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Car seat safety for holiday travel (even on airplanes!)

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is here! As we travel over the river and through the woods we have to be mindful so everyone arrives safely at grandmother’s house. Here are some must-know safety tips for safe travel this holiday season.

Puffy coats

Puffy coats can keep us cozy, but they don’t mix with car seats. Want to try an experiment? Put your little one in the car seat with a puffy coat on, but don’t go anywhere. Instead, take them out without adjusting the harness. Now put them back in without the coat. See how much space there is between them and the harness? The harness should always be pulled so it is snug against your child. You can check to make sure it is tight enough by using the pinch test. Pinch the harness between your finger and thumb. You shouldn’t be able to pick up any slack in the harness.

How do we keep our little ones warm when the weather outside is frightful? Put your child in the car seat and secure the harness first, then lay a coat or blanket on top of them to keep them warm. This will make sure they are safe and comfortable on your holiday travels.

Frequent stops

Car seats are essential for traveling with children, but they are not an ideal place for an infant to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants always sleep on a firm, flat surface. This means that sitting up in a car seat isn’t ideal.

Make frequent stops when traveling with an infant. Give your baby a chance to get out of the car seat and move around a little bit.

This also means that car seats shouldn’t be used as a place for your baby to sleep when you arrive at your destination. Make sure that you bring a pack n’ play or something similar so your baby has a safe place to sleep.

Distracted driving

We all know that distracted driving is dangerous. Traveling somewhere unfamiliar can also be a distraction. Put your navigation device on a voice setting to tell you directions—or even better, have someone in the car act as your navigator so you can concentrate on driving. Never text or look at your phone while driving. The roads are always busy and full of other drivers and shoppers rushing home with their treasures.

Airplanes

We can’t all travel by sleigh and reindeer. If you are traveling on an airplane with a child, it is safer if they have their own seat instead of in your lap. There are several ways to secure your child in an airplane seat, depending on how big your child is.

Have you ever looked at the bottom of your car seat? There is all kinds of great information under there! Weight limits, expiration date, and maybe even an FAA approval. Some car seats are approved to be used on airplanes. A flight attendant may ask to see the sticker to make sure it is approved to use on an airplane.

There are also products on the market, like the CARES harness, that uses the seat belt on the airplane to secure your child safely. This harness is better for older children who may not need a car seat on an airplane.

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