For this first journey, you’ll need a seat which faces towards the rear of your vehicle. This provides the best protection in the event of an impact for an infant who is unable yet to support the weight of their own head. The seat will be nicely reclined backwards, providing a safe and comfortable coccoon for your baby.
It’s important to choose a rear-facing seat which is sturdy and dependable, yet light to carry. Young babies sleep a little and often, and the last thing you want to do after finally getting your child to sleep in a car journey is to wake them by removing them from their warm and cosy seat. Having an easily detachable model which is light to carry means you can ferry your baby from car to house with as little disturbance as possible.
These rear facing seats are only suitable for younger infants. Once they’ve grown to weigh around 20 pounds, or the top of their head is nearing the upper edge of the seat and thus no longer protected properly, you’ll need to move to a forward facing seat.
These seats are much more upright, but better models can be adjusted to provide a more horizontal position to help your toddler sleep during longer journeys. Because of the upright position, it’s essential that your child is able to sit up on their own before using this kind of seat. Forward facing seats are built to last for a fair few years, and most will be good until your child reaches the age of 4 or 6.
Before we finish, there are two extremely important things to bear in mind when buying a car seat.
Firstly, you should be very careful when buying one that isn’t brand new. Although it might seem like an economy to get a second hand seat, there’s no way of knowing for sure its history. It may have been involved in an accident at some point in the past, resulting in weaknessess that may not be visible to the naked eye. These weaknesses could endanger your baby even in a minor accident. You should only buy a used seat when you can be absolutely sure of the history – such as when buying off close friends or family.
Finally, baby car seats shouldn’t be fitted in front seats where an airbag is fitted. In an accident, the inflation of the airbag could cause serious injury or suffocation to a child, so always fit car seats in the rear of the vehicle in this case.