A baby car seat will be a handy choice if you are a regular private vehicle user. Even while travelling in the bus it is advisable to use a baby car seat, especially taking into consideration the amount of unexpected stops they make. You might find this difficult in busy, crowded Sri Lankan buses however.
Most mothers in Sri Lanka are not used to carrying a seat around when travelling but how bothersome it may sound your baby needs good caring and reliable safety measures as they are most vulnerable for injuries in spine, neck and head.
But before you actually buy one let’s focus on some points that will help you get a better and useful one.
How to choose the right baby seat?
There are baby seats in different sizes. They vary according to the weight of your little one. Thus, they are built for certain age groups. For example for a 10kg or newborn to nine months old baby it can be group 0, while 13kg or newborn to age five or onwards it’s group 0+.
These categories could be confusing. Therefore, you may consider some of the following points before making your choice;
- Study a few baby seats and see which one of them will be best for your baby
- Choose a seat which is suitable for your baby’s weight and height
- Never adjust or modify the baby seat or adult seat belt
- Always buy a rear-facing baby seat for your infant
- Ask the dealer to let you install the seat in your car to see if it fits there or if you couldn’t do this make sure that you can return or exchange it to another
- Make sure the manufacturers guide is available when buying the car seat and strictly follow the given instructions. Always keep the guide with the seat so that you can refer to it whenever a need arises.
- Never fit the baby seat in front of the car if there is an airbag as the pressure of the air bag is quite high and would be harmful for your baby
- Check for the expiration date of the seat and avoid buying one which is older than 6 years
The BabySpace spoke to some mothers who used and are using baby seats for their babies. Here are some advices they spared.
- If your baby very attached to you, they are less likely to stay in the car seat too long, but it is still safer for long drives
- If your vehicle is not air-conditioned it is not advisable to leave baby in the car seat for long naps as it can become hot for your baby
- You should never use this as an excuse to leave your baby is a locked, non-ventilated vehicle as your baby can suffocate
- The base of the seat should be wider than the seat itself to secure balance
- The material of the seat should be washable as the baby will pee or poop, or throw up food during a ride
- Make sure the material is a comfortable one that will not annoy or irritate the baby
- As a journey consists of many brakes and turns make sure that the base of the seat is not silky or skid easily
- Push your weight against the seat to see if it is secure and firmly held and ensure there is no slack in the seat belt
- Test the locking systems before you buy a seat as they could be loose and you’ll end up tying them together
- If the seat is not from a friend or family avoid buying a second hand baby seat as they won’t guarantee the amount of safety your baby would need
- Read the car manual to see where exactly the seat should go as you’ll end up fastening the seat in the wrong place
- Try to avoid buying one online as you can’t test its mechanisms and if they fit in your car
- If you are leaving the car seat in the front seat make sure that you have the seat adjusted far back and away from the dashboard. This will help serious head and chest injuries to the baby in an accident
You should also adopt safety measures when using a baby seat. Do not leave your baby in a baby seat on a table or any other high surface because you baby will fall when you are not watching. In addition, make sure you fasten the seat belts when you are leaving your baby in the seat.
Always see if your baby is comfortable in the baby seat as Sri Lankan climate is normally hot and the baby might need better ventilation and always avoid leaving your baby on a soft surface because your baby might fall and suffocate when you are not looking.
Types of baby car seats
There are several types of baby seat available in the market.
Rear facing car seats – These are baby car seats- which faces the rear side and is for the babies who are between 22-35 pounds
Convertible car seat- they could be facing the rear side of your car or be forward facing seats. They are suitable for older babies. You will have to change to this when your baby has outgrown the seat or the middle of his head is above the top of the seat.
Belt-positioning booster seats- these are for kids and weight at least 40 pounds but never leave the baby
Let’s focus on some pros and cons of getting a baby car seat;
- Some infant car seats could be used inside the house for purposes such as substitute for a rocking chair
- You can easily take your baby in and out of the car without disturbing her or him. This is handy when your baby is fast asleep in the car.
- To avoid unexpected or unpredicted injuries caused as a result of vehicle accidents and driver negligence
- There are all in one baby seats available which you can adjust as your baby grows rather than buying three different seats
- When your baby bets heavier carrying him or her in and out of the car will get messier
- The lie flat mechanism of a car seat is not healthy for your baby if you leave him or her asleep in it for a long time
- Sometimes all in one baby seats can be too small or too large for your baby in her/his different ages and you’ll have to replace it with a more suitable one