How Do You Transport An Infant In A Car?
How do you transport an infant in a car? Parents often have to transport their baby by car: from the maternity home, to the clinic, to the swimming pool, to visit grandparents or to the country house. There are several rules for transporting a baby in a car. It is important to know what the car should be equipped for this, whether it is possible to carry an infant on the front seat, how to fix it and what position will be the safest.
Why can’t I carry my baby in my arms?
The first and most important rule is not to carry a newborn in your arms. No matter how tightly you hold him or her during transportation, in an accident you will not be able to hold the infant and protect his or her body and head from overloading. In an accident, a hard impact for an infant is highly likely to cause severe injury.
Newborns’ musculoskeletal apparatus is still underdeveloped: the bones are elastic, pliable, the cervical vertebrae are weak, and the muscular corset is absent. A newborn’s head is too big relative to the body. Because of this, even sudden braking or careless driving over a pothole or speed bump is dangerous for an infant during transportation.
For these reasons, regulations allow transporting a baby in a car provided a special restraint device is used:
- A car seat for babies up to 6 months of age;
- A car seat from six months of age.
By transporting your newborn in a car seat lying down, you reduce the strain on his body while driving. It is safe and comfortable: the infant can sleep in a comfortable position during the trip. Only “0” category car seats can be used for lying down transport. They are installed on the back seat against the direction of travel.
What to do if the newborn is tired to lie or sit in the cradle, worried, capricious and begs to be held? The best thing is to choose a place for temporary parking, park the car and communicate with the baby, calm him down:
- talk to him in a calm, affectionate tone;
- offer to drink water or eat;
- check the condition of the diaper;
- take the baby in your arms, give him the opportunity to move around;
- go outside with your baby, take a short walk.
If the child is already able to sit, and the seat model allows you to change the angle of the back, try to adjust it. Make sure that the baby is securely fastened with a seat belt. Only then can you continue driving.
If you have a car, you should train your baby to travel in it from birth, day after day, increasing the travel time. If you do not have a car, you can call a cab to travel. Warn the dispatcher or driver that you need a child restraint to transport your newborn. Your baby may be anxious about the car seat on the first trips, but most babies tolerate such trips well and fall asleep right away in the car.
What do I need to transport my baby in a car?
The rules of the road allow transporting a newborn only in child restraints. Models are divided into several categories based on the age and weight for which they are designed:
- Group 0: 0-6 months, up to 10 kg;
- Group 0+: 0-6 months, up to 13 kg;
- Group 1: 6-9 months, 9-18 kg.
Child restraints are fixed in the car seat equipped with safety belts. Some models may be fixed using the Isofix system. As long as the baby is under 18 months of age or weighs less than 13 kg, regulations require the child seat to be mounted against the traffic. For babies who grow quickly and gain weight well, this is considered the main reference point for child restraint placement. When the child weighs over 13 kg the seat should be installed facing the traffic direction.
Infants may only be transported in trucks, vans, with the placement of the seat in the cab. It is prohibited to transport an infant in the back of a truck, as well as on a motorcycle.
In addition to the standard seat belts, you can use the Isofix system to secure the car seat. Some cars are not equipped with it. They can have the Isofix brackets fitted by a car dealer. This system is used to attach the child restraint system more securely to increase the level of safety for your newborn.
These are two brackets with snaps on the child seat or cradle. They are inserted into the brackets under the backrests of the rear seats of the vehicle, which ensures a rigid attachment of the restraint system. In the event of an accident, the Isofix system reduces the risk of the child seat shifting or falling off. It is especially important for Group 0+/1.
For a trip with a newborn in a car, you should also take with you:
- wet wipes;
- a pack of disposable diapers;
- several diapers;
- a change of clothing;
- A sunblind (if it is not on the child seat).
On a long trip, baby food, a light blanket and a flannel diaper come in handy. To keep your child entertained, take a few small toys appropriate to his age (rattle, teething ring, toy-suspension).
Can I carry children under 1 year old in the front seat?
The traffic regulations do not prohibit transporting an infant in the front seat of a car, provided that the airbag function is deactivated and the child is against traffic and secured in accordance with the traffic regulations and the instructions of the car seat manufacturer.
- The front passenger seat is not equipped with brackets for the Isofix system (except for two-seater cars).
- Do not place the Category 0 carrycot on it sideways in relation to traffic.
- When using the front seat to accommodate a child seat, you will have to secure it by pushing it as far back as possible.
How to choose the right car seat?
There are several categories of child restraints. Only three of them are suitable for infants:
- “0” – from birth to six months;
- “0+” – from 0 to 12-18 months;
- “1” – from 9 months to 4 years.
Categories “2” and “3” are designed for children 3-7 and 6-12 years. In addition to weight and age manufacturers sometimes indicate the child’s permitted height.
When choosing a seat, consider not only its characteristics, but also the features of your baby. The car seat is worth trying on: children have different physiques and height, so focus only on the weight is not possible. If your baby weighs over 13 kilograms, and at the same time he/she is under a year old, you can not transport your child with a Category 2 or 3 child restraint system.
It must be comfortable and safe for a newborn in a child seat. It is better to choose models that have successfully passed the crash test. They may use different evaluation criteria, different number of sensors may be installed on the crash-test dummy. It depends on the rules of the country where the test is conducted, on the organization that runs it, on the goals and objectives of the test. The main purpose of all tests is to check the effectiveness of protection in case of a transport accident.
In addition to crash tests may be conducted to study the content of hazardous substances in the materials of the product, the ergonomic shape, ease of use and care of the chair.
Before buying a child safety seat, decide for how long you want to buy it:
- Up to six months;
- up to 1 year;
- for a longer period.
Car seat category “0” is used only 6-9 months, and therefore these models are relatively few. They have the advantage of a shape that repeats the sleeping block in strollers. This allows you to carry a newborn lying down. Like car seats “0 +”, car seats category “0” may have a carrying handle. They are attached only by the seat belts in the rear seat, perpendicular to the direction of travel.
The “0+” category is used more frequently. It includes child seats for children aged 6 months to 1.5 years weighing up to 13 kg. These seats are lightweight and have a carrying handle. They can come with an independent base. This base is used to quickly and easily install and remove the seat. It is permanently installed in the car and combined with several car seats of the same brand (usually category “0”+ and “1”).
Individual models are part of the travel system. They can be used outside the vehicle as a rocking chair, and can also be mounted on the chassis, making it a full-fledged stroller for the newborn.
Child restraints in the “0+” category have several advantages.
- They are maximally adapted to the infant’s immature body.
- They provide a position that is close to horizontal (half lying down).
- Thanks to the various soft inserts, they gently support the baby’s head and body during travel.
- Suitable for use from the earliest days of life.
- Often equipped with a sunshade or full flip hood.
- More expensive models may have additional features such as adjustable height headrest and so on.
- Have a reliable design, made of durable materials, provide front and side protection.
- Set up against the movement of the vehicle.
Safety seats category “1” are installed forward-facing. They are suitable for infants over 9 months of age and weighing at least 9 kg. The recommended height is from 67 cm. Group 1 car seats are often able to change the angle of recline.
Models designed for several age categories at once are usually more popular. Using them, you can save money and not buy several child restraints. For such models indicate several groups for which they are designed. For a newborn, it can be any seat that is suitable for group “0” (for example, “0+/1/2”, etc.).
These devices are versatile:
- have removable inserts and parts and adapt to the changing height and weight of the baby;
- can be attached both counterclockwise and in the direction of travel;
- have an adjustable backrest;
- sometimes have a swivel mechanism (180°) that allows you to change the position of the device, helping you quickly get your baby in and out of the seat.
“Growing” car seat adapts to the weight and growth of the child, but sometimes you have to change it, even if the baby is not yet out of the specified age group. It is important to make sure that the seat was comfortable, matched the height, weight, and build of the baby. If the device is no longer suitable for the child, it is best to replace it with a safer and more comfortable one.
For “0+” and “1” category seats, there are two ways to attach them to the car seat:
- With the standard seat belts;
- with the Isofix system.
Isofix seats cost more and are considered more secure, although much depends on the quality of the particular product. Isofix brackets on Group 0+/1 models are usually not built into the car seat itself, but into an independent or single base. Additional brackets can be used:
- a telescopic base leg to rest against the floor protects against tipping during transport;
- the anchor belt is fixed to the backrest of the car seat.
If the base is independent, the seat is installed on it or removed literally in one motion.
The car seat must have internal straps that fasten the child during transport. You can not use the regular car belts to buckle up a newborn. They can only fasten the seat itself. Special interior seat belts can be three-point or five-point. Belts with five-point attachment are safer and more secure.
- A child restraint should be appropriate for the age, weight and height of the child.
- Isofix mounting is considered more secure, but it is not provided in every car. Modern seat belts are not inferior to Isofix when properly secured.
- Models that have successfully passed the crash test provide maximum safety during transportation, but usually their price is higher.
- A universal device, designed for several groups (for growing up), is more profitable. When using it, make sure that it remains comfortable for the child and fits his or her physique.
- It is better to buy a separate child restraint for each age category, trying on the seat beforehand.
- Before buying, make sure that the car seat is certified, complies with regulations and made of safe materials.
The Mothercare online store offers a wide selection of proven and well-known car seat brands, as well as accessories for traveling in the car with your baby.