Sunday, October 01, 2006

Traveling with Your Baby

These days a huge number of pushchairs and car seats are commercially available for babies to travel with their family. Then there are safety considerations as well. Let us look at some guiding factors in selecting the best travel products for your kids.

Selecting the Ideal Pushchair

Selecting the perfect pushchair can be quite complicated and many parents discover that what they brought home does not suit their needs once their baby arrives in this world. So ask yourself questions like where do you live; how do you travel; are you the out & about type and so on.

Weighing Up Your Car Seat

While choosing your car seat, remember that the important factor to consider is the weight of your child and not his/her age. The first seat you will need is an infant carrier i.e. a rearward facing seat, or a combination seat, which is a rearward seat that can be used as a forward facing seat as well. As you baby grows older, it will become necessary to move to a forward facing seat and then ultimately to high back boosters or booster cushions which may use an integral harness or combine with an adult seat.

The Baby's First Car Seat

If the situation is such that you are taking your baby home from a hospital in your car, even the hospital staff will press on you to have a proper infant car seat before letting you take the baby. The point is that maximum support needs to be provided to a new baby, the reason for this being that the baby's neck vertebrae are not yet developed. At this stage the only safe position for the infant is rearward facing such that the baby's head, neck, and spine find support from the seat back. This offers the best protection in case of an impact. Forward facing seats are essentially designed to be used from the time when the kid grows nine months old but it is recommended to let them have rearward facing for as long as possible. In addition, remember to practice fitting your car seat with the instructions before heading for the hospital. This is helpful in reducing the stress when you leave with your baby.

Growing Needs of the Baby

When your baby can sit up unaided, or if the top of their head protrudes over the top of the seat shell, then your baby will be secure in a forward facing seat. In case you go long distances, a seat that reclines can provide the baby added comfort. When it is time to use high back booster seats or booster cushions (from 15 kg of weight), it is again recommended that you use them for as long as possible. You can use them all the way up to the baby's eleventh year.

Properly Fitting the Child's Seat

Always keep in mind never to use a rearward facing car seat with a frontal airbag. Follow the instructions provided while you are fitting the seat. For every journey, fit and adjust the harnesses correctly. Never use Cosytoes or seat aprons when the seat is secured into your car; they may obstruct access to the buckle mechanism.

Useful Accessories

Following are some of the useful accessories that you will need to go with the baby's pushchair.

Weathershield: an easy-to-fit transparent cover that is perfect for all types of pushchair.

Cosytoe: fits around the lower body and keeps your baby warm and snug.

Parasol or Sun Canopy: helps shield your baby from the sun. You can also use a hat for the same purpose, depending on the weather.

Rain Cape: a lightweight, zip-up rainproof cover with hood that fits nicely around both the child and the pushchair.

Quick Tips for Baby Travel

To protect the baby from sun glare, use window shades.

Do not exceed the speed limit.

With a new baby traveling along, remember to take many breaks on a long journey and do not forget to take the baby's favorite toys along.

In the first three months, the baby spends most of the day lying flat for comfort. So no daily interstate trips unless your car has a special seat that allows the baby a flat lying position.

Take amusing paraphernalia like travel games, story tapes, music, non-sticky treats, and drinks to entertain the toddlers and older kids during the travel.

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