Tiny Travels – A Guide to Baby Car Safety
Having a baby can turn your world upside down. There are so many new things to consider in order to properly take care of your little one, many of which focus on how to keep them safe in a world designed for adults. While child-proofing your home, and researching relevant health considerations are great steps to take to ensure your child’s safety, you must also take into account safety during transportation. Here is a short guide to baby car safety, which will ensure that your little bundle of joy is properly protected during any car drive.
Baby Car Seat.
The first thing to consider when making your car a safe place for your baby is the car seat that they will use. Your child’s seat is designed to keep them secure during a drive, and should not have any fraying straps or dodgy clips. Take care to choose a seat that is appropriate for your child’s weight and height, and check that it meets the Australian / New Zealand standards for booster seat safety; this information can be found online.
In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to use a car seat made before 1991, so be aware of the restrictions you may face in your area. As a general rule, children aged six months or below must use an appropriately adjusted rearward facing child seat, while children aged between six months and seven years may use frontward or rearward facing seats. If you are unsure about your secondhand car seat, the safest option is to buy one brand new. These new seats may come with a car seat fitting, which will show you how to fit one your own. Remember, once you buy a car seat new, you have its entire history, and can re-use it in the future.
There are some rules governing where children can sit in a car. If the vehicle contains two or more rows of seats, then any children under the age of four cannot sit in the front seat. It is also illegal to travel in a vehicle with a child sitting on your lap. Not only is this against the law, but it is incredible unsafe as the child is not properly secured.
Australian summers can be incredibly harsh, and temperatures in cars during these warm months can soar to an incredible maximum. For this reason, it is important to never leave your baby alone in a car. This rule should also be adopted in the cooler months, as unsupervised children in any area are prone to injury. Data obtained from Ambulance Victoria showed that between September 2014-August 2015, paramedics were involved in the rescue of 1433 children who had been left alone in cars. Not only is this practice incredibly dangerous, but is also against the law. So take care to never leave your baby unsupervised in cars.
One of the most important things to consider when discussing safety of motor vehicles is the state of the person behind the wheel. If you are distracted while driving, you are more prone to accidents that could endanger the baby. Make sure that you are distraction free, and if you need to attend to anything be sure to pull over. If you have a particularly active toddler, you may want to consider chatting to them during the car drive so that they do not become fussy and distract you from the road.
So there we have it, a short guide to baby car safety. Follow these steps, and if you have any questions consult a professional. Good luck!