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Child Safety First: In the Car

As part of our Child Safety First campaign in cooperation with the Road Transport Authority of Dubai, Babyshop brings you this series of ABCs on how to help keep baby out of harm's way.

Most modern vehicles are designed with child safety in mind. However, proper child safety in automobiles requires a little more than simply buckling up. You can increase your child's safety in the car significantly by following these easy tips and procedures.

Picking a child seat correctly
Choosing the right child seat can make all the difference to your child's safety in the car. Remember that kids under 9 must ride in a child safety seat or booster seat, and that children under 13 belong in the rear seat and should be securely buckled in. Child seats come in 4 main types:

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1. Infant seat. Rear-facing only; age: birth to 13 kgs. Backward-facing seats provide more protection for your baby's head, neck and spine compared to forward-facing seats. We recommend positioning these seats at the rear of the car.

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2. Toddler seat. Forward-facing only; age: 1-4 yrs (9-18 kgs). These are also best placed on the rear seat of the car. Move your infant to a toddler seat only once their weight is more than the maximum weight for the infant seat or the top of their head is higher than the top of the seat.

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3. High back booster. Forward-facing only, with or without vehicle belt; age: 4-8 yrs (10-36 kgs). High back booster seats are better for children who are between 96 and 150 cms tall. Some booster seats are designed to be converted into a booster cushion by detaching the back rest.

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4. Booster seat. Forward-facing with vehicle belt; age: 4-12 yrs (15-36 kgs). When using these seats, make sure the seat belt is correctly adjusted and worn as tight as comfortably possible. The lap belt should be over the pelvic region and not over the stomach, the diagonal strap should rest over the shoulder, not the neck, and your child should be able to see the window of the car.

Fitting child car seats
  • It is always safer to fit infant seats in the rear of the car
  • A forward-facing child seat in the front of the car should be fitted as far back into the car seat and as far away from the dashboard as possible
  • Don't place the child seat in the front if there is a passenger airbag
  • Make sure the seatbelt passes through all the correct guides on the child seat
  • If the child seat remains in the car permanently, make sure it is checked regularly and that it is securely held in place
  • Push your weight into the child seat and pull the shoulder belt to make sure the seat is securely held. There should be no slack in the seat belt.
  • Check for any forward or sideways sway once you've secured the child seat in the car
  • Check that the seatbelt buckle is not resting on the child seat frame (this is known as 'buckle crunch')

Safety checks in the car
  • A child's body temperature increases much faster than an adult's. To reduce the risk of heat injury, don't leave your child alone in the car, not even for a short errand, and not even with the windows down.
  • School-aged children shouldn't be allowed to play in or around a parked car
  • To reduce the risk of a child becoming trapped inside the trunk of a car, always keep the trunk closed and the rear seats up
  • Teach children how to use a trunk release mechanism if your car has this feature

Pick up our handy ABC ("Always Be Careful") booklet at any Babyshop outlet or download it here as a useful reminder of how to make your child's life a little bit safer.

Are there other safety measures you use in the car for your child? Share them with us here!