Baby's First Car Ride: 10 Must-Know Car Safety Tips for Newborns

June 22, 2020

Baby's First Car Ride: 10 Must-Know Car Safety Tips for Newborns

A baby is the most precious gift on Earth, and like all treasures, they deserve to be protected. While safety precautions should be taken for everyone in a vehicle, they’re vital for newborns.

Keeping an infant secure is a hard task in any setting, but in a car, they’re more vulnerable. By following specific instructions, you can ensure that your child is as guarded as possible.

To learn more about how to protect your newborn, check out these car safety tips below:

1. Give Yourself Time and Practice with the Car Seat

You never want to wait until the last minute to install your newborn's car seat. Before your baby comes home from the hospital, you want to make sure that it's properly assembled and that you understand the steps to fastening the child in.

Make sure you've read all manual instructions so that you're confident with the procedures.

2. No Padded Clothing or Blankets Under the Straps

Some parents make the mistake of putting babies in cars while they are wrapped in multiple layers. However, bulky jackets and blankets are a safety hazard. When you put your infant in the seat while they are wearing puffy clothing, you might think the buckle is fastened tightly when it isn't.

If you have to pull the straps further for them to completely wrap around your child, chances are the buckle isn't fastened securely. Therefore, if the driver has to stop abruptly or if there is an accident, the buckle may unfasten, leaving the baby without proper protection.

3. The Car Seat Goes in the Back

To ensure baby safety while driving, the car seat must always go in the back of the vehicle. You never want to put infant car seats in the front because of the airbags, which could cause harm if deployed.

Furthermore, if possible, place the car seat in the center of the backseat. That's the area of the vehicle that is furthest away from all points of impact.

4. Place the Chest Clip at Armpit Level

One of the most important car safety tips for infants is to ensure that the chest clip is at armpit level. When buckling in your baby, make sure that the clip is not positioned too low, otherwise your little one could tilt too far forward. If the car has to stop abruptly or there's an impact, it could cause the child to jolt forward.

Additionally, you don't want the chest clip too high because that positioning could cause issues with breathing.

5. Cut Down on Drive Time

Newborns shouldn't spend a lot of time in a baby car seat. Smaller infants have lower oxygen levels when they are buckled in, so try to limit your infant's rides.

Furthermore, newborns' skulls are still developing thus, extended time positioned in one spot can cause flat areas on your baby's head.

6. Use the Rear-Facing Position

Another vital baby safety tip is to place the car seat in a rear-facing position.

Placing the seat backward is the safest for newborns because their necks and spines are so fragile. By changing the angle of the car seat, it puts the infant in more of a backward motion, keeping them from falling forward

7. Check on Your Little One

Most new parents are not accustomed to having babies in cars, so they tend to drive to their destination as usual. However, it's good practice to turn around and check on your bundle of joy every so often.

And if possible, it's an even better idea for one parent to sit in the backseat with them; that way, you can keep an eye on them at all times.

8. Use a Car Seat Cover

A car seat cover is essential in keeping your baby comfortable. Placing a shield over them helps to protect from the sun, debris, and also any bugs or critters that could have come through the window.

9. Get a Car Seat Check Up

When it comes to keeping your baby safe in the car, using a federally-approved car seat is important. Installing the car seat properly is just as crucial. Fortunately, trained experts are more than happy to help check installation for first-time parents as well as educate on the safety of car seat use in their vehicles. To learn more about locating an infant car seat safety technician or for a free infant car seat inspection, visit NHTSA.gov or SafeKids.org

Car Safety Tips: Keeping Your Newborn Protected

Hopefully, these car tips will help you safeguard your baby while driving. Taking care of your precious little human is a big undertaking, but you're not in this alone. Luckily, there are numerous resources available to assist you with techniques on how to best protect your baby. 

For more informative articles to care for your newest addition, please click here.