Purchasing or hiring your baby safety seat could be one of the most important decisions you make, as automobile crashes are the greatest cause of accidental injury or death of infants.
Most Western Countries have laws regarding how babies should be safely “restrained” in special baby safety seats for travelling in a car. In Australia – a baby capsule (infant car safety seat) can be hired from the local council. All infant car safety seats needs to be fitted to certain specifications – check with your local council, or some RACV garages can fit them for you.
In the USA the organisation that can best help you is AAA. They can also advise you as to which brands are compatible with which cars. Various local health departments, fire departments, public safety groups etc have fitting stations where you can get help to fit your baby car seat safely.
There are two types of infant car safety seats to choose from: a baby car safety seat which suits a newborn and up til baby has reached 10kg (20 – 22lbs) – these are rear facing car seats – or there are convertible car safety seats – which can be used from newborn til 40lbs in weight (18kg approx).
When it comes to infant safety, the main factors to consider are your baby’s weight, age and your type of vehicle. The rear facing infant safety seat (suitable to 10kg or 22lbs in weight) is often able to be used as a portable carrier for baby, or even as a rocker – when not in the car. The convertible baby safety seat is more expensive – but obviously means you will not need to buy another car safety seat once your baby is more than 10kg (22lbs). Follow the manufacturers instructions, but usually these can be changed to a forward facing car seat position for an older infant. The most popular infant safety seats are the Evenflo car seats, Cosco car seats, Graco infant car seats, and the Britax roundabout car seats. Check both the brand and model number of the baby car safety seat – with the manufacturer – to ensure that the model has not been recalled. If buying a used infant car safety seat – again check with the Manufacturer as to it’s safety based on age of seat etc.
When using infant car safety seats remember the following:
The air circulation in the average baby capsule (infant car safety seat) is not ideal, and newborn babies can easily overheat – especially if they are in the capsule/infant car safety seat for a long period on a warm day – make sure they are only lightly dressed in such a situation.
Your baby’s head should be 2″ below the top of the seat.
With a newborn baby – you would be using a rear facing car seat.
Make sure that you have read the Manufacturers instruction manual – and that the harness fits snugly across your baby – making sure that the straps are not twisted.
Make sure you know when your baby needs to upgrade to maintain the safest travelling position.
In some cities, a taxi/cab driver may refuse to take you and your baby, unless you have a baby capsule/infant safety seat – check with the taxi cab company when you make your booking.