One story that news outlets have been following with a microscope is the birth of the Royal Baby, and one particular piece of footage caught the attention of safety advocates. When the royal family left the hospital, the baby was strapped in to a car seat and secured to the vehicle.
But some safety-conscious citizens explain that, while the couple should be commended for the fact that they used a car seat in the first place, there was much that could have been improved. In a new Los Angeles Times article, one blogger points out that the baby was both wrapped in a blanket and not strapped in securely, two maneuvers that some find inadvisable. Thankfully, the LA Times also spoke with the Safe Kids Worldwide president, who provided some important safety tips that would come in handy for any parents, not just royal ones.
Car seat manuals should outline the proper way to place an infant or indeed any child into a car seat. At the age where the child is being brought home from the hospital, rear-facing is the way to go. The manual will explain where the shoulder straps go and how to adjust their tightness.
Tightness is important, as you want the child to be secured adequately in the event of a collision. It should be tight enough that parents are not able to pinch the straps in the baby’s shoulder area. Instead, the straps should be tight enough that there would be no room for more webbing. And the chest clip available on the car seat ought to be placed at around the same level as the child’s armpits.
The other shortcoming illuminated by photo and video footage was the way that the baby was wrapped in a blanket. Unfortunately, when a baby is swaddled in such a way, proper adjustment of the straps simply can’t be achieved. Instead, parents are advised to place the baby into the car seat, get them ready for the ride, and then cover them with the blanket.
When all is said and done and the child is in the seat, there still remains the little fact of strapping the seat into the vehicle properly. A child needs to face backwards until they’re at least two or the proper size to look forward. The seat should be secured to the point where it can’t move in any direction. When it comes to the angle, owners are advised to check out the particular instructions contained in the manual for that model.
Although problems among first-time parents the world over are common, an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety spokesperson says that great strides have been made in the past decades in terms of the number of children put into car seats. Now the goal becomes getting those children strapped in the right way.