Advice Column, Baby, Lifestyle, Motor safety, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby

Last minute shopping for your hospital bag – don’t forget the car seat!

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  • Category Advice Column, Baby, Lifestyle, Motor safety, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby

By Niki Cronje, Group Marketing at Imperial Road Safety

Being an expectant mom or dad is an exciting time for both parents, whether it’s your first and even your third child. However, as you count down to the arrival of your little one, it’s important to remember to pack the correct essentials for the arrival of the new bambino. This is often a daunting task for new parents but it doesn’t have to be. While packing your bag, consider the bare essentials that you will need during your hospital stay and, more importantly, for the first trip home with your little one.

In fact, the safety of your infant should take priority when thinking of what you need to pack and so – not only for your first trip home, but while traveling anywhere else – a car seat is one of the most important things to pack when getting ready to bring your baby home.

In fact, did you know that it is illegal for an adult to travel with a child in a car that is younger than three years without being strapped into a car seat? The consequences of driving with children who are unrestrained are far reaching, where children can be killed or seriously injured, even in the slightest collision. It therefore comes as no surprise that many private hospitals have included a clause that no newborn children may leave the hospital premises without them being strapped into an infant car seat.

It is therefore, important that, as an expectant parent, you are educated around your child’s safety, while on the road. Here are a few tips to consider when purchasing a car seat:

How reputable is the brand of the infant seat you have chosen?

When purchasing a car seat – one thing that most people consider is the brand reputation, by reviewing what is being said about a specific product either online or from a family or friends’ experience on a specific product. It is important to do your research and make sure that inferior products are not being sold locally – this means understanding which brands are leading and which are inferior. If it seems too good to be true it probably is.

Is the car seat correct for the weight and height of your baby?

Height and weight are key factors to consider when selecting the right car seat for your child. It is not about age but rather about their specific frame – given that not all age-similar children are the same in height and weight. Below is a guide to which car seat your child should be using – depending on their weight and height:

  • Group 0 seats are designed for babies from birth to 9kg,
  • Group 0+ seats are designed for babies from birth to 13kg
  • Group 1 seats are designed for toddlers weighing between 9kg to 18kg
  • Group 2 seats are designed for children from 18kg or absolute minimum of 15kg
  • Once your child has outgrown the highest adjustment of the booster seat, your child should sit on a “bum” booster until they are 1.5 metres or taller

As a parent – will you be able to safely strap your baby into the seat when required, and do you know how to strap them in correctly?

Strapping your children in correctly is by far one of the most important factors when purchasing a car seat. In most instances, you would choose the one that is easy to install and uninstall however, it is critically important that you know exactly how to strap the actual car seat into the vehicle, as well as that you understand how the buckle system on your child’s car seat works. There is no point of having a car seat if it is not strapped in correctly, or if your child is not buckled up as per the instructions.

How much does it cost – is this really a factor?

You definitely can’t put a price on your child’s safety however, the good news is that you don’t have to. While there are a number of retail outlets that sell a range of car seats (from very expensive to reasonably affordable), there are also outlets where you can buy/donate money towards a refurbished car seat which has been safety checked, cleaned and as good as new. Rather take this route to save costs if you need to, than settle for an unknown brand that may compromise your child’s safety.

These are all important considerations that you need on hand, to safe guard your little one when travelling. The benefits of having your child strapped in a secure car seat cannot be stressed enough – here are a few key aspects:

  • The seat provides comfort and protection
  • When fitted in a rear-facing position the baby does not feel any potential harsh breaking
  • The straps will keep the baby secure and steady from unwanted movements that might be harmful in the event of an accident/minor bumper bashing
  • The cushion of the seat is water resistant and can help in cases where their nappies might leak or milk and juice might spill during travel.

Always make your child’s safety a priority, no matter the circumstance or situation, as your child is dependent on you as a parent to safe guard them from potential harm. So, while you are doing your last-minute shopping for the hospital stay remember to make an appropriate car seat purchase a top of mind priority!

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