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How should a newborn baby travel on different forms of transport?

¿Cómo debe viajar un recién nacido en diferentes medios de transporte?

01/08/2018

During the summer we tend to travel more and we go on trips by car outside our city or place of residence more often. Regardless of the method of transport we choose, the safety our our newborn babies is of vital importance. We will start with the most common type of transportation, the car.

Child car seats for vehicles are probably the most important safety measure for children. The seat must be approved according to current legislation (ECE R44/04 and R-129, or i-Size) and be specifically designed for newborn babies and small babies, given that they prevent up to 90% of all serious or fatal injuries that can occur in a road traffic accident. 

The isofix system prevents errors from occurring in installation, therefore it is highly recommendable. As the child grows we should have a child restraint system suitable for the child's weight and height. And by law they should travel in a rear-facing position up to 15 months old, although it is best to extend this period for as long as possible, and even up to 4 years old.. 

An intermediate position is recommended between horizontal and vertical for better support. As we know, they should always travel on the rear seats, except if the vehicle does not have any rear seats, or the rear seats are already occupied by other children with child car seats, or if child car seats cannot be placed on them.

If we travel by train or bus we will find that there is a gap in the regulation on this point for children under three years old. There is nothing specified regarding traveling with newborn babies by these methods of transport, given that they do not feature in the Regulation and nothing requires companies to equip their vehicles with adequate child restraints. However, we can use foldable and portable child restraint systems which, being approved, can be secured with three-point seat belts if the bus is equipped with them.

Specifically with regard to trains, it is not possible to use a child restraint system because the seats do not have seat belts. However, you can use a travel child restraint system if it has securing straps that can secure it to the seat.

For airplane travel, in the majority of cases it is not compulsory to use a specific CRS for children under two years old, but we should have our children on our laps, with a special seat belt that secures them. The best idea is to try to have them travel in a child restraint system. This will all depend on the airline company's policy in this regard.

Check out this infographic with advice on how children should travel by different forms of transport.

General advice in summer for trips with newborn babies

Summer trips inevitably imply suffering from the heat, and newborn babies are very temperature-sensitive. Therefore, where possible, we should plan our trips and rest stops, in order to avoid spending too much time inside the car, bus or train, or airplane (although this last option is the most complicated one). 

With a baby on board it is a good idea to stop every 90 minutes or every two hours in order to take them out of the seat and let them stretch, move around and shift position. We can also make the most of this break to change their diaper or clothing, or to feed and rehydrate them. It is a good idea not to feed the baby while in the car because it is difficult to sit in the right position.

Moreover, we should ensure that the temperature in the vehicle is right: not too cold and not too hot. If we travel on public transport we may not be able to regulate the temperature to our liking, therefore we should be prepared for the baby possibly being directly beneath the air conditioning.

It is very easy for a newborn baby to suffer from heat stroke, therefore we must take extra care that the child does not remain in the car or bus without supervision (we recommend this advice on how to prevent heat stroke in children). We should have everything in a bag at hand to comfort the baby, above all in terms of clothing, changes of clothing and wet-wipes, as well as diapers and lotions and any appropriate toys for the journey. 

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