Worried About Car Safety For Your Big Kids? Don’t Be – Follow These Tips

Car Safety For Your Big Kids

Often, parents think that once their child isn’t a baby anymore, they are ready to just sit in the car and go for a drive. This isn’t the case – while many of us want our children to simultaneously stay little forever and grow up at the same time, we are still responsible for the choices that make them safe. Part of keeping your child safe is ensuring that no matter what vehicle he or she is in, safety is the primary concern.

So how can you keep your older child safe in the car? There are two main options for you:

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You’re Probably Making These Car Seat Mistakes Right Now

Car Seat Safety

Did you know that most parents aren’t using their car seats properly? Sure, when we go home from the hospital with our newborn babies, the doctors and nurses will check our car seats and ensure that we have installed it properly and we know how to clip our babies into the seats. However, as your baby grows, you need to adjust and change your car seat as necessary. That is where the mistakes come into play.

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Wearing a seat belt during pregnancy & how you may be doing it wrong

Pregnant woman sitting in car

If you’re already using safety restraints for yourself and your kids for every trip, good for you! But, if you’re pregnant, a growing belly can be an obstacle when trying to fasten your seat belt. How would you put it on? Many moms just pull the lap belt over their bellies, thinking that it will be safest for securing their baby in a crash.

In fact, wearing a seat belt like that could risk your baby’s life.

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Is your newborn head support adequate?

newborn head support

New parents often worry around the position of their newborn’s head. However, what you may think looks safe may not actually be the best position for your child’s head. Observe your baby when he’s sleeping in his bassinet. You’ll notice that his head will most often be turned to one side.

Same goes when you hold them on your shoulder or wear them in a sling. Turning their heads to one side is the most natural way for them to breathe. When some parents see babies with their heads turned to one side in a car seat, however, they think the baby isn’t positioned right.

That’s when they’ll turn to padded head supports (aka infant inserts) or even rolled up receiving blankets to hold their heads straight up. Unfortunately, these additions can push the baby’s head down onto his chest, which is dangerous because it can obstruct the airway. This is especially true for any aftermarket products that didn’t come with the car seat.

So, how do you ensure your newborn is safely positioned?

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Why height and weight limits are important for rear facing car seats

Newborn baby sleeping in car seat

From the time your baby leaves the hospital until he can use a seat belt alone, you’ll need a child safety seat. With the vast array of car seats on the market, it’s hard to determine which one is best as your child gets older.

The AAP now recommends keeping your child rear-facing for as long as you can past 2 years of age. Some infant rear-facing car seats have a low weight limit of 22 pounds that make extended use almost impossible. Likewise, most forward-facing seats on the market have a minimum age of 2 years. While it’s technically legal to turn a child forward-facing at this age, it’s better to wait.

Luckily, more car seat manufacturers are listening to the AAP’s recommendations and are now making car seats that allow for extended rear-facing use. But why is this even necessary?

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Don’t wait. Learn how to engage the child locks on your car doors now.

how to engage the child locks on your car doors

By the time your child is two years old, he or she will be very busy indeed. They’ll want to get their little hands on everything to see what it feels like and how it works. Buttons, switches, door handles – these are all irresistible to a toddler. A child’s natural curiosity leads him to wonder how objects react when touched.

But as you know, that curiosity can backfire if a child touches something he’s not supposed to like a hot stove or a car door handle. While you should always have your child buckled in a safety seat, some kids can be escape artists. In just a few seconds, they could easily be out of their car seat and have the door open while you’re going down the road.

Or maybe you have an older elementary school child who is always in a hurry and wants to open the door and jump out before the car comes to a complete stop.

Scary? Yes. But thankfully, there’s an easy fix to that right on your car door.

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