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Everything you need to know about safe journeys by car for a mother and her newborn baby

Todo lo necesario para el transporte seguro de la madre y el recién nacido

03/06/2019

Before the arrival of a new member of the family, certain concerns tend to come up. These could be preoccupations of any kind, from the most seemingly insignificant to other much bigger concerns. Among these frequent doubts are those related to transporting a newborn baby, how to do so safely and what precautions we should be taking.

When it comes to new mothers, it is often quite difficult to judge when it is safe to begin driving again after childbirth. A new mother is usually advised not to drive for one to three weeks following a normal childbirth without complications. If the mother has had a cesarean section the recommendation is usually to refrain from driving for around six weeks. The best advice we can offer is that you should be speaking to your gynecologist, obstetrician or midwife to find out what is best for you.

How should a newborn baby travel by car

Although it might seem obvious, newborn babies should be traveling in a child restraint system suitable for their physical characteristics. The child seat should be specifically designed for newborns and small babies, given that they can prevent up to 90% of serious or fatal injuries that can occur in a car accident. We should never travel with the child in our arms.

We should not forget that a newborn baby should travel in a child car seat from the very first day, including in their first car journey and from the moment they leave the maternity ward.

In order to be prepared ahead of time, we should have a child seat ready for the expected delivery date. The seat should ideally be a brand new one, but if we have chosen a second hand seat we should be following these recommendations.

It is a good idea to practice how to correctly install the child car seat before placing the child in the seat. This is particularly important in the case of new parents.  The ISOFIX system is designed to avoid errors  in installation. 

We should not forget what the legislation states in this regard. Children should be seated in a rear-facing position until they are 15 months old, although at Fundación MAPFRE we recommend putting the child in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible and up to 4 years old as a minimum. We may well have doubts about whetherit is safe to travel with a newborn if we are alone in the car, but the legislation does not extend to this.

We should be aware that placing our child in too upright a position is not suitable for them. A slightly reclined position halfway between lying flat and sitting up is the most recommendable. Moreover, the majority of child restraint systems have reducers which have been specifically designed for newborn babies and have greater ergonomics and secure the child better in the seat.

The safest seat is the middle seat as it is further away from the doors. However, ISOFIX anchors are usually fitted onto the two side seats. In this case it is best to place the child restraint system on the rear seat behind the front passenger seat in order to have better access to the child and to be able to see the child.

It is important for the child car seat to be an approved one The EuropeanECE R44/04 and R129 (i-Size) standards are currently in force. This means that the child seat model has had to undergo certain safety tests before being able to go on sale. 

Lastly, you should follow this specific advice if the baby was born prematurely. In this infographic we also offer safety recommendations for both pregnant mothers and very young babies.

Pregnancy

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