Between baby birth and six months

Between baby birth and six months

Before the child can sit, strap her carry cot to the back seat with a special harness as shown.

Never place a baby in a plastic or canvas chair in the back or the front seat. A sudden stop or swerve could fling the chair forward and shoot the child out.

Babies in a car on a hot day, even with the windows open, can suffer heat stroke.

After six months or when the child has a mass of about 9 kg and can sit unaided

The child should sit in a safety seat bolted to the chassis of the car. When shopping for a car safety seat look for the following features:

The seat should have the SABS stamp of approval.

Never use a car seat that only hooks over the seat or slides between seats. On impact it could act as a catapult or come loose.

The bucket style seat protects the head and body and because it is bolted to the chassis cannot come loose on impact.

The buckle should be easy for an adult to manipulate but not so large that it will hurt the child.

You should be able to fit two fingers under the harness when the child is in the seat. Adjust if necessary for thicker clothes.

The best position for the car seat is in the centre back or diagonally behind the driver so that you can stand on the pavement side when seating the child.

The seat should be high enough for the child to see out of the window.

A sheepskin cover is comfortable and stops the seat from becoming uncomfortably hot.

These car seats are suitable for use until the child is about four years old or has a mass of about 18 kg.

Never leave small children alone in the car, even for a minute.

Safety devices for children from four onwards or when they have a mass of more than 18 kg

The seat should have the SABS stamp of approval.

A lap belt that has a plastic-lined table which fits over it making a surface that the child can play on, is suitable for children between the ages of four and ten years or until they attain a mass of approximately 35 kg.

A safety harness like that of adults is also suitable. A firm cushion for the child to sit on will make her comfortable and help her to see out of the window when she is still small. However the cushion must have strong loops for the straps to pass through so that it cannot dislodge on impact as the safety belt would then be too loose and the strap would pass across her neck.

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