I recently wrote a blog about car seats and infant carriers, talking about what car seat to use in the early weeks and how to make sure you have positioned your baby correctly in them. There are now new baby carriers that baby can lay flat in, which is better, they keep the baby in a better position rather than the scrunched up sitting position that cuts off air to the lungs. This is a serious consideration and if you want to read about this follow this link – baby car seats and infant carriers
Horrific Car Accident
I read an article on Facebook the other day about a mom in Australia whose baby daughter had suffered horrific injuries to her cervical spine, breaking it in three places after being in a head-on crash with a tree. She was facing forward in her car seat and her baby sister who was facing backwards, only suffered a bruise to her shoulder. They were travelling home from the dentist when they were in collision with a tree, the car flipped over, the tree snapped in two and landed on the roof of the car, trapping the family inside.
The children were flown by helicopter where they were told the serious condition of their older baby. She had to be fitted with a halo brace, to keep her head still and straight, allowing the bones to heal whilst protecting her spinal cord. She was tremendously lucky not to a have spinal cord injury and potential paralysis.
Look at the photos of their baby, I have been given permission to post them here to show you exactly what this baby had to cope with, following the accident. She is one of the youngest ever to be placed in a halo brace. This would have been very difficult for her to cope with, curtailing much of what a toddler usually gets up to, but her mom has been very happy for me to show this here, to show exactly what can happen if we place our babies in car seats facing forward before they are old enough and mature enough physically to cope wit the forces at work when involved in a car crash.
There are very strict rules that have recently been published about when toddlers can be in forward facing car seats, all too late for this mom. Rules in the past to be fair, were quite wishy washy and reading one place would say one thing and another would say something else. The rules here are for the UK parents and have been set for this very reason.
USA has very similar rules for the position, size, seat, booster…… so check the specific rules for your state here
MARCH 2017 UPDATE RULES – UNITED KINGDOM
The laws for booster seats changes from March 1 2017.
Manufacturers are not allowed to make new models of backless booster seats for children who are shorter than 125 cm and weigh less than 22kg. This is coming in throughout Europe because backless car seats offer very little protection in the event of a collision.
However….. booster seats in use right now are not illegal or unsafe. But you must know the rules….
Children should use a car seat until they’re 12 years old, or 135cm tall, whichever is first.
Booster seats from now on will only be made for children over 125cm tall and weighing more than 22kg so this will be the benchmark for the time to put your child into a booster seat. If they are not the right weight/height for the booster seat they will not be safe to use them and the seats will be marked as such.
Make sure it is fitted correctly and used correctly. If you want to read up on these new rules, follow the link here.
For younger children the following rules are recommended:
Height Based Seats – (I size) – must be rear facing until your child is over 15 months. Your child should not face forward until they are over 15 months old.
Keep an eye on the size of the seat and make sure that it is suitable for your child.
Height approved car seats in the UK are labelled with an “E” in a circle and “R129”
Weight Based Seats – the way these seats are used and how your babies are restrained depends on their weight.
Child’s weight Group Seats
0kg to 9kg 0 Lie-flat or ‘lateral’ baby carrier, rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
0kg to 13kg 0+ Rear-facing baby carrier or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
9kg to 18kg 1 Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield
15kg to 36kg 2 and 3 Rear- or forward-facing child car seat (high-backed booster seat or booster cushion) using a seat belt, harness or safety shield
If you would like to read more to check exactly what you should be using with your babies, follow this link here.
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Safely sitting in rear facing seats.