FIND THE RIGHT CAR SEAT FOR YOUR CHILD
If your baby is born in a hospital and you have to drive him home, then the first thing you need to buy for his safety is a proper car seat. This is more important than the many diapers you will inevitably buy, so do this far enough ahead of time to give yourself a chance to do some comparison shopping.
There are so many brands available that it is difficult to choose one but do your research and make sure the one you decide to buy meets the current safety standards set by your state or province. To get started, have a look at what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say and then do further research to compare the different car seat models. Another excellent source of information for Americans is healthychildren.org’s car seat guidelines. Canadians should check out the guidelines set by Transport Canada.
Be very careful about buying or accepting second-hand car seats because regulations change and your car seat could be outdated (infant car seats have an expiration date) or even on a recall list!
INSTALL THE CAR SEAT PROPERLY
Your next step is to get the car seat properly installed. You can do it yourself, but read the instructions carefully and have it checked if you are not sure that it has been done properly. Information from the National Highway Safety Administration‘s link to Parents Central will provide you with all the important details. Canadian information is provided by Transport Canada’s web page on Child Car Seat Clinics and other Resources.
Once installed, make sure your child is always buckled in securely!
There is no car seat on this earth that is safe unless your child is properly buckled in. If your child is older and can unbuckle himself, then you need to teach and reteach! Make it a rule that the car does not move unless all seat belts are fastened securely.
There are products available that make it difficult for a child to unbuckle the harness clips (again, do your research). Do not tamper with these clips but always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safety’s sake.
Eventually you will need a new car seat that is suitable for your child’s height and weight and you will have to research and do comparison shopping all over again. Good luck, drive safely and make absolutely sure that your child is always buckled in securely!