If you want your child to be safe in their car seat, you need to ensure the seat fits your child correctly. This can be especially tricky if you have a very small newborn or a premature baby. Here are some tips you should keep in mind:
1. Invest in a car seat with a very low minimum weight requirement.
Most car seats are designed to accommodate babies and toddlers within a certain weight range. If your baby is much smaller than the average birth size of 2.7 to 4 kg, you may need a special seat. Luckily, there are car seats on the market designed for very tiny bundles of joy.
2. Look for a car seat with a small clip.
When shopping for car seats, try to find one that has the smallest chest clip possible. In car seats with five point harnesses, the top straps feature a clip that holds them together. If this is too big and heavy, it may unnaturally push against your baby's chest.
3. Do not overcompensate for loose straps with bulky clothes and blankets.
If the straps on your newborn's car seat are too loose, your child won't have the protection they need. Unfortunately, you cannot overcompensate for loose straps with bulky clothes. The straps hold the baby in place, and if they are too loose, they cannot do their job. Having bulky outfits between the straps and the baby doesn't help.
Instead, put the straps in the lowest slot, and tighten them as much as you can once the baby is in the seat. If you are worried about your baby getting cold, cover them with blankets over their straps.
4. Use head supports cautiously.
Many car seats designed for newborns come with head supports. These are basically fabric pillows that support the sides of your infant's head, but unfortunately, they are sometimes so bulky that they push the baby's head forward. This can happen more commonly with premature babies who need more time to develop their neck muscles.
Place your baby in the car seat with the head support. If the baby's head falls forward, don't use the head support. Instead, use a rolled up cloth nappy or a small blanket to support the side of your baby's head. Do not put it behind your baby's head.
5. Schedule a professional carseat fitting appointment.
Want to ensure your baby is safe in their car seat? Then, schedule a professional car seat fitting. These professionals can make sure the seat you are using now is correct, and they can help you ensure your child is safe as they grow into other car seats.