A3-Baby Rides 10rev
This is the Way Baby Rides
Using a Car Seat for Your New Baby
The Basics
• Baby always rides in a rear-facing
car safety seat (car seat) for as
long as possible, at least 18 to 24
months. This is safest. It protects
babies from head and spinal cord
injury.
• Baby always rides in the back
seat. The back seat is much safer
than the front seat. The center back
seat is safest.
• Turn the air bag off if your baby
must ride in the front seat. (See
page 2.)
• Make sure the seat belt or LATCH
attachments hold the car seat
tightly.
• Buckle and tighten the harness
snugly over your baby’s body.
• ALWAYS follow car seat
instructions and the car manual to
install and use the seat correctly.
Before your baby is born
1. Go to a car seat safety class. Call your
hospital or clinic to find one. Car seats
can be hard to use correctly!
2. Practice installing the car seat and
adjusting the straps before your baby’s
birth. Get it checked by a trained Child
Passenger Safety Technician. (See
Resources)
Take to the hospital:
• baby clothes with legs
• car seat, instructions, and locking
clip (if needed for installation)
• two small baby blankets and a
washcloth for padding
• two old towels may be helpful to set
the car seat at the correct angle
Child
Safety
Facts
Sheets
Choosing a Car Seat for a New Baby
How can I choose the best car seat?
The “best seat” is one that fits your baby and fits in
your car. For a baby, you need a rear-facing car seat.
Try it to make sure it is easy for you to use. You must be
able install the car seat to your car tightly. Try it in every
vehicle you use. Exchange it if it doesn’t fit.
What kinds of car seats fit a new baby?
Infant-only car seat (1): Small, can only be used
1) Infant car seat for
rear-facing for babies up to 22 to 35 pounds. It is helpful
babies up to 22 to 35
for carrying baby to and from the car. A tall baby may
pounds; check label
outgrow an infant-only seat before reaching the weight
limit as early as age 6 to 9 months.
Convertible car seat (2): Faces the rear for babies and
toddlers up to 30 to 45 pounds. Faces forward for larger
children. Keep child rear-facing to at least 18 to 24 months
old or up to the rear-facing weight limit. Choose one with a
harness only (no shield).
Car bed (3): Only for babies with medical conditions who
a doctor says must lie flat. Two are available: Angel Ride
Infant Car Bed® (Mercury Distributing, 800-815-6330) and
Dream Ride® (Dorel, 800-544-1108).
Features to look for in a rear-facing seat:
• At least two pairs of shoulder strap slots, with the lowest 2) Convertible car seat
slots less than 8 inches above the seat. Adjustable crotch for babies up to 30 to 45
strap.
pounds facing the rear
• Harness adjuster in front that is easy to reach and use.
Can I use a second-hand car seat?
A seat given to you may not be the best fit for your
baby. It may not fit your car. See above.
A second-hand car seat may have hidden safety
problems. Make sure all recalls (if any) have been
repaired and that the seat has all its parts and instructions.
If the car seat has been in a crash, it should not be used
3) Car bed for babies
again.
with medical needs
Check for an expiration date on the car seat. If there is none,
avoid using a car seat that is older than 6 years. Newer ones are easier to use
correctly and may have better safety features. Many newer seats also have higher
weight limits, so they can be used longer. Check the labels.
Resources
SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.: 800-745-7233,
www.carseat.org
National Auto Safety Hotline, recalls:
888-327-4236, 800-424-9153 (tty),
www.safercar.gov
Find a Child Passenger Safety
Technician: 866-732-8243,
www.seatcheck.org
Others: www.chop.edu/carseat,
www.aap.org/parents.html
FACT SHEET © 2010 Safe Ride News™ Publications, 800-403-1424 • www.saferidenews.com
This is copyrighted material. These sheets cannot be reproduced or copied.
A3 Revised 1/10
This is the Way The Baby Rides
2
Steps to install a rear-facing car seat
Bringing your new baby home
1. Place the car seat in the back seat, facing the rear
window. The back seat is safer than the front, especially in a
car with air bags.
Dress baby in clothes with legs so the crotch strap can
go between her legs.
2. Use the seat belt or LATCH straps to attach the car
seat tightly. It is very important that the car seat is tightly
secured in the car. If the car seat slides around on the
vehicle seat, your child could be seriously injured.
Always read the instructions that come with the car seat.
Also read the section on seat belts, LATCH, and car seats in
your car manual. Do not use the lower anchors and seat belts
together unless both instructions say it is okay.
To check for a tight fit, hold the car seat where the
LATCH strap or seat belt holds the car seat. Pull forward
and from side to side. The car seat should not move more
than one inch. (Do not grab
near the top of the car seat
to check for tightness. The
movement there is okay.)
3. Make sure your baby
is reclined enough so his
head doesn’t flop forward.
Rolled towel
Always follow the angle
indicator on the car seat or
A. Recline a car seat slightly, but
in car seat instructions.
never more than halfway back.
To adjust the car seat
angle, use the adjustor on the car seat. If there isn’t one,
put a tightly rolled towel or firm foam roll under the base if
instructions allow (A).
Air bag danger: put baby in back!
A baby riding in front with an air bag (B) is in great danger
even in a minor crash. The
air bag opens with great force
in a crash. That could kill a
child. The back seat is safer
for all children.
If you have a small truck
or sports car, do not drive with
your baby in front unless the
air bag has been shut off.
Most very small vehicles have
on/off switches or sensors to
turn off the passenger air bag.
Check the owner’s manual.
B. An infant can be killed by the
impact of an opening air bag.
Car seats are not cribs!
Avoid using the car seat in the home for long periods of time.
Babies should lie flat whenever possible, including “tummy time.”
Top of car seat shell
Put the shoulder
Padding on
straps in the lowest
position. Use the slots each side
Shoulder
that are next to baby’s
strap
shoulders or slightly below
them. Put the chest clip Chest clip
at armpit level.
Padding in
Tuck rolled blankets the crotch
or towels along the
Harness
sides (C). Padding
buckle
helps a new baby sit
C. Parts of a car seat, showing
comfortably with head
padding along baby‘s head and
sides and at the crotch.
back. If baby slides
down, add a rolled washcloth between her crotch and the
crotch strap. Some car seats come with a head support pad
or infant insert. If it comes with your car seat, it is okay to use
but should not push baby’s head forward. Do not use other
inserts, blankets, or towels under or behind baby. This can be
very dangerous.
Adjust the harness straps to fit
snugly, so you cannot pinch any slack
(D). Do not use thick blankets or dress
baby in heavy clothes. This can make
it impossible to get the harness tight
enough to hold the baby in a crash.
Buckle the harness first and then put a D. Check harness
tightness. If you can
blanket over baby.
pinch any slack, it is
Sometimes babies cry when in a
too loose.
car seat. If this happens, sit in back
with your baby if possible, or talk or sing soothingly. Don’t
take baby out of the car seat while the car is moving. If you
need to take her out, pull over and park in a safe place first.
As your baby grows bigger
Keep harness straps in the lowest position until your
baby’s shoulders reach the higher slots. Move baby from an
infant-only seat into a rear-facing convertible seat when:
• baby’s head is 1 inch below the top of the shell or
• baby reaches the weight limit of the seat.
Plan to use a rear-facing convertible seat as long as
possible—to at least 18 to 24 months. This is the safest
position to protect a child’s spine from injury. A baby should
NEVER be faced forward until baby is over 20 pounds AND 1
year of age. (For preemies: at least 1 year from the original
due date.)
FACT SHEET © 2010 Safe Ride News™ Publications, 800-403-1424 • www.saferidenews.com
This is copyrighted material. These sheets cannot be reproduced or copied.
A3 Revised 1/10
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