You have planned for months to get ready for your precious bundle to arrive and the moment has finally come to bring baby home! Here are 5 important tips to transport baby correctly in the car.
#1 NEVER carry baby in your arms even on short journeys!
Even a slight jerk or sudden stop could result in baby being dropped or worse still thrown out of the car in a crash. That is why an infant car seat is a must have on your list of things to buy.
#2 If using an infant car seat carrier, practice installing in the car before baby’s due date. Bring it along to the maternity ward before being discharged.
With this type of car seat, baby is buckled in before installing in the car. You can take your time to secure baby in the car seat, as the first time handling a tiny baby can be a daunting experience.
Here’s the step-by-step guide:
- Make sure shoulder harness is at the lowest position.
- Loosen the harness straps and drape over the sides of the car seat to prevent them twisting.
- Remove blanket or swaddle. Place baby in the seat, making sure baby’s back is fully supported with no gap in between. (Refer to Pic A)
- Pull harness straps over baby’s shoulders and place close to baby’s neck. Make sure straps are not twisted.
- Bring buckle up between baby’s legs. Fit the buckle tongues together then place in the buckle to lock. (Refer to Pic B)
- Check that the hip straps (some models may not have these) are not caught in the padding inserts. Pull up on the shoulder straps to take up the slack around the hips (Refer to Pic D), then pull the middle strap to tighten the harness (Refer to Pic C).
- Make sure that straps are close to baby’s neck. The shoulder pads should be on the shoulder and chest, under baby’s chin. If the pads are behind baby’s shoulders, adjust them further down the chest to get a better fit. (Refer to Pic E)
- Check if straps are snug enough by placing 2 fingers under the strap at baby’s collarbone. If you can twist your fingers up then you need to tighten the straps again. (Refer to Pic F)
- Swaddle baby by tucking the blanket or nappy firmly around baby AFTER baby is securely buckled in. (Refer to Pic G)
#3 If you are using a convertible car seat, install it in the car at least a week before baby’s due date.
- Check that the shoulder harness is at the lowest position. The distance between the lowest harness slot or position and the point where baby sits, should not be more than 21cm. If the harness height is too high, the car seat is not suitable for newborns. Check this before buying if you have not purchased your seat yet!
- The harness should sit at baby’s shoulder level or slightly below.
Joshua, 22 days old perfectly buckled in Joie i-Snug.
Joshua, 22 days old so comfy in Joie Tilt.
Joshua, 22 days old a perfect fit in Joie Every Stage.
#4 IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL CAR SEATS FOR BABIES MUST BE INSTALLED REAR FACING!
- Always refer to instruction manual before installing the car seat, as every seat model may install differently even if they all look similar. Look for instruction videos by the car seat brand if reading is not your thing!
- Car seats with vehicle seat belt or isofix installations are just as safe provided they are compatible with vehicle and are fitted correctly.
- The left rear seat position in the vehicle is usually the most ideal position to install the car seat, to have safer access to baby when putting in or getting out of the car.
#5 NEVER take baby out of the car seat while the car is in motion.
If you need to attend to baby, pull over to a safe spot before unbuckling.
- If the journey home is more than 45 minutes, plan a stop en-route to take baby out for a couple of minutes to check on breathing and positioning. It would be a good time to have a quick feed for baby as well.
- After feed, burp baby and check diaper before buckling in again.
- Remember to securely buckle baby up each time and only swaddle after buckling! Swaddling helps to calm baby down. If baby fusses, pat gently on baby’s chest. You will find that the gentle vibrations of the moving car will also help soothe baby. When out of the car, you can also gently rock baby as the infant carrier doubles up as a rocker too!
- Do not leave newborn baby in the infant carrier for more than 45 minutes at a time. So if baby is asleep when you reach home, do transfer baby to crib to continue napping safely!
Many thanks to baby Joshua for modelling so professionally during our photo session. Joshua is 22 days old in these photos and weighed in at 3.52kg and measured 50cm at birth.
This article has been republished with permission from Joie Baby Malaysia