Beginning with their first trip home from the hospital, it is advised that all newborns travel rear-facing. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they reach the maximum weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of their vehicle safety seat. The majority of convertible seats let youngsters to ride rear-facing for at least two years. When newborns outgrow their rear-facing-only seat, a rear-facing convertible seat is required.
What makes rear-facing safer?
Car seats are designed to absorb a portion of the crash forces and distribute the remainder over a broader area of the body. For adults, seat belts transfer force to the hips, chest bone, and collarbone, which are the strongest sections of the body.
When a child is in a forward-facing seat, the child’s head leans forward, causing neck strain. When facing rearward, the head, neck, and back move in sync and are cradled by the rear-facing car seat’s shell.
The neck and back bones of a young child are not yet solid bone (they still have a lot of stretchy cartilage). The head of a young child is proportionately much heavier than that of an older child or adult. Therefore, the head pulls forward with proportionally more force on more elastic bones.
As bones expand, they might cause the spinal cord to expand. When the spinal cord is stretched beyond a quarter of an inch, it fractures. Supporting the child’s head while riding in a rear-facing car seat reduces this risk.
Rear-facing car seats significantly lower the occurrence of severe head and neck injuries for infants and toddlers. The added head and neck support provided by a rear-facing car seat minimizes your child’s risk of injury or worse in the event of an accident. The rear-facing car seat absorbs a portion of the crash’s energy and distributes the remainder across the child’s head, neck, and back.
In a crash test, the difference between a rear-facing and forward-facing car seat is fairly evident.
What to know about rear facing car seats
NOTE: Always make sure you follow the car seat manufacturer instructions. In addition may local law enforcement agencies will also assist new parents with ensuring their car seat is installed correctly.
- Position the harnesses in the rear-facing seat at or below the shoulders of your child.
- Ensure that the harness is secure (you should not be able to pinch any slack between your fingers when testing the harness straps over the child’s shoulders) and that the retainer clip is positioned in the middle of the child’s chest, even with their armpits.
- Ensure that the car safety seat is secured securely in the vehicle using lower anchors or a seat belt that is locked. Numerous automotive safety seats include an inbuilt lock-off to secure the seat belt. If your seat has one, use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you can move the seat at the belt path by more than an inch from side to side or front to rear, the seat is not properly secured.
- Never install a rear-facing child safety seat in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with an active front passenger airbag. If the airbag deploys, it will strike the back of your child’s vehicle safety seat, directly against his or her skull, which might result in serious damage or death.
- Ensure that the seat belt or lower anchor webbing is routed via the correct belt path when utilizing a convertible or all-in-one seat in the rear-facing position. Refer to the instructions that come with the child safety seat.
- Make sure the seat is at the correct angle so your child’s head does not droop forward. Check the instructions to determine the correct seat angle and how to adjust it if necessary. All rear-facing chairs have recline indicators built in.
- Consult the instructions for the car safety seat and the owner’s manual for the vehicle to see whether the car safety seat may contact the back of the seat in front of it.
What to consider before purchasing a rear facing care seat
- Know your child: Become accustomed to keeping track of your child’s height and weight, which (along with age) can influence seat size and when it’s time to upgrade. Any behavioral or health concerns will also impact your decision.
- Know your stores: Some retailers will allow you to test-install a seat in your vehicle, which is wonderful because we’ve discovered that the angle of the cushion or the location of the seat belt might make a car and child seat incompatible. Likewise, a business that accepts returns is required. Large department shops provide an even greater variety of brands and types of car seats. Many retailers provide car seats with free shipping. Make online purchases only after seeing the products in person. upscale models can be found in niche stores and boutiques.
Check the child safety portions of your vehicle’s owner’s manual and familiarize yourself with features such as seatbelts, LATCH, and seats.
How to correctly install a child in a car seat
Similar to how he frequently cries during diaper changes and dressing, there is a good chance that your infant will not enjoy his first (or tenth) experience in a car seat. The fact that he is crying or shouting does not indicate that he is in distress, so do not panic.
Maintain your composure and utilize the following guidelines to ensure that your infant is safely restrained:
Make sure it fits properly.
You do want baby to be as comfortable as possible, so ensure that the shoulder straps are at or below baby’s shoulders and that the strap between the legs fits comfortably.
Maintain the head in a secure position.
Newborns lack sufficient neck strength to hold their heads upright. Their heads tend to tilt to the side. However, when the car seat is excessively upright, babies’ heads tend to fall forward, which is not acceptable because it can impede their breathing.
So, how can you ensure that this does not occur?
Tighten the straps. This will prevent the infant from slouching and falling over. And because infants enjoy the sense of being held and protected, this will also boost the likelihood that your infant will fall asleep in the automobile.
Correctly recline the automobile seat. A newborn should ride in a semi-reclined position, with the angle of the car seat (where the baby’s head and chest rest) reclined just enough to keep the baby’s head back and chin off his chest, but no more than your child’s seat will allow. Remember that a newborn lacks the physical strength to lift his head if his chin falls on his chest, so parents must position the baby’s head and neck when placing the infant in the car seat.
After buckling, swaddle the baby.
It is unsafe to have anything other than the infant under the straps, like a snowsuit or winter jacket, so be sure to fasten only the baby in. Once he is buckled in, you can tightly wrap a blanket around her to simulate being swaddled and keep her warm throughout the winter.
Set up some amusement.
Babies facing the rear can become irritable when Mom and Dad are not in their line of sight. Play some music you both appreciate, bring along some of your child’s favorite stuffed animals, and bring along a pacifier.
Talk it out.
While a small infant may not comprehend your words, he will recognize your tone of voice. Explain calmly how you will place the infant in the car seat so that you can visit Grandma/go to the market/drive to the park, etc. And when driving, continue conversing with baby (while keeping your eyes on the road, of course) — he will find the sound of your voice pleasant, and it will help him remain calm during the journey.
A rear-facing car seat will absorb the majority of crash forces and provide head, neck, and spinal support. When children ride facing forward, their heads, which are abnormally large and heavy for toddlers, are propelled forward, potentially causing spine and brain injuries. Maintain your child in a rear-facing position for as long as your car seat allows, and check the label to ensure that your child meets the weight and height requirements and that you are using the seat appropriately.