8 Quick Tips to Make Travelling in the Car Even Safer
I think that there is a lot of talk about installing car seats in cars correctly, and people are aware that car seats should be installed according to the manual, but there isn't much talk about how to position the child in their car seat.
I remember when I left the hospital with my baby, I had no idea how to put her into the capsule. I know a lot more now than I did then, so here are a few tips. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.
1. The harness should be tight
I asked one of the product designers for one of our car seat brands 'how tight exactly?' his response: 'In Norway, we say until they're blue'. OK that's a bit extreme, but you get what he means, right? You need the straps to be firm so that they hold the child in the seat properly, because unlike the adult seat belts in your car, child car seat harnesses don't lock in the event of an accident, so they need to be firm right from the get-go. A good rule of thumb is that you should only be able to fit one finger between the child's chest and the harness.
2. Make sure the straps aren't twisted
Car seats are tested on crash test dummies, and the straps are never twisted. For this reason the safety of your seat can't be guaranteed if there are twists in the straps. Plus, it'll be easier to get the straps nice and tight if there aren't any twists in there.
3. Try a mirror
Sometimes people tell us that their baby doesn't like to be in the car rear facing, but the thing is that babies are way safer in the car if they're rear facing. Our first recommendation is always that you attach a mirror to the headrest above the baby's car seat, so that they can see you in the front.
Besafe Baby Mirror
4. Place the chest clip at armpit level
If your capsule has a chest clip (and not all of them do) make sure that it is level with the baby's armpits. They aren't designed to sit over baby's tummy or up near their neck.
5. Always use a car seat
Even for short trips, or when you're on holiday in countries where car seats may not be required by law. If you're travelling overseas you might be able to take your one with you, or you could book a rental car or taxi with a car seat included. We have supplied Corporate Cabs in Auckland with lots of car seats, so when you book one of their taxis you know that your child can travel safely, as it's not required by law in NZ that children in taxis are restrained in a proper child's car seat (!)
6. Know the history
Our suppliers recommend never buying or selling second hand car seats. Now, we know that in a real world situation that isn't always possible, but try to only use car seats that you know the history of, for example seats that have belonged to a friend, family member, or person you trust. The main reason for that rule is that child car seats need to be replaced if they are installed in a car when it is involved in an accident.
7. Put the loose objects in the boot
Loose items moving around the car can be really dangerous in an accident, as they can hit and injure you or your child, so place things like groceries, boxes, and other heavy items in the boot. Unrestrained adults are also dangerous, but you can't put them in the boot - you'll need to ask them to put their seat belt on though :-)
If you drive a station wagon we recommend a cargo barrier between the car and the boot.
8. Use the car seat with all it's bits and pieces
Things like covers and clips form an integral part of the seat. If they were part of the seat when it went though the safety testing, then they should be part of the seat when you use it- every time.
We hope that this article has been helpful and you've learnt something new. Please do let us know if you have any questions.