With a hefty to-do list and unsolicited advice coming from all angles, parents often find preparing for a new baby to be a daunting task. You’re all sorted with nappies and bottles. You’ve set up the cot and blankets are at the ready. You’ve probably made your home baby-friendly. But have you considered your car?
UK law dictates that any child traveling by car must be placed in a car seat until they are 12 years old, or they reach 135 cm. So, if you’re bringing your newborn home from a hospital a car seat should be a priority.
With so much to prepare for, we’re here to take one task off the list and give you all the information you’ll need on choosing the right lie-flat car seat for you and your baby.
Car Seats: What Are the Risks?
In the past car seats used to be made to strap your little one into the back in a seating position at a 40° to 45° angle and were not easy to adjust.
However, a 2016 study showed that seating your infant in an upright position for too long may cause breathing difficulties and an increased heart rate. This is due to the risk of your infant's head slumping forward at an angle and restricting their airway. This applies to both newborns and low birthweight babies. 'Low birthweight' refers to infants born under 2.5kg, or 5.5lb.
While breathing difficulties are the most common car seat risk, keeping your infant seated at an angle can also lead to poor spinal development and back issues.
Experts recommend that low birthweight babies or infants under 1 month old should not be kept in a car seat for more than 30 minutes. This means that every 30 minutes you'll need to stop and remove your baby from the carrier, changing their position and keeping them out for at least half an hour.
Older infants strapped into the car in a seating position should not stay in this position for more than 2 hours. So, if you're taking a long trip or you have a busy day of errands ahead, always make sure to unstrap your little one.
Why Should I Choose a Lie-Flat Car Seat?
But what if you're traveling a long distance and regular breaks aren't possible? Or what if you'd rather not have your newborn seated upright at all? If you're concerned about your infant's safety in the car, a lie-flat car seat is your best option. Lie-flat car seats are proven to be the safest choice when transporting newborns and low birthweight babies.
Choosing the Right Lie-Flat Car Seat
With so many available options, we're here to help you decide on the best lie-flat car seat for you and your infant. Here are a few things to consider when making your choice.
Frequency of Use
Before you choose the right lie-flat car seat, you'll need to consider how often it will be used. If you're on the road a lot or planning a long car trip, investing in a good-quality lie-flat car seat is important.
Lie-flat car seats range from safe and simple, to more luxurious options. These options may include extra padding, sun protection, and other conveniences for parents and perks for babies.
If you won't be getting frequent use out of your lie-flat car seat, it might be better to go with a simpler option. These are still safe and secure but will be better suited to your lifestyle.
Fitting Your Seat
The second factor to consider when choosing your lie-flat car seat is your car model. Before you make a choice, ensure that you measure the backseat of your car where the seat will be fitted. Also, ensure that you take note of the mechanisms used to fit the car seat and that your car is suitable.
It's important to note that not all car seats are the same. It is vital that you read the manufacturer's instructions before fitting and using your car seat.
You've probably heard that babies grow fast. One day they're tiny and the next you're buying your baby grows two sizes up. Keep in mind that, for safety reasons, you should always track your baby's growth and use the right car seat for your baby's size.
To save you the trouble of having to buy a new car seat every couple of months, most lie-flat car seats are adjustable. This means that as your baby grows, their car seat can be adjusted to fit them safely. Buying an adjustable lie-flat car seat will not only save you money but you'll have one less thing to worry about, as you won't have to worry about your little one outgrowing their car seat for a while.
Lie-Flat Car Seats: The First Step in Car Safety
Keeping your infant safe on the move starts with a lie-flat car seat. Caring for a newborn is difficult enough without having to worry about their safety in the car. This is why a lie-flat car seat is the only choice for low birth weight or newborn babies.
Once you've got the right car seat for you, consider some other ways that you can make the car a baby-friendly space. Take a look at these toys to keep in your car when travelling. Engaging activities and toys can make travelling with a baby much easier on you and much more fun for your little one.
For more car seat, carrier, and pushchair options, or information about our extensive range of baby and toddler products, get in touch today!