According to the Philippine Pediatric Society, it is recommended that all babies and young children travel in rear-facing car seats until they reach the maximum weight or height allowed by the car seat model. Typically, this occurs around the age of 2 and when they weigh 40 pounds.
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The newborn's head is larger than the rest of body and it is 25% of the total weight, while this percentage drops to 6% in an adult. Therefore children are more protected if they are transported reward facing until at least 15 months, since only from that age head and neck can withstand the forces generated in a frontal impact better. Remember, children are not small adults!
Rear-facing car seats are the safest way for babies, young children to travel in a car and this also cradle the baby's entire body, providing better support and protection. In addition to that, studies have shown that rear-facing car seats are five times safer for babies than forward-facing car seats. In fact, the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) suggested that all babies ride rear-facing for as long as possible.
As they become older, children want to imitate their parents and during the travel by car they often refuse to use the car seat because it makes them feel too small. But beware: the use of the car seat from 4/5 years continues to be crucial because it is the only way to protect your child correctly. We must remember that car and its devices (belts or airbags) are designed to transport adults.
- They have reached the highest weight or height allowed by their rear-facing car seat model.
- Their head is at least 1-inch above the top of the rear-facing car seat, this ensures that their head will be protected.
- They can sit up unassisted for at least 1 minute because this shows that they have the strength and muscle control to sit in a forward-facing car seat.
Choose a compatible car seat: Ensure that the car seat you select is suitable for your specific vehicle. Check the car seat's compatibility with your vehicle's make and model before making a purchase.
Follow installation instructions: Carefully read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing the car seat. Improper installation can compromise the seat's effectiveness in protecting your baby during a crash.
Secure the car seat tightly: Once installed, ensure that the car seat is tightly secured in the vehicle. This will minimize any movement and maximize your baby's safety. Use the vehicle's seat belt or the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system for a secure installation.
Utilize the harness correctly: Always use the car seat's harness system and adjust it snugly around your baby. The harness should fit securely, with no slack, and lie flat without any twists. The chest clip should be positioned across the chest, centered at armpit level.
Never leave your baby unattended: Never leave your baby unattended in the car, even for a short period. Extreme temperatures and other hazards can pose a risk to your baby's well-being. Always take your baby with you when you leave the vehicle.