Car Seat Considerations
There is an essential word for car seat installation: instructions. You will rarely encounter a time when this word is so significant. While there are some basic rules for installing a car seat, every seat is different and many have unique installation requirements. You must read the instructions both for your seat and for your vehicle owner's manual to see how your seat needs to be installed, and for the information regarding the harness system. Follow the instructions closely to obtain the degree of safety necessary to help protect your child. Here are other car seat considerations:
- You will have to find the correct seat for your car and your child. You will face additional challenges when you have to install more than one seat in your car as you will have to fit seats next to each other, so keep this in mind when purchasing a seat for your second child.
- You've heard the expression, "Never look back." But when it comes to kids and car seats, looking back is the only way to go. Your baby should never face forward in the backseat until she's at least 20 pounds and at least a year old. Don't feel bad, as far as she's concerned, you're the one facing the wrong direction!
- Be prepared in the event of an emergency. You should always have a first-aid kit in the car. It's a good idea to keep Band-aids, medicines, a blanket, a bottle and some water and a snack in case of a break down. You may find this handy if you and your child end up getting stuck in traffic. You'd be surprised how good crackers can taste when you've been sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for an hour! Your nerves will be better for it as well because there is no one harder to please than a hungry child (except perhaps a tired child). For an added measure of protection, it's always a good idea to keep a charged phone in the car, jumper cables and a flashlight.
Another set of wheels for you and your baby is a stroller-perfect for the outdoor adventures in warm weather. But be sure to keep those outings fun and safe by remembering that a stroller is a chair on wheels. Always fasten your baby in. Make sure the buckles are sturdy and durable and that your child fits snugly. And follow my other stroller-savvy secrets:
- It's called a stroller, not a bed. If your baby does fall asleep in it while you are on the go with him, make sure you use the harness and follow all manufacturer's instructions about child containment provided by the manufacturer. Also, make sure you never leave your child unattended in a stroller, even if he falls asleep.
- If someone is kind enough to give you a hand-me-down, always make sure you have read the instruction manual. You also need to make sure that the stroller is in good working order and that it is properly assembled with all the pieces. You wouldn't expect to use a broken seat belt in a car, so apply that same thinking here. When in doubt, opt for a new stroller. (Check out Graco's selection of strollers while you're here.)
- You might think that the hand-rest on the stroller is a great place to put your bags but you can actually make the stroller tip over if you have too much weight there. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Best bet: Put your things underneath the stroller.
Happily Avoid Other Hazards
Indoors and out, there are a zillion things that can happen to spoil a lovely day with your child. Here are some ways to help reduce the risk and ensure the good times:
- When you are doing yard work, never leave a bucket containing even an inch or two of liquid unattended. When you finish using a bucket, always empty it immediately and bring it inside. If it's left outside it can collect rainwater. Always put it away and keep it out of reach. This safety step couldn't be simpler!
No one and nothing is as important as your child, so don't hesitate when it comes to doing whatever it takes to keep him safe and healthy and happy. Some things just take a moment, but even the ones that aren't as easy are worth it and then some! Besides, when you know you've seen to your child's well-being, you can relax and enjoy all the precious moments with him, knowing that you're doing your best to avoid any scary ones.