If you are a parent with a car, it is important that you install a car seat for your baby before you can even bring them with you on a long trip using the vehicle. In fact, there are some countries with laws that provide you with a mandate that requires you to have one before you can even think of bringing your baby with you in your car.
Depending on the rules of your country, there may be some things that are different. However, collectively, there are some rules that are considered to be universal. Such rules are:
- It is important that every newborn baby should be placed on a rear-facing car seat up to two years of age and beyond (so long as their bodies still fit on the seat).
- Babies under six months of age should remain seated and properly fastened on a rear-facing seat. They can only be placed on a forward-facing seat if they already have the ability to control their bodies and heads.
- Once your child is at least four years of age up to seven years old, they should be using a forward-facing car seat and they should be fastened correctly using an in-built harness. The harness should be tightened snugly to ensure that they won’t move during the course of the journey.
- Children four years of age and above should not sit on the front-facing seat, most especially if there are children below their age. If there is a newborn or infant in the car, they will be the ones that will use the car seat.
When Choosing a Car Seat
It is vital that you choose a car seat that is appropriate for your child. That means that the height, as well as the much-needed harnesses, should be present in order to ensure safety across the board. You may also need to look at your car’s manual as well because if you have a relatively old car, you might not have the right LATCH system to fit the car seat seamlessly.
It is also necessary that you try the car seat and look at its features closely. It should come with protection protocols that will help ensure the safety of any child that is using the seat. You can use the car seat in its rear-facing orientation until your child reaches the shoulder height limit of the seat itself.
It is advised that you but the car seat brand new to ensure that all of its safety measures are still in working order. If you absolutely have to buy the car seat secondhand, you must inspect it or have someone knowledgeable about it expect the seat to ensure that everything is fine and working.
When your baby is strapped snugly on the car seat, this is not to say that you should leave them for extended periods of time. Get back into the car as soon as possible, especially if your baby is left all alone.