Driving with a child can be a daunting experience and it is quite easy to get distracted. The most important thing about driving with a baby, however, is the proper use of a child restraint seat. These are designed to save lives, but improper use of this piece of equipment can be almost as dangerous as not using one. You do not want your child to become a tragic statistic. Below are some tips to help you keep your family safe while driving.
Finding The Right Car Seat for Your Child
Car seats come in a variety of sizes and features. It can be difficult for any new parent to find the right one for their child. Before buying a car seat, it is essential to consider the age and weight of your baby. Children below the age of 2 are safer in a rear-facing car seat. It saves them from any sudden change of direction due to slamming on the brakes. Once they are over the age of 2 you may make them sit in a front facing car seat. It is best to read the instruction manual for accurate information and whether it is best suited for your child.
Convertible car seats are a great option because they are made to handle small infants and can be adjusted as your child grows to accommodate larger kids. You get get a lot of use out of just one seat.
Always Use The Back Seat
The car seat must be placed firmly on the back seat of the car. This place is comparatively safer than the front passenger seat. In case of an emergency, the child would get more injuries due to the air bag if the car seat is placed on the front seat. The middle of the back seat is the safest place for a baby to ride the vehicle, although some vehicles may not have lower anchors to place the car seat tightly in the middle. You may choose either side of the back seat where you may fix the car seat tightly using lower anchors and seat belts. Whether you use an infant, booster, or convertible car seat, always make sure to use the back seat of your vehicle.
Keep The Little Ones Occupied
Long rides may irritate your child. You may easily keep you child engaged with the help of a toy. But be careful while choosing a toy used during rides. Never buy toys that have sharp edges as it may cause injuries in instances of vehicle jerk. Very big toys are also not advisable while the baby is on the ride. Buy smaller soft toys that are harmless for you baby. Also keep the toy in your car so that your baby is always excited to play with it when buckled in the car seat. Some of today’s infant car seats come with a cup holder which will come in real handy while driving.
Inspect Your New Seat
It is essential to check whether the seat is firm before every use. This will ensure child safety and prevent accidents caused due to loose latches and tethers. Check if the seat is becoming loose or moving out of its place. Check whether lower anchors are fitted well and there is no risk of moving off the car seat while driving. Proper installation is extremely important. If you are not sure of how to install a car seat, read the installation manual carefully. You may also get the seat installed correctly by visiting the inspection center or hospitals where technicians will help you to get through it.
Changing Your Seat
You may need to change your car seat under two conditions. First, if your baby has outgrown the car seat, and secondly if the seat has expired. In both the cases, it is better to get another one for safe car rides. If you find your baby’s height and weight are exceeding the car seat, its time to buy a booster seat for harnessing safety. If your child is over 12 years of age and can sit comfortably wearing seat belts, make sure they are using the lap belt too. All car seat have an expiry date which is somewhere around 6 years. Check the label for the expiry date and get a new one, if required.
Avoid Buying Used
Having a child can be an expensive experience and while it would be great if you could go out and buy the best rated convertible child seat for your family, budget restraints often have us looking for other options. However, you should be extra cautious when trying to save a few dollars on a new child safety seat. This is one area that it does not pay to be thrifty if can help it.
It is not a good idea buy a seat second hand unless you are absolutely sure that it has not been involved in an accident already. Car seats that have been in a crash are of no use and someone may sell you a used car seat that may be compromised. It is best not to buy car seats from someone you don’t know. Ideally, you should purchase a new car seat with proper labels and instruction manuals that will not only help you to install it correctly but also ensure your child’s safety.