Car Seat Safety: Using the Infant Seat Properly While Outside the Car

September 9, 2015

If you missed my last post about how to buckle a baby into a car seat you can read it here. Today I’ll be sharing how to safely and properly use your infant car seat when you’re not driving.?

Many parents and caregivers choose to use a rear facing only seat (also know as an infant carrier or bucket seat) for their newborns and young infants. These seats offer the convenience of being removed from the vehicle so as to not disturb a sleeping baby. However, it’s important to acknowledge that children can get hurt if the car seats are not used with caution. Here are several tips to keep kids safe in their car seats even when you’re not driving.?

1. Keep your child properly buckled every single time he/she is in the car seat no matter where you are. Don’t loosen the straps and don’t slide the chest clip down. Children can fall out or become entangled in the harness straps.?

2. At home. Many parents move a car seat with a sleeping child from the car to the house. If you do this then just be aware that the car seat?always?needs to be placed on the floor and never?on an elevated surface. Infant car seats are at a 45 degree angle when attached to their bases in the vehicle but when placed on the floor that angle changes. It’s slightly more upright and, for young babies with little or no neck control, this can mean that the chin can fall to the chest and cause positional asphyxia. Spending too much time in a semi-upright position can also put strain on the baby’s spine. Allowing a child to sleep in the car seat for short periods of time may be fine. But don’t let it happen daily for hours at a time and never?leave the baby’s side.?

3. While shopping. The only safe place for a car seat in a shopping cart is inside the lower basket. Never ever ever put the car seat on the upper portion of the cart or balancing perpendicularly across the sides of the lower basket. The cart becomes top-heavy and can easily fall over with the slightest bump. In 2011, a three-month old baby died when the shopping cart tipped after rolling over a speed bump in the parking lot.?

4. Avoid over-use. The car seat is the safest place for a child while in the vehicle but they are not meant to be used for extended periods of time outside the car. If you constantly transfer baby from the house, to the car, to the shopping cart, to the car, to the stroller, to the car, and back to the house day after day then you’re using the car seat too much. Babies thrive while being close to their caregivers. It helps them to feel safe and builds a secure attachment. Consider babywearing when away from the home.

As always, I love your questions and comments so please leave them here. Thanks for reading!

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