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Buckle Up Baby
Health & Safety
When you bring your baby home from the hospital, use a car seat that faces the rear of the car and is designed for infant's birth to 30 pounds (weight limits will vary among seats). The car seat will hold baby safely in most crashes. If you hold the baby on your lap, a crash could rip the child from your arms and throw him into the dashboard with the same force as a fall from a three-story building. The child could also be crushed between your body and the dashboard or be thrown out a car window.
Here are some guidelines to help you use car seats correctly:
Put baby in the seat; be sure the straps are snug and over his shoulders. Don't put blankets behind or under baby. If it's cold, strap the baby in car seat, with blankets on top of the harness straps. Thick, padded clothing should not come between the straps and the baby.
Place the car seat so it faces the back window. Pass the vehicle's seat belt through the car seat's belt pathway. If using the latch system, ensure latch strap is placed correctly on the car seat and firmly secured in the vehicle latch anchors. Never position a rear-facing infant car seat facing forward.
Airbags can be fatal for babies. In fact, Safe Kids Lincoln-Lancaster County recommends that, if at all possible, one should never put a child under the age of 12 in a front seat with passenger side airbags. All babies should be in rear-facing infant seats fastened in the back seat of the vehicle until at least 20 pounds and one year of age. After that, follow manufacturer's and vehicle directions for safe use of convertible and booster child's seats.
When buying any car seat, make sure it comes with instructions. Make sure you read and understand them.
Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension NuFacts
This resource was updated April 2008.
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Photo Credit - Soni Cochran