Parenting Tips – Car Travel with Baby
When you travel with your baby by car, you must strap him securely into an approved car seat. The ones for infants are designed to face the rear. Now that you have a baby, you may need a car that’s comfortable, roomy, and convenient for family traveling. A spacious trunk is vital to store your baby’s buggy or stroller and all the other equipment you will need to travel with for the next few years. Hatchbacks provide easy access, and minivans have a third row of seats, some of which can convert to extra trunk space. If you plan to have more than one baby, extra seat capacity will be useful once you are ferrying small children and their friends to kindergarten and other activities. Car pooling also cuts down on pollution and helps to conserve gasoline.
Lead-free gas reduces the amount of lead pollution in our atmosphere, and a catalytic converter, installed in all new cars, also helps reduce the amount of toxic material emitted from the exhaust. Try to choose a car that is economical to run and does not drink gas. Although diesel engines are efficient, they still produce toxic emissions and thus may not be your best choice.
In the car
Making sure your baby is safe when you travel in the car is vital. You need to have a car seat or a properly anchored carrier even before you bring him home from hospital. There is a wide variety of child restraints on the market.
Rear-facing baby safety seat (birth to 20 lb/9 kg). This is a tub-shaped seat designed to face the rear. It may have handles that make it easy to transport your baby in and out of the car. You can also use it to sit him up in at home. It buckles into an adult safety belt and should be used only on the back seat. It faces backward so that in the event of an accident, any pressure is exerted against the baby’s back rather than his pelvis, which is still too soft to protect the internal organs properly.
• Convertible infant seat (birth to 40 lb/18 kg). These are designed so a newborn can recline, and they can be adjusted to face forward when the baby reaches 20 lb (9 kg).
• Front-feeing car seat (20-40 lb/9-18kg). Once your baby can sit unsupported, you can use a front-facing car seat also in the back seat of the car. Choose one with wings to provide head support. Many models can be adjusted into a reclining position, which is useful if your baby wants to sleep. These seats are generally high enough for him to see out of the window, and some have clip-on trays.
• Booster seat (40-60lb/18-27kg). These enable lap belts to be positioned properly on children who have outgrown car seats. Your child can look out of the window and is raised to a proper height to enable him to be properly restrained with an adult seat belt.