Pint-Sized Passengers: How to Choose a Safe Car Seat for Your Premature Baby

It’s estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely every year across the globe. In addition to being considerably smaller than full-term babies, premature ‘preemie’ babies are at a much higher risk of developing an array of medical conditions. Due to this, it’s essential to shop with preemies in mind if you’re the parent of a premature baby, simply because they may require a different degree of care.

A car seat is likely to be one of the most essential accessories you buy, and it’s important you purchase the right car seat as there are so many different options available. So, if you’re shopping for a premature baby and aren’t sure which is the safest car seat to purchase; here are some tips on how to choose correctly.

Avoid sun shields and armrests
Whilst these additions may appear to be extremely beneficial for your baby, they can actually cause more harm than good for preemies. As their breathing won’t be as developed as a baby who’s reached full term, they may struggle to breathe normally behind a large sun shield. And, should an accident unfortunately occur, they may injure their head on the shield during a sudden stop.

Opting for a simple, no-fuss car seat is likely the best option for preemies as it will contain less potential hazards. If you own a large vehicle like a Jeep Compass, you’re able to position your baby’s seat in the most optimum position to avoid the sun, making a sun shield unnecessary anyway!

Look for adjustable strap slots
Whilst your car seat will have to be tailored to preemies at first, your baby will eventually grow to a completely normal size and will therefore require a regular-sized car seat. So, to avoid having to purchase more than one car seat as soon as your baby begins to grow, opting for one with adjustable strap slots is a great place to start.

You’ll be able to customize the exact position of each strap to perfectly fit your baby. For preemies, it’s recommended for harness straps to be placed below their shoulders for optimum safety. Then, when your baby has grown and may not require such low straps, you’re able to move the straps’ position to fit your baby as they grow!

Go for a short distance between the crotch strap and seat back
Especially for preemies, it’s much safer if they’re in a seat with a crotch-to-back distance of 5-6 inches. This will prevent your baby from slipping feet-first out of the seat under the straps. However, if you’re struggling to find a seat within budget that fits this measurement, you can place a rolled blanket between your baby and the strap to fill in any extra space.

Extra care almost always has to be taken when looking after premature babies, especially where car seats are concerned. But now you know the specific characteristics to look for, you’re able to instantly pick out the most suitable seat next time you go baby shopping!

Kyle Stephens has 2 kids, his eldest being born prematurely, 3 months early. He writes some parenting articles when he finds the time to sit down quietly.


Until Next Time… Charlotte x


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