Bringing baby Home: Installing your infant Car Seat

Bringing Baby Home

A car seat is often one of the first major purchase decisions you make when expecting. When deciding on a car seat there are many factors to consider. The Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada states: “The best car seat is the one that fits your child, your budget, and your vehicle, and that you will use properly every time.”

Britax One4Life ClickTight ARB (Clean Comfort)
NUNA PIPA Lite Infant Car Seat
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 4-35 Lounge Car Seat Mon Amour

Installing your Infant Car Seat

Most parents will install the car seat during the third trimester, around 36 weeks. Planning ahead gives you time to ensure the car seat has been properly installed in advance. If you need assistance contact a West Coast Kids near you to schedule an appointment with a certified car seat technician. Still not sure? We offer a FREE Virtual Car Seat Check with the purchase of any Clek or Britax Car Seat so you can check your own work with a pro.

Planning Your First Ride

Once you have purchased your car seat it’s time to start planning for your baby’s first ride.

  • If you are using a 2-piece infant car seat (bucket style), make sure that before you head to the hospital, you have both the base and carrier in the vehicle!
  • Bring the car seat manual up to the hospital room to reference when adjusting the size for your newborn’s first ride.
  • Timing with a newborn is everything! Take the opportunity for one more feed and one more diaper change. If your baby is sleepy and comfortable it will help them settle into a snooze in the vehicle.
  • Keep the baby comfortable by being prepared for the weather. Take a few extra minutes to get the temperature just right in the vehicle and always avoid thick layers when using a car seat.
  • The world can be a bright place for a new baby, utilizing a sunshade can make a big difference on a sunny day.
  • If possible, have someone sit close and help soothe your precious babe during their first ride.

Get Them Into Position

Positioning a newborn for their first ride is a task like no other. Many emotions sweep over you as you step out as a family and head out on your first adventure together. Take extra care in following the steps slowly among the nerves, excitement, and newfound responsibility.

  • Always ensure that before you place your baby into the seat they are within the guidelines set out by the manufacturer for weight and height.
  • Your little bundle will want to curl up. Make sure that their bottom is all the way back in the car seat.
  • Make any small adjustments to have them centred and sitting as tall as possible.
  • Make any small adjustments to have them centred and sitting as tall as possible.
  • When buckling up, have the harness sit right along the hip. Newborns are notorious for tucking up their legs, so you may need to help move those knees down to allow the harness to sit flush in the proper position along the hip crease.
  • Remove the slack from straps around the hips. Fasten the chest clip and pull to tighten. This can be done in small increments as you will need to make little adjustments along the way.
  • Ensure that the chest clip sits level with their armpits and double check that the harness tension is correct by doing a reversed pinch test
  • Double check that the recline is appropriate for your baby. You want their head to be resting back to keep their airway open.
  • The car seat should always provide an audible “click” when securing to the base. It is always a good idea to pull back up on the handle to confirm and then move the handle into the position recommended by the manufacturer for in car use.
You’ll know you are at the right height when you can place the edge of your finger on the end of the chest clip and touch your little one’s armpit.

Follows these tips, and you’ll be a pro in no time!

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