Babies love outings – whether to the nearby playground or to a family party in another town. Some destinations can be reached by the young family on foot and with the help of the stroller, but in some cases they will have to use the car.
Many toddlers love driving and quickly become sleepy in the vehicle, so using a car is not a problem in this regard. However, responsible parents need to be well informed about what measures to take to ensure the safety of their little one in the car before the first trip with their offspring.
Baby on board: road safety first
The safety of all vehicle occupants is a top priority, as the law shows: seat belts are compulsory for all passengers in a car. In the case of small children (up to the age of 12), this special obligation is interpreted even more strictly – if toddlers and babies are to be transported in a passenger car, they must be accommodated in special seating devices.
a relaxed attitude along the lines of "i’ll just put my baby on my lap" or "for the short trip, you just sit in the back seat between grandma and grandpa" is not only punishable, but also reckless and dangerous. No matter how short the distance to be covered by the car, an accident can happen at any time!
Passengers who are not secured at all or are inadequately secured can be injured in even minor collisions; this applies in particular to babies and small children who, if not secured, could be thrown through the car or even against the windshield in the event of a collision.
Responsible parents should never act recklessly and put their child’s life or health at risk.
Finding the right child seat right from the start
There is a wide variety of child safety seats on the market that promise a safe ride in the car. Nevertheless, parents need to do a lot of research before making a final purchase to know exactly which model is right for them. Criteria that speak for or against the purchase of a certain model are, among others, the age and the weight of one’s own offspring, but also the labeling with the ECE badge, which provides proof of whether the seat complies with the valid standard (ECE R 44/03 or 44/04).
Newborns up to 10 or.13 kilograms of body weight (group 0 and 0+) do not require a seat in the true sense of the word – a baby car seat (or a baby bath) must be purchased for them. In the models mentioned, the children lie down more than they sit, which is intended in this case.
Small children can only sit properly when they are about 9 months old – until then, a forced sitting position while driving would be detrimental to their health.
Baby carriers are usually mounted on the back seat against the direction of travel and held in position by the car’s seat belt system. If you would like to install the baby car seat in the front seat, you must first make sure that the airbag on the passenger side is deactivated. If the airbag is activated, it could be accidentally triggered by a collision and seriously endanger the newborn baby in the baby tray!
As soon as the child is a little older and heavier, he or she needs a model from group I (9 to 18 kilograms). This already includes proper child seats, in which the child assumes a real sitting position. Thick padding and harness systems ensure optimum support and good impact protection.
For toddlers who have reached kindergarten age and a minimum weight of 15 kilograms, a group II seat is the best choice (up to 25 kilograms); whereas group III seats accompany the offspring even during elementary school (up to 36 kg).
In these two groups, interested parents will find many different child seat models – from the simple booster seat (with or without backrest) to special designs in which the complete seat is simply placed loosely on the rear seat. After the child has been seated, the normal three-point belt is passed through a holder in the shoulder area and fastened as usual. In this way the belt keeps both the child and the seat in the right place.
In addition, so-called child seats that grow with the child are also available, which cover several sizes, for example group I and II.
Reboarder – a new dimension in safety
In addition to the tried-and-tested child seat models, a new invention is now pushing its way onto the market – the so-called "reboarder. When the seat is seen outside the vehicle, it is almost impossible to distinguish it visually from the conventional products in this category. In fact, however, it can be distinguished from all previously available child seats in one decisive feature: reboarders are mounted on the back seat of the car in such a way that the children sit with their backs to the direction of travel.
This may seem strange at first, but accident studies show that in the event of a collision involving a frontal impact, this rear-facing seat is better able to absorb the energy of the impact and cushion the child’s body more easily. the risk of injury is reduced to a minimum by this system.
However, although the safety aspect of the reboarder should be a decisive factor for parents when making a purchase decision, many a couple are hesitant about acquiring this novelty. Their main argument is that it feels strange not to be able to make eye contact with their offspring while driving. Even children who have always been transported in the usual direction of travel often have difficulties getting used to the new situation at first.
To make the transition to the reboarder easier for passengers large and small, most models can be equipped with a mirror that restores the usual visual contact between parent and child.