HOW TO SEAT THE BABY
Before anything else it is important to make sure the seat is properly positioned and firmly fixed. Normally using an ISOFIX system or the seatbelt to support the child seat in the car. If you are using the seatbelt, it must never be in direct contact with the baby to avoid jerks or scratching.
When seating the baby ensure that the bottom is supported on the seat, the baby’s back should be completely straight and supported by the seat back. This way the straps on the seat (over the shoulders at each side and between the legs) won’t bother the baby.
Next is to fasten the baby in correctly using the different straps and belts supplied with the seat. Usually that consists of two buckles on the chest and the waist. To close the buckle properly you may have to consult the instructions or at least practice a couple of times before seating the baby. Remember that they do not work if they are not properly adjusted. The baby should never be loose in the seat, so it is necessary to tighten the straps as much as possible without hurting the baby or obstructing it’s breathing. A good way of checking is to insert two fingers between the strap and the baby, if it is still loose then tighten it a little more.
One of the greatest risks involved in transporting premature babies in the car is the appearance of breathing problems such as apneas that can be caused by breathing problems and/or blood problems such as: bradycardia, hypoxemia or respiratory deficiency. The apneas are small respiratory pauses of less than 20 seconds, which depending on their frequency and duration can be a serious risk to the baby’s health.
The use of a child seat is fundamental to avoid any respiratory problems. A wrongly installed seat can allow the baby to flex the neck, close the mouth and block the pharynx with the tongue, blocking the trachea. Remember the seat should be installed backward facing which helps to protect the neck and the head of the baby, assuming a pediatrician confirms it is alright to travel this way, it is the safest position for the baby.
At the MAPFRE FOUNDATION we recommend a check up by a pediatrician if the baby suffers any respiratory problems. If this isn’t the case then it is best to position the seat backward facing, although there is some risk involved, the best method is to lie the baby down in a one of the new generation of carrycots with a harness fixed at 3 points.
In the end it is the baby’s safety that matters and knowing how to use the safety devices in the circumstances particular to each of us.