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28 October 2010

Safety for tots

Celoteh Aku MamaGlam at 11:29 AM
Cerita ni: 

 

      There’s no escaping the truth. If your baby is going to travel by car, you’re going to need a car seat – even for a short drive.


      There are two basic options: An infant carrier (which has a handle and can be lifted in and out of the car with your baby in it – great when your baby’s asleep) or a combination seat (which stays permanently fixed in the car and is used rear-facing at first, then turned to face front as your child grows).
You may find an infant carrier you like as part of your pushchair plus, or fall in love with a particular style. Whichever you end up choosing, don’t buy a unit without asking the assistant to check if it works and fits in your car.


Here are some common questions that parents face when buying a child car seat:


What are the different types of car seats for infants and children?
Car seats are divided into different groups. It’s the weight of your child that is important, not necessarily the age. If your baby is below or above the recommended weight range for the seat, it may not offer the full protection. (See graphic below for types of car seats.)

 

How do I choose the right car seat for my child?
If you want to be able to carry your sleeping baby from car to house or supermarket trolley, go for an infant carrier (Group 0+). These have a handle and are usually lightweight, so they can be removed from the car and carried around, and used indoors as a rocker. You can buy it as part of a travel system with the bonus that it snaps into your pushchair chassis.
These are good until your baby weighs 13kg (usually about 12 months old) but you'll find the baby carrier difficult to lift and manoeuvre after about six months.
If you want a fixed car seat, you'll want a combination car seat (also called Group 0+/1). These are larger and costlier, but can be used from birth until your child is around four years old.


Like a toddler car seat, these stay strapped (or fixed) in the car, initially rear-facing, then swivelled to face the front when your child weighs 9kg or can sit unaided.


If a childminder or grandparent will be taking your baby out and about, you need to check if the car seat will fit in their car too, and they need to practise fitting it in. The portable (Group 0+) seats will fit most cars, but Group +/1 may prove more tricky.


What sort of certification should I look for?
All car seats must be produced in accordance with the new European Safety Standard ensuring maximum safety and comfort. They are approved to the United Nations Regulations ECE R44 standard.


Can my child be in her or his car seat but in the front passenger side?
If your car has an airbag (as most cars do these days), your baby must go in the back seat - inflated airbags can be lethal to babies. Some airbags can be disabled, but you need to check this with the manufacturer of your car. Side airbags are no problem.


Why can't I just strap my child in without a child car seat?
A car seat is a must-have to transport your baby. It's the safest way to travel with your precious little cargo.


Children are more vulnerable to injury in the event of an accident. A baby's skull is thinner than an adult's. As such, head injuries to babies are frequently more serious.


A child's neck and pelvis are also vulnerable parts of the body when an accident happens. If your child is not in a child car seat, the seat belt can slip up and damage his or her internal organs.


Child seats are very expensive, is there a way I can minimise the cost involved?
You can go for the combination car seat. This may be costlier, but they are larger and have a longer life, lasting from birth until your child is around four years old.


You may then change to a highback booster without harness or booster seats. These are suitable from 15kg to 36kg (from approximately four to 11 years). Toddler/child and seat are secured in the car by the adult seat belt. The seat raises the child to enable the adult seat belt to fit more securely, safely and comfortably. The extra height also gives a better view, helping to relieve boredom/travel sickness.


What is the law in Malaysia regarding children in car seats?
There is no enforcement law in Malaysia yet. However, keeping your little one safe and comfy in transit is vital.


Car safety checklist
1. Always buy the right car seat for your child's weight.


2. Replace the car seat as soon as your child grows out  of it.


3. Install the seat according to the manufacturer's instructions.


4. Never use a car seat where an airbag is fitted.


5. Use the car seat for every car journey, however short.


6. Check that the car seat is firmly in position every time you use it.


7. Check that the harness is firm. You should be able to get only two fingers between the straps and your child's chest.


8. If anyone else is driving your child around, make sure they know how to fit and use the car seat correctly.


9. Never leave your baby in the car unattended.
Answers provided by Mothercare.

 

 

Mothercare and ParenThots are currently running a safety contest at parenthots.com/contests/mothercare. Five lucky readers will win a Mothercare Sevile Star child car seat worth RM699. The prizes are sponsored by Mothercare.

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