car seats at every age – infants
These days, there are one million and one different brands of car seats. Like cars, each has a make, model, size, color, etc. It can be intimidating picking one out, let alone learning how to install it in your car. Here are a few basics when it comes to infant car seats!
- Choose one that fits your car and your needs. You should think twice about the car seat you have your eye on. Is it heavy? Think about how often you’ll be carrying your baby in it. Can your baby grow into it? Is there a newborn insert? Also make sure that it can fit comfortably in the back seat of your car. If it’s tough to attach and remove from the base, you may need something more compact.
- Keep your baby rear-facing as long as possible. It’s important to keep the baby rear-facing until they are big enough to turn forward. The American Academy of Pediatrics now advises parents to keep their children rear-facing until age 2, or they exceed the height or weight limit on their specific car seat.
- Make sure it meets today’s safety standards. While it may seem the easier route to take that hand-me-down car seat from your sister or a friend, that car seat may be outdated and not up-to-date on today’s safety standards. Here’s a link to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s info on car seat safety!
- Install it correctly. Most of today’s car seats come with a base. Whether the one you choose has a base or not, make sure you read the installation instructions thoroughly. Most will be installed in your car using a latch system. The latch will be pulled down through the backseat of your vehicle and will attach to a bar ensuring it doesn’t slide around. If your car seat doesn’t come with a latch system, use the seatbelt attached to your car and weave it through the back slots of your car seat. Always refer to your car seat manual for specific instructions. To guarantee safe installation, call your local police or fire station and have them check the safety of the car seat.
- Always make sure the baby is secure. When placing baby in the car seat, make sure to buckle every harness and to place their arms correctly through each strap. Never leave the baby unattended in the car seat if they have not been properly secured.
- Make sure the baby is comfortable. If your baby cries relentlessly every time they are in the car seat, they may just hate taking the ride. However, check every buckle, strap, and headrest to make sure that nothing is pushing or pulling in a way that compromises the safety and comfort of your infant.