Baby development, Baby Facts, Car Seats, KidsZone, Safety

Keeping Children Safe in a Car Seat

If you’re a parent on the go, you’ll be sharing lots of car trips with your teeny tot. Car journeys are an important part of our day-to-day life, and car seats are an essential safety precaution for little ones. Whether it’s a quick drive to lull your angel to sleep, or a trip to see gramps, our expert advice ensures they’re safe on the road. The most important thing to remember, by law, children must use car seats until they’re 135cm tall. This is all down to seat belt placement, and if it’s not in the right position, your cheeky monkey could slip out.

So, how can you keep your bundle of joy protected on your travels?

Happy child being strapped into a car seat by their mother

How long can a baby be in a car seat?

The Lullaby Trust study, and the NHS Foundation Trust and University of Southampton, advise against long periods of time spent in a car seat.

From when they’re a newborn to 3 months old, no more than 30 minutes should be spent in a car seat, or until they can lift their own heads. The recommended length for babies and infants is no longer than 2 hours. However, our experts at Kiddies Kingdom, suggest keeping it to 90 minutes where possible.

What about long car rides?

If you’re planning a road trip with your little explorer, you should pull over every hour or two, and take them out their car seat. Just as it is for adults, being cooped up in the same position can get tiring, so a little wriggle about is a must! Of course, driving safely is a given, however it’s also important to keep an eye on your baby. We recommend having two adults where possible, if you know your journey is going to be long. The more the merrier, and it’ll mean more eyes on your munchkin!

Newborn baby in a rear facing car seat, looking out of the car window

Kiddies Kingdom 5 top tips

  1. Your tot’s regular place for snoozing should be a cot, crib or moses basket – not a car seat. We know there’ll be times whilst driving, where your baby will doze off in their car seat. In this situation, just make sure they’re not asleep in the same position, for longer than 90 minutes.
  2. To check whether the harness fits, when you pull on it to make it secure, it should lay flat with no crumples. Also, remember to adjust the position or straps as your bub grows, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Don’t forget to take off big, bulky clothing like padded coats, before you buckle your tot up. The thickness can get in the way of securing the harness tightly enough. Plus, too much clothing can cause your little one to overheat, and a stuffy baby is no fun. You can trust us on that one!
  4. When using your car seat as part of a travel system, the 90 minute rule still applies. If you know you’ll be out for a while, you need to use a carrycot or pram seat, rather than a car seat.
  5. Make sure to keep the car seat secured, even when your baby isn’t in it. This is especially important if you don’t have ISOFIX points. An unsecured car seat causes more damage than it’s worth!

Which way should my baby be facing?

A newborn’s car seat should be secured in the back of the car, and it must be rear-facing. It should never go in the front seat, especially if there’s an active passenger airbag. In a situation, where there’s no other choice, move the seat as far back as possible!

Height based seats are becoming more common, in comparison to ones that go off age/weight. The current guidelines advise that babies stay rear-facing until they weigh 9kg. However, newer i-Size regulations require this until they’re 15 months. It’s not illegal to use car seats based off weight/age. However, our Kiddies Kingdom experts agree it’s safer for little ones to stay rear-facing for as long as possible, as it offers more protection. We’ll let you in on a little secret – your little one’s height can actually be worked out using their clothes. Labels always have height details on them, so that’s one less job for parents to worry about!

We understand all the rules can get a little confusing. If you want to know what regulations a car seat falls under, the orange label underneath it will tell you exactly this! It’ll also tell you, what the height and weight, of the child using it should be. This is especially handy with lockdown restrictions, where you may have to resort to buying a car seat online.

As technology advances and more research is carried out, car seat guidelines also improve. Though some of the research out there may seem scary – don’t panic! At Kiddies Kingdom we’re here to put your mind at ease, with advice that’ll keep your little one safe and sound. So long as you follow the necessary steps, you’re doing the best you can, to keep your teeny tot safe on their travels!

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