Choosing the Right Car Seat

  • You’ll save a little money if you buy one convertible seat to do the job from birth to 40 pounds, but an infant-only seat may be easier for you to use and may fit your newborn baby better.
  • An infant-only seat can be carried with you wherever you go. It can be used at home also.Some infant-only seats come in two parts. The base stays buckled in the vehicle, and the seat snaps in and out. You may find these convenient.
  • If you want to use a convertible seat for a newborn baby, choose one without a padded shield in front of the baby. Shields do not fit small newborn babies properly. The shield comes up too high and may make proper adjustment of the harness difficult.
  • Harness straps must fit snugly on the body. Use lowest harness slots for a newborn infant. Keep the straps in the slots at or below your baby's shoulders for the rear-facing position.
  • It is very important for harness straps to fit properly over the shoulders and between the legs. Dress your baby in clothes that keep legs free. If you want to cover your baby, buckle the harness around him or her first, then put a blanket over him or her. A bulky snowsuit or bunting can make the harness too loose.
  • To fill empty spaces and give support, roll up a couple of small blankets and tuck them in on each side of your baby’s shoulders and head. Thick padding should not be put underneath or behind the baby.
What about seats for preemies?
  • A baby born earlier than 37 weeks may need to use a car bed if he or she has any possibility of breathing problems when sitting semi-reclined. Ask your baby’s doctor if your baby needs to be tested before discharge for breathing problems.
  • Use a seat with the shortest distances from seat to harness-strap slots, and from back to crotch strap. Use rolled blankets to keep the baby’s head from slumping. Never place any extra cushioning under or behind the baby.

What to do if your baby's head flops forward?

  • It's important for an infant to ride sitting semi-reclined (halfway back or 45 degrees from horizontal). In the car, you may find that the safety seat is too upright for a new baby who can’t hold up his or her head. You can put a tightly rolled bath towel under the front edge of the safety seat to tilt it back a little so your baby’s head lies back comfortably. Do not recline it too far.

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