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How to avoid royal car seat mistakes when bringing home baby

Safety tips inspired by the little prince

Published: July 2013

The world has been in a frenzy celebrating the royal birth in London, and yesterday, the world caught a glimpse of the new heir to the throne as the little princeling was transported away from the hospital. Unfortunately, from the pictures that surfaced of Prince George Alexander Louis in his car seat, His Royal Highness did not appear to have been strapped into his car seat correctly, being swaddled in a blanket with loose straps.

That first ride is a daunting experience for all new parents, and this just goes to show that it is possible for anyone to be confused by the best way to buckle the newborn in the seat and secure the seat itself.

Even if your baby isn’t an official heir to the throne, you want to give your new son or daughter the royal treatment every step of the way.

Here are some tips for safe travels with a newborn.

  • Make sure your car seat is installed well before the baby is due. The ideal place is in the rear center seat since it is the furthest away from any potential collision. For assistance installing the seat, go to www.safekids.org to find an installation clinic near you. The technicians there will provide instruction on not only how to get the seat in the car, but also how to make sure the harness is properly secured. Harness straps should be at or below shoulder level and the chest clip at armpit level. It should be tight enough that you can't pinch any webbing between your thumb and forefinger.
  • Check the recline angle. This is especially important for newborns so their head doesn't fall forward and restrict their breathing.
  • Do not put any blankets between the baby and the harness. Fasten the harness and put any blankets on top. Also, make sure to not put too many blankets, as that can cause a baby to overheat.
  • Put all the stuff away. You will likely have gifts, flowers, balloons, and toys that were either sent to the hospital or brought there. Put your luggage and other belongings in the trunk of the car, so that they are not projectiles in the event of an accident or choke hazards while traveling. The baby will likely be sleeping, or at least not very active, so there is no need for toys or entertainment anyway.
  • Accompany your baby. It’s a good idea to have Mom or a family member sit (buckled up) in the back with the baby for the ride home. That way they can monitor and make sure baby is comfortable and safe. It will also reassure the baby as it has this new experience.

For more on safe driving with children, see our special section. To find the best car seat for transporting your child, see our car seat Ratings and buying guide.

Liza Barth

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