One of the things that you will need practically as soon as a baby is born is a car seat (you will need one even to bring baby home from the hospital) and so this is one thing that you should get before baby’s birth.
When buying an infant car seat keep the following in mind –
1. Proper installation
It is important to follow manufacture instructions properly and ensure that the seat is properly assembled and installed in car. A seat that is not secured firmly can be really dangerous for the baby in it.
Research has shown that rear facing seats are the best for children because since they protect better against a read end crash, which is what a majority of crashes are.
A rear facing seat also protects from spinal cord injuries better.
2. Correct positioning of the seat and the baby
The car seat should be in the rear seat and it is best to have the seat positioned in the center of the back seat, particularly if the car is equipped with air bags.
A new born baby should be positioned in the seat in such a way that the head doesn’t flop forward. If there is space in the seat and the baby is not snug within it, place some padding around the baby to secure him. Also make sure that you secure the baby as instructed by the car seat’s manual, using the straps and buckles in the manner indicated.
3. Car seats are only for travel
Experts caution people not to use a infant car seat as a crib or a bed for baby. in fact there is some evidence to show that the upright position of car seats could impede breathing and in rare cases, car seats could raise risk of SIDS and so the child should be in a car seat only for the duration of the journey and not otherwise.
4. Avoid old car seats
If you are planning to use a pre-owned car seat make sure that it is in good condition without any cracks, with solid straps and buckles. Also avoid seats that are over six years old since they may not be compliant with newer safety guidelines. Also make sure that any seat that you use has never been in any kind of crash before and that you know its previous history.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website offers a lot of helpful resources for safe travel with children and the most current guidelines.