September is Baby Safety Month: Driving with a Newborn

Posted by  //  September 25, 2016  //  Allstate, Articles

Is your newborn passenger in the right car safety seat?

Every week, about ten babies ages birth to one year old are treated and released from hospital emergency departments because of injuries from motor vehicle crashes in New York State. Each year about fifteen infants in this age group are hospitalized because of injuries from motor vehicle crashes in New York State (NYS).

The good news is that you, as a parent or caregiver, can play a major role in preventing injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes. Allstate Insurance Company and the New York State Department of Health want to make sure your baby is safely secured in a safety seat during any drive.

What NYS child passenger safety laws are important for me to know?

NYS law requires children under age four be restrained in a federally approved child safety seat.

Why should my infant use a child safety seat?

Using child safety seats reduces the risk of death in a car crash by 71 percent for infants, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Infants riding unrestrained are four times more likely to be injured in a car crash compared to infants using child safety seats.

Why is riding rear-facing the safest way for infants to travel?

Babies are very fragile. Their bodies and bones are not as strong as an adult or older child. Child safety seats hold infants securely in place and help distribute crash forces over a wide area of their bodies. The back of a rear-facing child safety seat absorbs crash forces protecting your baby’s spine and neck from injuries.

What is the best safety seat for my infant?

The best child safety seat is one that fits your child, is correctly installed in your vehicle, and is used properly every time your child rides in the car. Make sure the child safety seat you use is the proper type for your baby.  Base your choice on your child’s weight and height and on whether or not it can be correctly installed in the back seat of your vehicle. Weight and height limits can be found on the child safety seat and in the seat’s instruction manual. Some child safety seats will not work well with some vehicle seats or with certain seat belts. You may have to try many child safety seats to find the one that can be properly installed in your vehicle.

What types of child safety seats are available?

It is important to select a child safety seat based upon your child’s age and size. There are two types of rear-facing child safety seats: infant-only child safety seats and convertible child safety seats.

 

  1. Infant-only child safety seats are designed for rear-facing use only. They have a carrying handle and are used for infants up to 22 to 32 pounds, depending on the model. This type of seat often comes with a base which can be left in the car after being installed in your vehicle. The infant-only seat can be placed in the base to transport your child in the car.

  2. Convertible child safety seats can be used rear-facing until your child reaches the highest rear-facing weight or height limit of the seat and then changed or “converted” to use as a forward-facing seat. This type of seat best accommodates the needs of bigger babies and allows your infant to ride rear-facing for a longer period of time.

How long should my baby ride in a rear-facing child safety seat?

For the best possible protection, your baby should ride in a rear-facing child safety seat as long as possible, up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, infants should be kept rear-facing until they reach at least age one and 20 pounds. Most convertible child safety seats are approved for rear-facing use up to 30 to 35 pounds and should be used for infants whose height or weight has exceeded the limits of the rear-facing infant-only seats.

Where is the safest place for my baby to ride in my vehicle?

The safest place for children of any age to ride is properly restrained in the back seat. The center position is preferred, if the seat can be properly installed in this location. Rear-facing child safety seats should never be placed in the front seat of a vehicle with passenger-side air bags. Serious injuries or death could result to the baby if the air bag inflates in a crash.

For more tips on driving with a newborn safely, visit New York State’s Department of Health website.

 

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