Tips to Keep Baby Safe
There are a lot of great gadgets for newborns these days, so it’s important to understand what are essential (get before baby arrives!) and what are extra. The essentials in my mind are what keeps a newborn safe, fed, and comfortable. There are so many options out there in just these three categories, so I’m going to share what I used, and in some cases some other options that I have heard were wonderful. Here I’m going to focus on what keeps a newborn safe(specifically car seats), but in future posts I will share what essentials keep them fed and comfortable.
Picking the right car seat for your newborn can be a daunting task, especially if you are having your first baby. The most important thing for me to note to you is that ALL car seats on the market pass the same safety standards. The rest is just extra – they might be more comfortable, easier to use correctly, easier to install, etc. So no, the super duper expensive car seat is not necessarily any safer than the $70 model at Walmart. When looking for a car seat, first you want to decide if you would like the bucket seat, or a convertible seat. The bucket seat typically has a base that is installed in the car, and you can lift the seat out of the car and carry it with you. A convertible seat is installed in the car with no detachable base, and it also can be used forward facing when baby is much older.
- Easy to move baby around without waking him
- One car seat can be used in two cars, as long as you have two bases
- Typically click into a stroller very easily for greater portability
- Provide a clean, protected space when inside stores and restaurants
- Babies grow out of them quicker
- Not as cost-effective, as you will eventually need to buy a different car seat
- Obviously heavier than carrying baby on her own
- Can be used rear-facing and forward facing
- Is all your baby needs until he graduates to a booster (unless it also converts to booster)
- It’s often easier to buy one for each car in your family, since they don’t detach from a base
- Sometimes they take up more room in a car front to back
- Getting a sleeping baby out without waking them is a challenge
Now that we’ve covered the two types of car seats, there are a few things to keep in mind before you go out and purchase one for yourself. As I said before, all car seats have passed the same safety standards. However, some might be better for your family than others. Here are a few differences between car seats that you might want to keep in mind as you are researching them.
- Ease of install. Go to the store and physically look at the car seat. Ask if you can try to install it in your car. Many baby stores allow this! (side note: LATCH is an amazing way to install car seats. BUT, if you get a better install with a seat belt, there is nothing wrong with that, either!)
- Size of car seat. If you have a smaller car, or even an SUV that isn’t large, the size of the car seat might make a big difference. Look at how wide it is. Look at how long it is front-back when it is in full recline mode (like for a newborn).
- Ease of cleaning. Some covers come off easily for cleaning, and others don’t. Also, look at the cleaning instructions. You don’t want to void the warranty by cleaning it incorrectly.
- Cup holders. So, a newborn won’t need a cup holder. But if you’re looking at a convertible seat, your older baby might. Do the cup holders come off easily? (picture an angry toddler throwing it at you while driving)
What We Chose
When we looked at car seats for our most recent little one, we decided to go with the Britax B-Safe (which was actually left over from our older child, but it was still in warranty. Link is to newest one), then when she got older we moved over to the Britax Marathon Click-Tight. We loved the Britax from before, and so we leaned towards that brand again when we got the Marathon. The ClickTight is so easy to install, I actually thought I had done it wrong at first!
A few final words about car seat safety – I found so much help from the website and facebook group Car Seats For The Littles. They can answer questions, have installation videos, and can look at how you have installed your seat to try to verify that it is a good install. They also can help you find the best car seat for you if you go to their Facebook group! SafeKids is also a wonderful resource, and you can use the website to find car seat techs to help you install, or verify your instalMany people suggest to go to the local fire station or police station to have your car seat checked, but those are not always the best resources. Call first to see if someone is certified to help! And finally, know your state laws, and also know that they are the MINIMUM guideline for protection. Just because the laws say you CAN move them forward facing when they turn 2, doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.
I am a Dallas-Fort Worth Photographer specializing in maternity and newborn portraiture. If you’d like to see some of my newborn images, visit here. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases