How To Put A Baby in a Car Seat
Fitting your baby securely in their car seat can be very scary, especially if it is your first child. You obviously want to make sure they are as safe as possible and you want to make sure you get everything exactly right. It is important to remember though, that you are not alone and you must not panic. If you panic or worry you are more likely to rush it and get something wrong. Read the instructions, check online, check with a store that stocks the car seat that you have purchased or even speak to a friend that owns the same model. By checking all these sources of information you should be well equipped to fit your bundle of joy safely into their new car seat. I have laid out a number of additional things to check before you set off on your journey, these should help to give you some peace of mind.
Comfort is critical for your baby all the time, but especially so when they are in the car and even more important if you are going to be travelling a long distance. Make sure you baby looks comfortable in the car seat before you buckle them in. This may mean using an infant add on or simply positioning your baby in a way that means they are supported properly by the padding and cushioning your car seat has. Normally your baby will tell you if they or not comfortable, or you can tell by their expression!
Your baby’s head, neck and spine are the weakest part of their body when they are young and therefore the most prone to injury if there is a crash. It is absolutely vital you ensure these areas are properly supported before you set off. Most infant car seats will have good support for these areas but if you feel that it doesn’t you can purchase additional support for the neck and head if you wish. There are a number of options that you can buy and they are not too expensive.
The straps are the part of the car seat that keep your baby from being ejected from the seat if you are unfortunate enough to be in an accident. For this reason it is very important that you have the straps tightly secured around your baby. Be careful however, not to have the straps too tight as you may inhibit your baby’s breathing or even damage their delicate ribs. Snug is what you are looking for here, but not super tight. The straps should not allow your baby to wriggle out of them, this is when you know you have the right tightness.
Most infant car seats will have a base unit to fix the car seat into the car. It is important that you have the car seat and base at the correct level for optimum safety and protection when driving. Fortunately, most models will have a “level indicator” to help you here. If not please double check with the instructions or on the manufacturer’ website to ensure you have the seat and base unit at the right angle.
If you live or are travelling through somewhere with a cold climate you will obviously need to wrap your baby up nice and warm. It is vital though, that you DO NOT wrap and blankets or covers underneath the straps on your infant car seat as this can affect the safety of the seat. Please make sure that you strap your baby into the car seat first and then add any blankets or covers afterwards.
Most babies (unless you are very lucky) will not be overly happy the first (or every) time you place them into their car seat. I have found it really helps if you speak to them softly during the process and explain to them exactly what is happening and why you are doing it. Something like “I’m just putting you into the car seat darling, it is nice and safe in here and really comfortable too, don’t worry I will be getting into the car too”. This will help to sooth your little one and reassure them that everything is OK. It should also make the stressful process of getting your child into the car seat a little easier for you.
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