Practical new born car seat advice. For expectant mums the plethora of car seats competing for their attention can be overwhelming. Without the experience of having been there and done that, and without sufficient awareness bad habits for you and your baby concerning car seats usage is soon to follow. This article sets out to illustrate these pitfalls to give babies and parents an insight into what the "been there and done that" experience looks like, by parents who have been there and done that.
Sad but true ?
One of the main reasons parents leave their baby in the car seat for extended periods is they're almost certain the moment they try to move their baby from the car seat, they'll wake them up.
The sad truth is, born from their parenting experience, they are right.
That is why it becomes tempting, and then the norm, to leave the baby in the car seat. The half hour car journey that lulls the baby to sleep can become for your baby, hours of sitting in the car seat.
No one means to do this. Its just the way poor habits develop.
Why leaving your baby in the car seat is bad for everyone
Carrying and mobility
A car seat is designed to look after your baby while travelling in the car. It makes for a really poor way to carry your baby around with you, tiring for mum or dad to carry, and a bad place for baby to be for long. As adults we don't like to be confined to a seat for long periods. Parts of our body become tired from sitting on our bum and the continual pressure of the seat on the back of our legs. In short we carry the weight of our bodies on the same spot. We want to get up and move around. The same is true for baby. For new born babies the ability to move is difficult with under developed muscles lacking strength and little co-ordination. The result - babies tend to stay in the same position unaware and unable to do anything about it.
Breathing and comfort
From babies perspective, trials conducted by our NHS at Bristol and Southampton University have shown that babies in car seats have higher heart rates and shallower breathing. This is due to the more upright seating position which can often result in the babies chin falling forward on to the babies chest. This results in shallow breathing, higher heart rate, and over all lower oxygen levels in the babies blood stream.
However it really isn't good for your baby to be left for extended periods in a car seat. A car seat is not a pram, and, as a mother or father, a car seat is not light to carry. Neither is a car seat easy to carry around. Especially with the weight of the baby inside it.
The temptation to dispense with an overnight cot or mosses basket thinking "Ah they'll be Ok in the car seat. Its just one night..." sadly has been for some babies too many hours. While baby looks serene and comfortable in their car seat, it has happened that they've been left in the car seat overnight, causing fatalities due to positional asphyxiation. The baby does not have the strength to move or change position. Much like no adult looks forward to sleeping in an aircraft seat on a long flight, its not hard to imagine just how much more uncomfortable that would be if you couldn't even move your body in a coordinated way.
Think like a baby
A poorly positioned Car Seat may allow the head to fall into this head on chest position time again while jostled around in the car.
It is often taken for granted that a baby will move itself if they are uncomfortable. For young babies without fully developed coordination or the strength in their muscles this can be impossible, never mind that they are restrained by straps into a car seat. The head is one of the heaviest parts of the body, and without sufficient neck muscles or muscle coordination, a difficult and heavy object for baby to move.
Think for twoNew born babies haven't developed the skills to talk, so they can hardly tell you their discomfort or stress that they are in. At best you'll end up with a screaming baby, at worse a serene and silent baby suffocating under their own head weight. As parents we must be mindful of this for our babies wellbeing and comfort and do this thinking for them ahead of time. Always take the time to ensure your Car seat is properly positioned, your baby is properly secured, and they are comfortable. Ask yourself “If I couldn't move my body, would I be happy to be in this position for longer than I think I'm going to be ?”
Why are parents reluctant to move their babies from the car seat ?
The reason baby wakes when being moved from the car seat is because of the change of comfort the baby experiences. The warmth that baby enjoyed being snuggled up against the padding of the car seat, warmed by their own body heat. The sudden rolling of babies head as he or she is lifted, the sudden rush of cold air against their previously warm skin, all give baby warning signs that their situation is changing. They wake up suddenly, and inevitably begin to cry, unsure of what is going on in their little world as they are being separated from their place of comfort and warmth.
Its not hard to see why parents leave their babies in the car seat. But its not good for the babies.
As parents, if you could do the right thing for your baby and not allow bad habits to develop, we would. The place this begins is by being aware of the bad habits. Then taking action to deal with those bad habits.
To be able to move your baby without waking them, the snuggled warm place baby knows needs to move with them. Their head needs to be properly supported so there is no sudden rolling movement to startle them into being aware that they are moving out of their car seat.
This is what the Snugglebundl allows you to do - to lift and carry your baby without waking them. This allows you to change their physical position without disturbing their sleep. It allows you to be the parent that is free from lugging around the weight of a car seat with your baby still in it. It makes your life easier because you can lift your baby while still giving full head support and cuddle, lift and move, and leave the car seat in the car where its meant to be. And you still take babies little world of comfort with them. Undisturbed.
The chances are that if you can take babies little world of comfort undisturbed with you, you'll be undisturbed by babies world. Now everyone's happy.
The Snugglebudl is the result of real parenting experience by real parents. Get one. It will change your parenting life.
Our recommendations :
- For your babies safety ensure your car seat is recommended/ suitable for your car and is correctly fitted.
- Keep journey times short, less than 30 minutes
- Your baby has the need to move around. Ensure they get this. Get them out of the car seat and allow them to lay on their back and tummy. This all helps their muscle development and prevents being in one position for too long.
A car seat is a car seat designed to look after your baby during travel. It is not a substitute carrying basket, a cot or a mosses basket. It is not overnight accommodation, nor is it somewhere to let you baby grow up in. For the health effects of spending too much time in a car seat for babies, see our related article below.
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