If you’re new to the parenting game, you probably have questions. How do you get your baby onto a regular sleep schedule? How does formula compare with mother’s milk? How do you know which car seat to pick–and how should you use it?
Safety guidelines for car seats have recently changed. In today’s post, we examine the do’s and don’ts of the two main types of car seats:
Rear-facing infant carriers provide excellent protection for small babies. However, recent studies show that it’s worth moving your older baby from an infant carrier into a convertible car seat sooner rather than later. A baby who exceeds the height limits indicated on the infant carrier or whose head rests less than one inch from the top of the carrier shell should be moved into a convertible car seat. In addition, all babies should move into a convertible car seat by their first birthday–even if they don’t meet the above height requirements.
Crash test studies with 22-pound dummies–representing one-year-old children–were recently conducted with rear-facing infant carriers and rear-facing convertible car seats. In 53 percent of crashes with an infant carrier, the dummy’s head hit the front seat back–whereas the longer shell of the convertible car seat protected the dummy’s head 96 percent of the time.
Convertible car seat
The previous guidance on convertible car seats had been to switch from a rear-facing to forward-facing position when the child is two years old. However, further research indicates that rear-facing car seats provide added safety for small children. The American Academy of Pediatrics is now advising parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible–until they exceed the height or weight recommendations for that orientation. For some children, the transition to forward-facing may not occur until after their fourth birthday.
Being involved in a car crash can be traumatizing–especially with your little one in tow. Following the above safety precautions can help keep your baby protected.