Open-back gowns, epidurals, living out of a suitcase: it’s all good and fun for a while, but sooner or later we’re ready to bust out of that hospital! We’re antsy to get baby home to nap in his own crib under an adorable Winnie the Pooh mobile. But before we get back to our own (albeit, forever different and totally transformed) lives, first baby needs to get home safely. Therefore, we need a car seat that works, fits baby, and that we know how to handle. To get started, here are 5 car seat safety tips that every mom and dad should know before taking that maiden voyage home.
Car Seat Tips:
Find the right seat type for your baby’s size/age.
Until he or she reaches age two or passes up the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer, baby must ride in a rear-facing seat.
Only buy a used car seat if you are fully aware of its crash history.
Never buy a used car seat from a thrift store or someone you don’t know. If a car seat has ever been in a crash, has any missing parts, or is expired, it is no longer good to use and must be replaced.
Register your car seat.
This ensures that if there are any recalls on that seat model that you will be notified. A car seat should come with information from the manufacturer on how to register. Usually you can register a car seat online or by mailing in a card.
Make sure your baby is ready
Very small or premature infants should be tested in the hospital to make sure they can sit in a semi-reclined position. Have no fear, the hospital will be able to help you determine if your baby is ready to ride home. You don’t have to make that judgment call on your own.
Avoid bulky winter wear.
If it’s cold outside, do not dress your baby in bulky winter coats or clothing. These puffy materials make it difficult to properly strap in baby. In the event of a crash, this type of clothing can compress, making the car seat straps too loose to keep baby reigned in. This compression increases the risk of injury. Instead, dress baby in lighter layers, and drape a blanket over the buckled infant if needed.
If you are an expectant or new parent and live near Kirksville, MO, check out Lifeline’s Earn While You Learn education program. EWYL will help you prepare for parenthood and earn free baby supplies. Just because you don’t have doctors and nurses around 24/7 anymore doesn’t mean you have to do this alone.
by Kathryn Farmer
Resources: American Academy of Pediatrics, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Safe Kids Worldwide