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Is it safe to travel while driving alone with a newborn baby?

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12/05/2015

Where the car is concerned, the biggest worry is that our child is secure in their child restraining system. Concern goes from the most basic, which seat should I use?, is the CRS properly installed?, right up to, is safe to travel alone with my child in the car?

To answer this question you must know how old the baby is to determine in which direction it should be travelling and whether the CRS should be installed on the front passenger seat. To answer this question in full we must ask others. Let’s have a look at how to manage this.

How old is the baby?

If the baby is recently born (a few days old) it should not be travelling alone in the back of the vehicle. It is a critical time when the baby needs a lot of attention and there should be no pressing reason (in general), to take the baby on a car journey. This may be different in an emergency. If we must travel alone with the baby there is a solution but we should always try to get help before hand.

If the baby is using a group 0 seat, it is best to travel with it facing backward (recommended up to 3 years of age as the neck muscles are still not very strong); this makes us unable to see the child’s face. This is important because we can only see, using a rear view mirror, whether the baby is asleep or is uncomfortable, for example after having been sick. We would therefore recommend that you don not travel alone.

If we are left with no choice then it is best to install the CRS on the front passenger seat. This can be tricky too as we must be sure that we are able to deactivate the front passenger airbag. If this is not possible, then it is dangerous to install the CRS backward facing on the front seat because should the airbag be activated it would act to propel the CRS forward.

It is vital that the airbag is deactivated as soon as the CRS is installed with the baby travelling backward facing. This position allows us to interact with the baby to ensure they are ok if they are quiet or asleep, making us feel more relaxed.

Once the baby is bigger and can travel forward facing, it is recommended that apart from ensuring that the CRS is correctly utilized and the baby is not travelling wearing a coat (both for heat and the adjustment of the harness), that the CRS is placed on the rear seats where it can be easily observed using a rear view mirror. This would mean the CRS being placed on the right-hand side of the vehicle, which also helps when getting the child in and out of the car and onto the sidewalk.

From the 1st of October 2015, in agreement with the changes to the Highway Code, in respect of the use of seatbelts and Restraining Systems, the front passenger seat can only be occupied by children under 18 years of age and under 135cm in height, if the rear seats are already occupied by children under 18 years of age and under 135cm in height, that are using a restraining system.

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