Car Seat Guidelines for Your Newborn
A 2015 statistic revealed that the failure to follow car seat guidelines leaves one in ten children and babies' lives at risk. Do not unwittingly make your child a statistic.
Nothing in the world comes before your child's safety. The need for a car seat starts at the moment you bring the little one home.
Read on for some car seat guidelines.
How Long Will My Baby Need a Car Seat?
Parents often feel confused about car seat ages, leaving many children unprotected. Your child needs to use a proper safety seat until they reach the age and height requirements.
Children can be between 11 and 12 years old. We will get into the specifics in a bit.
Most Current Car Seat Guidelines
You cannot control the way others drive, but you can keep baby safe by keeping up with the current safety recommendations. Here are the most recent car seat guidelines to follow as your child grows.
Infant Carriers (Rear Facing Car Seats)
From the moment you leave the hospital with your bundle of joy, you need to keep them safe in a properly installed car seat. We recommend you purchase an i-size car seat well before baby makes their appearance to give yourself time learn the correct use of the CSR (child restraint system) and how to safely install it into your car.
Your infant should sit in a rear facing seat as long as possible, at least until they turn 15 months and ideally longer. Most parents wait until the child weighs nearly 16 kg - 18kgs before to face them forward and sometimes even longer if their choose an extended rear facing car seat to 25kgs.
Why Is Rear Facing Important?
A rear facing car seat makes young children 5 times less likely to die or face serious injury in a car accident. Facing baby backwards offers more support for their little neck and head.
They distribute the force of a crash along the outer shell of the car seat, and the snug harness keeps them in the seat, making impact less dangerous. Plus, the law says your child must stay in a rear-facing seat until they exceed 9 kg or over 15 months old depending on whether your infant carrier follows the old R44 0/4 regulation or the latest R129 regulation. (check the labeling on your car seat for more information)
Types of Rear Facing Seats
When choosing your first car seat, you should consider:
- safety standards
- if you want to pay a larger price now or more later
- if you want the seat to "grow" with your baby
- if a detachable carrier or a permanent convertible seat would better suit your needs
Once you decide, you can choose from three types of rear facing car seats. Your choice includes:
This is the latest European standard for car seats, and fits the seat to the car using the isofix system. This means that they fit properly into all cars with i-Size locations and are compatible with most vehicles with ISOfix (please check the compatibility list from the car seat manufacturer to ensure the car seat is suitable for your vehicle. As of writing their are currently 2 regulations running in parallel; R44 0/4 and R129. Both are legal to use, however we would recommend investing in a car seat approved to the latest standard.
Rear Facing Only
This type of infant car seat only face rearwards in your vehicle and typically is suitable from birth to around 12-15 months. They are usually installed with a lap and diagonal seat belt or an ISOfix base which allows for stress free installation. When you remove the infant carrier the ISOfix base is left in the car when you exit. Some even fit to a pram! Most models typically carry children from 0 kg to between 13kgs.
Though these seats make your baby safe during travel, you should never leave them in there to nap, eat, or play. Leaving your infant in a car seat for an extended period of time creates a suffocation risk, as their underdeveloped neck muscles can cause their heavy heads to flop forward for too long.
This type of seat allows your pound to travel further, as you can turn baby around in it when they reach the height or weight requirement. A combination seat costs a bit more initially, but eliminates the need to continuously car seat shop as your little one grows.
They do not contain an infant carrier, but this type of seat also provides a booster for the older child. Due to their size, they may not fit rear facing in vehicles with smaller seats.
Important Rear Facing Safety Tips
Follow these tips to optimize your baby's car seat safety:
- secure the car seat to the seat of the car with ISOfix or a lap and diagonal seat belt
- thoroughly read instructions to ensure the safety belt wraps around or through the correct pathway
- harness your baby for a snug fit, leaving no room for an impact to move them
- do not keep fluffy coats or blankets on your child beneath the harness
- do not place the seat in the front or near airbags
- do not worry if your toddler's legs touch the seat, this will not hurt them
If you still feel unsure, ask your retailer if they can help you properly fit the seat or direct you to somebody who can.
Group 1 (Front Facing Car Seats)
You can legally face your child towards the front at 9 kgs for the old R44 0/4 regulation or from 15 months for R129. Though, as mentioned earlier, research suggests waiting until they turn 4 or more protects them better. Your child can fit into this seat from about 12 months until about 4.5 years, weighing from 9-18 kg.
Choose a seat that follows EU regulations to avoid fines and injury. As with the rear facing seats, proper installation and harnessing is key to keeping your toddler safe during an impact.
Group 2/3 (Booster Seat)
A high back booster seat bumps the child's height and girth so that the regular safety harness fits your child properly. Booster seat guidelines often get ignored, because parents simply do not know that their larger child still needs the extra safety measure.
Failure to use this seat often results in neck injury and injuries of the ribs and/or internal organs, during a crash. The booster seat guidelines state:
- a child must use a booster seat until the age of 12
- if they do not stand 135 cm by 12, then they must continue to sit in a booster seat
- the seat must be fitted according to manufacturers instruction
Following these guidelines not only keep you out of trouble with the law, they keep your children safe.
Purchase A Proper Car Seat Today!
Whether you need to find a seat for a bundle on the way or your child already uses a car seat, make sure the seat follows car seat guidelines. If your current seat is not i-size, then you should consider shopping for a new one today.
At Baby & Co, we want to keep your baby safe throughout their entire childhood. Visit our website to purchase a new, stylish car seat and all the accessories you may need!