Parenting: Baby Car Seats

All about baby car seats! Forward or rear facing? How to adjust them? What to look for when choosing one, and lots more!

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to first breaths to first steps. This is Beth Garrison. Today. We’re going to talk about car seats. Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages one to 13 in the United States. And we know that car seats can significantly reduce the risk for injury and car crashes, the centers for disease control and prevention quote.

Kersey use can decrease injury by 71 to 82%. The statistic is just staggering. In 2017, there were over 115,000 children injured in car crashes and of these kids only 35% of them were buckled. We definitely don’t want to be caregivers or parents that are. In that group of, we could have buckled them. We should have buckled them.

We would have buckled them because looking back always hindsight is 2020. So definitely getting the proper type of car seat for your age and size of child is so important. Today, we’re going to talk about a general overview on car seats. We’ll talk about safety. What type of limits there are for the seat with regards to height and weight and age.

We’ll also talk a little bit about proper fit as well as specific types of car seats, including infant only what I like to call the baby bucket. Toddler seats or convertible car seats, boosters, and then when to put a child in a car without any sort of car seat and using only. Seatbelt. So let’s get started.

Lots of people ask what is the safest car seat for my baby? Especially starting out. We’re so enamored with our most prized possession. We want to make sure that they’re in the safest. Possible position when we’re in a car, there’s obviously not just one type of car seat. That is the best, lots of different reporting agencies that will give you information.

As far as safety profiles of different brands of seats, consumer reports is one of those as well as there are many pediatric websites and, or even pediatricians can give you insight as to. Data that supports certain types of seats. The things that we definitely know, especially when we’re thinking about car seats, is that they should be rear-facing from newborn to the age of two.

A lot of people ask why is that? The answer is it’s really important to support the upper half of a baby and or child. Or toddler’s body. You want to make sure that the head neck and spine are well-supported. There is actually no concerns about kids being rear facing and their legs being bent. A lot of parents will voice.

Concerns that their children look uncomfortable rear facing what their legs bent, but this may actually be safer. There’s noted to be more broken legs when kids are forward facing in car seats than when they’re rear facing, most crashes are head on. And so you want to make sure that kids are in some type of child restraint, but also in the best location of the car.

Most of the time, it’s recommended that the youngest person in the car sit in the center that’s to put them the furthest away from the airbags women sitting up front don’t do well with airbags because they typically have a smaller frame. So we know children definitely don’t do well with the deployment of airbags.

Each seat per its manufacturer’s recommendation is going to have a height and weight limit. This is determined by the manufacturer and their testing and research. It’s usually clearly noted on the seat with a sticker, usually on the side or the bottom portion of the seat. That sticker is also helpful with noting an expiration date of the seat as well as a lot number.

So if you didn’t have maybe the original paperwork. You could go online and look it up to get proper instructions. All new seats will come with installation instructions. Super important to read that check what the manufacturer recommends, but once it’s installed, you really want to make sure that there’s no more than one inch of movement when you’re holding onto that seat and moving it side to side or front to back.

When considering the proper fit for your newborn, actually sitting in the seat, you want to make sure that the shoulder straps are at or below the shoulders and that the fit is snug. You should not be able to move the harness around. When the straps are laying on top of the baby, you want to make sure that they are flat and not twisted.

Once you click in at the buckle, which is located between the infant’s legs, then there’s usually a chest clip noted halfway up. You want that to be positioned at about arm pit level. The chest clip tends to be adjustable and can slide up and down on the strap. The other thing to think about is that you don’t want any bulky clothing or blankets between your baby and the straps of their infant car seat.

This can sometimes compromise how well they are fit into the car seat. So if you’re worried about them being cold, get them strapped into the car seat first and then put the warm blanket or jacket on top of. Some new parents and caregivers will experience having a car seat check in the hospital before discharge home.

This is usually when a nurse will check heart rate oxygenation and breathing for your infant for usually 60 to 120 minutes, just to make sure that the child is able to sustain themselves inside of the seat. The nurse will definitely be checking to make sure. The child is not slouching or slumping over as this can make it difficult for them to be.

There’s lots of different types of seats. So let’s start by talking about seats that are for infants only. This is what I like to refer to as the baby bucket. It will typically hold a child up until about 35 pounds. So from. Day one all the way up to 35 pounds. Again, each manufacturer may have a slight variance of that, but that’s a good rule of them.

These infant only seats. Also, most of them will come with a base that will be installed to the. First and the seat we’ll click into that. Most of the time you can buy multiple basis to use an other vehicles so that we know the base is fitted and therefore the car seat, which usually stays with the infant can be moved from different, uh, vehicles.

You want to make sure that the handle is down on your infant only seat when you’re driving. And also just looking at. When your child or baby is outgrowing this infancy, if their head is at the top of that bucket, they’re probably a little too big for that. So next, let’s talk about a toddler seat or a convertible seat.

A toddler seat usually implies. You’re talking about a car seat that is a five-point harness. And we’ll take a child from typically the age of two till about the age of five. A five-point harness is considered to be the safest restraint. Um, I like to joke with my parents that sometimes this is just as safe as being in a race car.

And that’s why. Car drivers are restrained that way. You want to make sure the fit is the same as for a newborn should be snug, but not compromising the torso. Meaning that when you click it, shouldn’t bend the child in half or bend their shoulders forward. You also want to make sure that after installation, the seed has very little movement.

It’s good to remember that. Convertible. When you hear people talk about a convertible car seat, it just means that the seat can be safe in a forward position or a rear facing position. So let’s talk about boosters. Next boosters can be two different forms. You can have just a bottom booster that just lifts up the.

Five to six inches in a car or a bottom booster with a back sometimes when you’re converting from the toddler seat to the. It’s nice to have that back just because it gives the child a little bit more support on their sides, especially if they fall asleep. Um, they can kind of lean on that and keep them in a better position.

Booster seats typically take children from about the age of five to eight years old, but better indicators for every type of seat, whether you’re looking at an infant bucket, a. Toddler or convertible seat is heightened weight. Most of the time the booster seat is adjusting the car manufactured seat that has a shoulder portion and a lap portion of a seatbelt placed the lab portion low across the pelvis at the bony part of the hips and moves that shoulder harness from the neck, truly down across the street.

When we talk about where the seat should hit that child, when they’re sitting in a booster, you can see how height is kind of a better indicator as to when a child should be in and out of a seat. Typically it’s recommended that they should stay in a booster, whether it’s just the bottom or the bottom with a back until they’re about 57 inches in height.

Kids should be able to comfortably sit in the car with their back all the way to the back knees bent over the edge of the seat comfortably before you would consider just allowing them to be restrained with an adult belt. Sometimes cars, especially in the second rows will have adjustment of the shoulder.

Part of the belt, which can move that belt away from their neck. But it’s also important to make sure that the lap portion is low across the pelvis. You just don’t want that around the soft part of the.

In looking at any car seat, you want to make sure if you’re buying it new, you definitely want to register it with that registration. They’ll gather information from you and be able to inform you of any sort of recalls or problems that are noted with those seats. If you’re getting a seat that’s used or using a seat from a previous child in your family, you want to make sure of a couple of things.

Number one, that it’s not expired. That there’s no visible damage to it. And lastly, that it’s never been involved in. Car crash or accident. A good rule of them is to not use the seed once it’s six years or older, just because of the integrity of the seed and how it’s built may be starting to break down again.

Most seats will also have a sticker on them that has an expiration date that you should look at. Never a bad idea. If you’re wondering about car seats, how to install them or how well they’re fitting your child or infant. To consider going to a car seat check at your local fire department. Most departments will run this for free.

So you come with your car, the basis in the car, the car seats and the children. And they will tell you if it’s properly fit or not, and who should be in what position of the car. So it can be very, very held. In summary, I think for the most part, we can all agree that car seat restraint for our kids is definitely a safe thing.

You do want to make sure that it’s fitted well, and that if you have any questions about its location or. How it’s fitting on your child to have a double checked by maybe the fire department. You could even have your pediatrician take a peak of your infant while they’re in the baby bucket, but you want to make sure that it’s a good fit too.

So until next time everybody stay safe and buckle up.

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