Whether you have a newborn baby or a toddler, securing the baby in their car seat can be a challenge. But that’s the only way to keep him safe. Follow these tips to be sure the baby’s buckled into his car seat properly.
Chances are, your baby will not be happy about getting strapped into his car seat for the first (or tenth) time, just like he often cries during diaper changes and dressing. But don’t panic: crying or even shouting doesn’t mean he’s in distress, so don’t panic.
Stay calm and use these tips to ensure that baby is buckled in safely:
You do want to make the baby as comfortable as possible, so make sure the shoulder straps come in at or below the baby’s shoulders, and that the strap fits well between the legs.
Newborns do not have enough force in their necks to hold their heads high. “Their heads tend to flop sideways; this is okay,” says Alisa Baer, M.D., a pediatrician and co-founder of The car seat Lady. “But when the car seat is too straight, their heads tend to shift forward, and this is not acceptable because it can interfere with the baby’s breathing.”
So, how do you make sure this doesn’t happen? Dr. Baer has two suggestions:
This will prevent the baby from collapsing sideways and falling. And newborns especially like this feeling of being held and safe, which will also increase the chance that your baby will fall asleep in the car.
“A newborn should ride semi-reclined so that the angle of the car seat (where their head and chest rest) is reclined enough to keep the baby’s head back and his chin off his chest, but never more than your child’s seat allows,” Dr. Baer says. And remember that because a newborn doesn’t have the muscle strength to pick his head up if his chin falls down on their chest, parents need to position the head and neck when putting the baby into the seat. “As he grows older and can hold up his own head, you can move the car seat into a more upright position,” Dr. Baer says.
t’s dangerous to have something other than the baby under the straps—even a snowsuit or a winter jacket—so make sure you attach it to the seat. Once it is attached, you can wrap a blanket firmly around it to give the feeling of being swaddled and keep it warm in winter.
Babies who face back may sometimes become grumpy when mom and dad are not in their field of vision. Distraction can help here: Play music that you both enjoy, bring some of your child’s favorite Cute Soft Unicorn Plush Toys and Kawaii Soft Fox Shaped Plush Toy.
Even if a young baby does not understand what you say, he or she will understand the tone of your voice. Calmly explain how you’re going to place baby into the car seat so you can visit Grandma/go to the market/take a ride to the park, etc. And while driving, keep talking to the baby (while keeping your eyes on the road, of course) — he will find the sound of your voice soothing and it will help him to stay calm during the trip.