In the case of travelling in the car, these precautions include the purchase of a child seat to bring the baby home on its first trip from hospital. The cost involved in buying a seat so soon may be a worry to some parents; it can also be a worry to parents that they have to change the CRS (child restraining system) quite often. In reality, only 2 or 3 seats are necessary, depending on whether you use a multi group seat and the child’s weight and height.
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During the weeks prior to the birth couples often take part in courses on how to look after a newborn baby. However it is rare that a course in child road safety is offered, creating unnecessary risks right from the first trip with the baby in the car.
Not all Spanish hospitals offer courses specifically to inform parents about child road safety, although staff will be able to offer the necessary information. In some, such as the University Hospital La Paz in Madrid, they offer a series of voluntary talks for parents where they cover various topics and one of them is specifically to provide advice on the best way to transport a newborn baby home.
In the United States they have a much stricter policy as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians, with the goal of ensuring that in every hospital all newborn babies are transported home in an approved child seat suitable for their age and medical condition. They also recommend hospitals have up to date information with someone responsible for evaluating the special needs of every baby, classes and courses for the parents, review of all information available and education as well as the opportunity for the poorest parents to acquire a free child seat.
The MAPFRE FOUNDATION offer a series of simple suggestions worth remembering when installing and using an approved child seat.
In first place, we recommend you don’t use a seat that is more than 6 years old, always read the instructions and follow them to install the seat. The seat should be installed in the back whenever possible and always facing backwards, at least until the baby reaches 12 months old and weighs over 10 kilos. You must never place the child seat on the front passenger seat without first deactivating the airbag and also make sure the child is not loose in the seat or the harness. It is also important to keep an eye on the baby and never leave it alone in the car. Make a safety stops every hour to rest and take the baby out of the seat for a while. Last of all make sure there are no heavy or pointed objects lying around in the car, they could hurt the child in an accident.
At the MAPFRE FOUNDATION we also recommend that hospitals adopt similar proposals to those of the American Academy of Pediatricians, including the appointment of a person responsible for the provision of information on child safety seats.