One of my biggest anxieties at the moment is the car seat and transitioning cars seats.
My kids have outgrown (or at least that’s what I feel) their toddler car seats. They know how to undo the buckle and it is so frustrating when driving and there’s a toddler bopping around the back seat.
This gives me much anxiety because I have two boys that are constantly doing this and it can be pretty distracting. My remedy is usually to keep them distracted – iPads. I have to have their iPads in the car whist I’m driving.
But the anxiety does not end there… I fear the worst most of the time.
I’ve seen and heard of horrific scenes and scenarios of parents surviving car crashes and the kids not making it or being ejected from the car because of car seats either not being buckled, being buckled incorrectly (too loose, too tight) or the car seat itself not being fit properly into the vehicle’s back seat.
In SA at the moment motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading cause of death and injury for all children.
It is said that child restraints or car seats reduce the risk of injury by 71% to 82% and reduce the risk of death by 28% in comparison to children in seat belts alone. Booster seats reduce the risk of nonfatal injuries by 45% among 4 to 8 year olds when compared to the seat belt alone.
Now because I’m a mom (lol) I’ve researched further and found that kids need to rear facing in the car (car seats need to be facing the rear of the car) for the optimum safety.
This might be tricky as a mom because I know I like checking back and seeing that my kids are smiling and happy and who’s passing out… and the occasional car selfie. But let’s look at the benefits for the safety of the kids:
Babies under two’s neck muscles and ligaments are still developing and in the event of a head on collision if the baby is facing forward seat his body is held back but not his head and neck.
Young children can’t handle the incredibly high forces in a collision while forward facing.
In a forward facing seat, a child’s shoulders and body are held back by the harness. But neck and head area are thrown violently forward putting tremendous force on the yet undeveloped head, neck and spine. For a rear facing child a collision is relatively undramatic with the whole back of child absorbing the impact forces. Head and neck and pressed back into the seat and remain well protected.
Keep your child rear facing for as long as possible which is until limit of seat is reached by either height or weight.
As of 1 May last year (2015), children under the age of three are required to only travel in a car if they are secured in a car seat.
This is required by a new regulation of the National Road Traffic Act.
Motorists who have children under the age of three unrestrained in their vehicle are fined.
This came after some motorists refuse to take seriously the constant warnings and calls by emergency services and authorities to have children properly secured in vehicles.
The notion of “I survived without a car seat therefore my child will” needs to really fall away. Let’s consider them first!
So for new moms or moms that are looking to purchase a car seat; what are the options out there? How do you select one?
There are two routes you could take when buying a car seat.
Buy a car seat that covers Groups 0 – 2 which will give you a car seat for your child from birth till around 6 years old.
These usually don’t come with prams.
Buy a travel system where the car seat fits into the pram. This option makes it easier to transport your baby from the car into the pram structure (especially when they fall asleep on the car ride). This car seat should last until they’re about 13kg or 9 months old. You’ll probably still need to get a car seat once they have outgrown this one car seat. Perhaps then you can look into one that grows with them and covers multiple groups.
Then there’s the forward-facing vs rear-facing choice
It’s recommended that children are in rear-facing seats till the age of 2.
When your child outgrows the height and weight limits of his rear-facing infant seat, you can move him into a multi-group seat with a higher weight limit. Some of these seats are both rear and front facing so, you’re able to keep him rear-facing a little longer, and when he’s ready to ride facing forward, the car seat will still fit him/her.
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If you still need assistance with selecting a car seat or would like to pop into a very friendly space that would assist you and demo for you, here are some contacts below:
Fourways Kids Emporium
Telephone: 011 467 1153
Address: 4, The Gantry, Cnr. Witkoppen and The Straight, Fourways, 2055