Friday, December 18, 2015

The Importance of an Infant Car Seat ~ Road Safety Series.

Being a first time mam can be pretty daunting in and of itself. There’s just so much to take in- advice by the bucket load and so. much. stuff. to buy. The very first decision we make for our little one’s safety is their car seat. Most Irish maternity hospitals now ensure you have a seat before they allow you to leave the ward, so I thought we’d talk a little about your options when it comes to your first purchase. To save money down the line it can seem ideal to buy a convertible seat (one that rear faces while baby is new born then converts as baby grows) but we’ll take a look today at why it’s a much safer option to start out with a car seat specifically designed for infants.

Why Do I Need an Infant Child Seat?

There are two distinct advantages to a specially designed infant car seat over the convertible option. First being far and away the most important- safety. Babies by their very nature are top-heavy, their little heads making up the majority of their body weight when born. A rear-facing child seat reduces the risk of injury in a head-on collision by more than 80%* when compared to a conventional forward-facing seat, as infant car seats are specifically cushioned with this weight difference in mind. This means that the force of an impact is distributed evenly over a large area.

The second advantage is convenience. Compact, easy to install infant car seats are now sold as part of newborn travel systems. The detachable seat can be transferred to pushchairs with ease. When the last thing you want to do is wake up a baby who hasn't slept for more than two hours at a time, then you best believe it's convenient to lift them from the car without disturbing their slumber.

The Difference between Infant Seats and Others

What Differentiates an Infant Car Seat?

· Usually smaller than their convertible counterparts. Most will have a carry handle, especially if they are bought as part of a travel system.

· The 3 or 5 point harness means baby will be as secure as possible in the seat. Some models recline, though you may pay more for that feature.

· ISOFIX bases are by far the most convenient part of Infant Car Seats. The base is easily clicked into place and you can be secure in the knowledge that they are fitted correctly. The base also remains in the car at all times, so you have the convenience of one click safety. You can buy more than one base for the same seat should you be using more than one vehicle in the family. 

These seats are used for infants up to 22 to 40 pounds, depending on the model. 
Should be used only for travel (not for sleeping, feeding, or other uses outside the vehicle). 

The most important feature of whichever car seat you opt for is fitting. As Infant car seats will mostly have carry handles, it’s important to note that the carry handle position can sometimes be critical in fitting as this acts as a rebound bar in the event of sudden braking or a collision.

Why Choose Extended Rear Facing Over Forward Facing?

It can be tempting to urge our children toward the next milestone in age and forward facing in the car is one of those perceived milestones. While laws are being gradually introduced to make extended rear facing the norm in Ireland and the UK, we really do need to consider just how much safer it is to extend rear facing travel. As mentioned above, if a baby travels in the car facing forwards, their relatively heavy head is unrestrained in a forward collision. Rear facing group 1 seats are 5 times safer in a frontal collision. They protect the neck and head by distributing the force along the back of the seat and are much more effective at protecting internal organs.*

We mentioned in our first post (HERE) the large percentage of car seats seen by the Check It Fits teams that are incorrectly fitted. However, another common issue they encountered was newborns in the wrong seat e.g. a seat that is designed for a much older child.

There are several ways of ensuring your chosen seat is fitted correctly but if you are ever in doubt, a visit to the Check It Fits service will put your mind at ease. This can be done before baby is even born to ensure you’re ready for your new arrival. Check your nearest Check It Fits team stop HERE. We'll be visiting the Check It Fits service on site in January to show you exactly what's involved and just how easy it is to ensure your little ones are as safe as possible, while in the car. 

Tell us: are you about to purchase your first infant car seat? 
Do you have any hints or tips to add on this topic?

Be sure to join in the Road Safety conversation & get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or right here below with any questions or comments you might have.

This is a paid for social media 
safety collaboration with the RSA. 


Madona said...

Appreciate the post. There are many benefits of car seat for babies, as it keeps baby comfortable during the whole journey and reduce the risk of injuries as well. One more thing which I also like in care seats that It has more weight limit than swings as baby swings have some weight limits. But car seats can bear more weight, so doesn't matter if the baby has grown little bit, you can still put him in the car seat.

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