belt. This is particularly important if you are using a hand me down car seat.
- For the child to use the car seat effectively without throwing tantrums each time you try to put the child in the car seat, it is important that you start using the car seat early. The more used to the child gets being carried in your lap instead of the car seat, the more difficult would be the acclimatization process.
With the above issues in mind, you will be able to ensure childcare and health and the elusive peace of mind for yourself as a parent. Here is to happy and safe parenting!