Posts Tagged ‘car safety’

Choosing a car seat for your premature baby

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

This is an exciting moment! Your baby has been discharge from the newborn intensive care unit (also called, NICU) and is ready to go home.

Now you need to make sure your baby gets home safe. The law requires that you use an infant car seat when transporting your baby home from the hospital. However, the federal government’s standard for car seat safety has no minimum weight limit nor does it account for the special needs of a premature baby.

Learn about how to keep your baby safe while riding in his car seat before your baby is discharged from the hospital. Here are few tips that may be of help.

Look for these specific guidelines for car seat safety for premature babies or low-birthweight baby:

  • The car seat needs to have a three point harness system. Convertible car seats with a five-point harness system are also good.
  • Don’t pick a car seat with a shield, abdominal pad or armrest. Your baby might have trouble breathing behind the shield or may hurt his face and neck in a sudden stop or crash. Premature babies have weaker breathing airways, be extra cautious with this.
  • A car seat with the shortest distance between the crotch strap and the seat back is best. Ideally, pick one with a crotch-to-seat back distance of 5 1/2 inches. This helps prevent your baby from slipping forward feet first under the harness. You can also place a rolled diaper or blanket between the crotch strap and your infant to prevent slipping.
  • Car seats with multiple harness-strap slots are also good. They offer more choices than other seats and are better for small but growing infants. It’s best to pick a car seat with harness straps that can be placed at or below your infant’s shoulders.

How to place your baby in the car seat

  • Place your baby rear-facing. Keep your baby rear-facing until she reaches the highest weight and height allowed by its manufacturer.
  • Place your baby’s buttocks and back flat against the seat back. The harness should be snug, with the car seat’s retainer clip halfway between your baby’s neck and stomach. The clip should not be on his belly or in front of his neck.
  • Use only the head-support system that comes with your car safety seat. Avoid any head supports that are sold separately. If your baby is very small and needs more support for her head and body, then place blanket rolls on both sides of your baby.

Other safety tips

  • Recline a rear-facing car seat at about 45 degrees or as directed by the instructions that came with the seat. If your baby’s head still falls forward, place a tightly rolled blanket or pool “noodle” under the car seat.
  • Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front passenger seat of any vehicle.
  • Remember, the back seat is the safest place for all children to travel while in a car.
  • Whenever possible, have an adult seated in the rear seat near the baby in the car seat. If a second caregiver is not available, know that you may need to safely stop your car to assist your baby, especially if a monitor alarm has sounded.
  • Never leave your baby unattended in a car seat, either inside or out of a car.
  • Avoid leaving your baby in car seats for long periods of time to lessen the chance of breathing trouble. It’s best to use the car seat only for travel in your car.

For more information visit Car Safety Seats tips for parents of preemies.

Snowsuits and seat belts

Monday, December 16th, 2013

snowsuitThe temperature has dropped, snow is falling and we have bundled up the kids in winter wear making them look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. That’s great for keeping them toasty while running around outside, but it’s often not so safe when traveling in a car.

A bulky coat under a child seat harness can result in the harness being too loose to be effective in a crash. A too loose harness may lead to injury from severe jarring or even being tossed from the car during an accident.

Consumer Reports offers this simple way to check if your child’s coat is too big to wear under their harness, as well as what you can do test if it’s too big:
• Put the coat on your child, sit them in the child seat and fasten the harness. Tighten the harness until you can no longer pinch any of the harness webbing with your thumb and forefinger.

• Without loosening the harness, remove your child from the child seat,

• Take the coat off, and put your child back in the child seat and buckle the harness straps, which are still adjusted as they were when he was wearing the coat.

• If you can now pinch the webbing between your thumb and forefinger, then the coat is too bulky to be worn under the harness.

So, preheat your car, take your child’s coat off and buckle him snuggly into his harness. You can then use his coat as a blanket, or tuck a baby blanket around him.  He’ll be warm and you’ll know that he’s good and safe.

Booster seats for “big kids”

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

booster-seatNew York State started requiring booster seats for kids in 2005 and they have reduced the number of auto related injuries to kids aged 4-6 by 18 percent.  That’s a lot!  According to a recent study published in Pediatrics, this reduction in injuries applies to just these older kids because car seat laws already exist for younger children. 

While most states have followed New York’s lead and have adopted similar booster seat laws, there still is a handful that has not.  Three of my grandchildren ride in booster seats.  The two older ones use them, ages 8 and 10, because they’re just tiny people.  I’m glad their parents see the wisdom of keeping them in an appropriately sized seat for now. Almost all the safety equipment built into a car when you buy it is designed for adults, so it’s important to make adaptations until our kids grow into a more adult frame.  Regular seat belts fail to protect children who weigh less than 80 to 100 pounds and who are under 4-feet-9.

Lorrie Walker of Safe Kids USA says Kids need booster seats until they can do three things:
•They should be tall enough so that the seat belts rest against a hard, bony surface — such as the hips and collarbone — not a soft spot such as the stomach.
•Kids should be able to bend their knees at the edge of the seat, even while sitting up straight.
•And they should be able to maintain that position, without slouching or lying down, for the entire trip.

Car seat safety week

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Next week is Car Seat Safety Week, so I’m setting you up with info now.  As most of you know, when it comes to babies, backwards is best. Infants under 1 year should always ride in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of your car. As tempting as it may be at times (she’s really screaming and you’re only 5 minutes from home and someone else is driving and you’ll get in the back seat, too…) never ride with your child in your lap.  Always use a car seat.  It’s best to put your baby’s car seat in the middle of the back seat, away from passenger-side airbags.

And this should go without saying, but I saw a woman do this last weekend so I’m saying it… Getting your child in and out of a car seat can be a hassle, but never leave your baby alone in the car, even for a moment!  Pay at the pump.

Image: Rural/Metro Colorado, Google Images