Pregnancy can certainly be a bumpy road at times – sometimes literally! In this blog post, we’ll look at when to use baby/child seats, why it’s so important to do so, and how to choose the correct seat.
In Australia, following the law means having a car seat for your child from the day they are born to their 7th birthday. Yes, this applies to taking your newborn home from the hospital, so make sure to plan ahead and purchase your first car seat before your water breaks!
Why is This Important?
During a car crash, a young child is significantly more likely to sustain a serious injury if they are using a regular seat belt rather than a kid-friendly restraint. In fact, a proper seat belt can actually be the cause of harm during an accident, as these are not designed to fit or protect little bodies.
Different Stages, Different Seats
Seven years is a long period and your child will grow a lot during this time. As such, you should regularly check if your existing seat is still suitable and upgrade if necessary. Alternatively, you may be able to find a ‘convertible’ seat that can be adjusted to suit your child throughout the seven years.
Up until turning six months old, your baby should travel in a rear-facing seat or a baby capsule. After this, their seat can be either rear- or front-facing, but there must be a harness built into it. Once your child is four years old, you can move to a booster seat if you prefer (just be sure to use this in conjunction with a correctly fastened seat belt).
These age brackets are great guidelines, but every child is different. If your son or daughter is unusually tall, you may need to move to the next phase sooner.
If you have any questions or uncertainties about keeping your child safe while travelling, please don’t hesitate to send us a message and we can point you in the right direction of where to get the right advice. Alternatively companies such as Kidsafe offer a baby capsule/seat installation service and have lots of helpful information on their website.
Dr Ken Law is a Brisbane Obstetrician specialising in the management of pregnancy and delivery. For more information and to discuss your specific situation, please contact Dr Ken Law to arrange a consultation at Greenslopes Obstetrics and Gynaecology.