The safety of your baby is probably the most important thing to take note of when travelling in a car with your little ones. After all, statistics from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) have shown that there are approximately 300 cases of children getting hurt in road traffic accidents every year because they weren’t belted up properly.
As Dr. Arif Tyebally (Deputy Head and Senior Consultant, KKH) says, “Any child less than 8 years old or are less than 36kg needs to be in an appropriate child restraint.” And here are some things about car seat safety to note when bringing your infant along for any car rides.
1. Placement of car seats
While riding in the back seat is the safest option for kids of any age, it is especially important for infants who are in a rear-facing car seat. As the impact from air bags (if activated) is very strong, placing them in the back seat will reduce the risks of any serious (or sometimes fatal) injuries to your child during a collision.
2. Position them at an angle
If possible, recline the car seat to an angle (approximately 45 degrees) so that your child’s head doesn’t slump forwards. As an infant’s airway is still very narrow, placing them at an angle will prevent airway obstruction.
3. Avoid bulky outerwear
The harness straps on car seats are what protects your baby during car rides. As such, wearing bulky outfits will interfere with the protection. Instead, buckle the straps snugly and then place a blanket over your child and the harness to keep them warm during the journey.
Originally published in “Travel Safe With Baby”, written by Lee Yang Yi & Teo Kuan Yee, in Singapore’s Child May 2011