New parents are always a little nervous when they go anywhere on the road with their baby. There’s good reason to be concerned since babies’ spines are still developing and their heads are large relative to their body size.
The way you have your infant car seat set up can be instrumental in protecting your baby in a car accident. Forward-facing infant car seats can cause the spinal cord to stretch, which can lead to catastrophic injuries or even death. This is why placing infants and toddlers in rear-facing car seats is the safest way.
What You Can Do to Keep Your Baby Safe on the Road
Being safe on the road is paramount, and while you can’t control other drivers, you can control your actions and how you secure your baby in their car seat. Here are some tips to help ease your mind about infant car seat safety.
1. Use a Rear-Facing Car Seat for Two Years
Infants and toddlers will benefit from riding in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the weight or height limit of the car seat. A convertible infant car seat generally has limits of about two years, though it can be more. Your child will still be safe if their knees are bent or are touching the back seat of the car while facing the rear.
2. Never Put the Baby in The Front Seat
You should never put your baby in the front seat when using rear-facing infant car seats or any other type of car seat. The passenger-side airbag can be fatal if it is deployed in an accident when your child is sitting up front.
3. Make Sure the Straps Are Adjusted Properly
It’s not enough to just have a rear-facing baby car seat. You must make sure you strap your child in it correctly. This means having the shoulder straps level with your baby’s shoulders or just below.
The harness must be snug enough to protect your baby in the event of an accident. You should not be able to pinch a fold of material on the harness once your baby is buckled into the seat. Once buckled, the straps should be flat and straight, not sagging or twisted. Adjust the chest clip so the top is at armpit level and you will have the right fit.
4. Avoid Bulky Items
Even when it’s chilly, do not put a blanket or heavy coat on your baby and buckle them in. This can affect how the harness fits and prevent it from protecting them. You can put a blanket over them once you’ve secured them into the seat.
What to Do If You’re in an Accident in the Car with Your Baby?
Remember, rear-facing car seats are designed to protect your baby even in the most serious situations. The cost of emergency infant care can be astronomical, but the at-fault driver will be responsible for paying you car accident claim in Tucson. Discuss your legal options with an attorney to find out what you should do next.