There is an extensive check-list to take care of before welcoming a new member to the family: the carriage, the cot, the overnight hospital bag… Everything is usually ready weeks before the date highlighted on the calendar. But what about the trip home from the hospital? Natalia Toscano's baby is due in about four weeks. “I thought I had taken everything into consideration, but I hadn't thought about rehearsing the trip home, just to be on the safe side” she says. Read the following seven keys to a newborn's safety while driving:
1. Plan ahead:
A newborn's first car journey raises concerns, especially for first-time parents.
Advance planning is crucial for preventing mistakes, especially for first-time parents. You must carefully read the instruction manual for the child seat and learn how to install it in your vehicle. The procedure is often simple, but according to Javier Luzón, who is responsible for the department of Vehicle Safety Development at SEAT, “if you put it off until the last day, with no information and a bundle of nerves, it could turn into a real feat of engineering." And the correct use of the infant restraint system it vital, as according to the Traffic Department, it reduces the risk of death by 75% and injuries by 90%.
2. The proper child seat:
The one you use must be certified, and the proper group depends on the child's height and weight rather than age. In the case of a newborn, a baby seat from group 0 or 0+ should be used. Seats in group 0 can be used until the infant weighs 10 kilos, while the 0+ group are suitable up to 13 kilos. Carrycots are not recommended and are forbidden in most European countries.
3. Always on the back seat:
The back seats of the car are the safest, and that is where a newborn should travel. Javier warns that “it is never a good idea to place a newborn in the front passenger seat in order to keep a close eye on it". The front seat can be used on exceptional occasions, such as when other children are already occupying the rear. In this case you must make sure that the airbag is deactivated.
4. Rear facing:
The restraint systems in this group are designed to be placed facing the rear, as “the muscles in an infant's neck aren't fully developed” explains Javier.
5. Securing the seat is fundamental:
Planning ahead is essential to prevent jitters and mistakes.
According to a study published by the Oregon Health & Science University, 95% of parents make some mistake or another when installing a child seat, and most of these are serious. The main ones have to do with how to secure the infant seat and how to fasten the seatbelt, so it is important to read the instruction manual very carefully. The Isofix system is a simple, convenient method. Without this, “make sure that the three-point seatbelt is placed as instructed by the manufacturer, the lap portion in front and the diagonal portion at the rear” says Javier. And do not forget that the carry handle is also a safety element and must be stowed in the proper position.
6. Keep the harness taut:
Remove any excess outerwear that can make the harness too slack, as it should be snug on the infant's body. One way to know is to try and pinch the strap; if you can then you should tighten it a little more.
7. Any loose object is a potential threat:
Luggage or objects on the rear seats or parcel tray can be thrown forward in the event of sudden braking or a collision, striking your baby or any other passenger, so ensure that everything is stowed in the boot
The stroller, baby bag with a change of clothing, bottles, toys…everything adds up quickly. Having a large capacity boot is a basic need to be able to travel safely and comfortably. The following are the ideal SEAT models for all kinds of families.
- Tarraco: 760 litres on the 5 seat version / 230 litres on the 7 seat model.
- Leon ST: 620 litres of boot space / 470 litres on the e-HYBRID model.
- Ateca: 510 litres of boot space.