A newborn holding hands with his/her mother/father

Driving with a newborn

5 minutes

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If it matters to you, it matters to us. That’s true for everyone – including new parents. 

There are plenty of things that new parents need to get to grips with once their newborn arrives. From swaddling techniques to interpreting the differences between each of their cries, it can be a tricky time. 

With so much to think about, we’d like to make those first few months of parenthood that little bit easier with this informative guide. Discover the top safety tips on how to keep your baby safe and secure when you’re on the road.

Make driving with your baby simple

  • Safety – make sure they are in the proper car seat for their weight and height
  • Clothing – make sure they’re not wearing a coat when you strap them in, put a blanket over the straps if you’re worried about them getting cold
  • Take breaks – if you’ve got a long trip ahead of you, schedule regular breaks to give you both some time out 

Infant car seat safety 

Having a newborn doesn’t mean you should have to worry about getting from A to B. Still, there are a few things to be aware of when driving with an infant, so here are some important guidelines to bear in mind: 

  • Infant passengers must be safely buckled into a height-based seat, also known as ‘i-Size’ seats.
  • Car seats must be rear-facing until your baby is aged 15 months or over. 
  • All child seats need to be securely fastened in with a diagonal strap.
  • Your child should either be seated in the far right or far left back seat. The only exceptions to this are seats specifically designed to be used with a lap seat belt or are fitted using ISOFIX anchor points. 
  • It's safest to use a car seat in the back of the vehicle. However, if you’re installing your car seat in the front passenger seat, the front airbags must be deactivated before fitting.  LV=’s comprehensive car insurance includes child car seat cover, so if your vehicle is involved in an accident, we’ll provide a full replacement of child car seats even if there’s no apparent damage. 

If you’d like to know anything more about car safety regulations when driving with an infant, you can find out more on the government’s website.

How to choose the right car seat

Having a car seat that fits your vehicle is essential. If you can, we’d recommend setting yours up before the baby is born. After all, you’ll probably need to drive your bundle of joy home from the hospital or birth centre. 

Shop around

Shop around to find the right car seat for your car and needs. A range of makes and models all fit slightly differently, meaning what worked for a friend won’t always be the best option for you. There will no doubt be a retailer near you who can help you find the right car seat and show you how to fit it. 

Practice fitting the car seat

Before the big day arrives, try having a few practice runs at fitting the car seat in your vehicle. This will let you know if your seat is the right one for your car and will help you feel more confident about installing the seat or taking it out once your baby is born. 

The safest way to get your baby into the car is always from the pavement side of the vehicle.

ISOFIX car seats

ISOFIX may sound complicated but it’s just an international standard and can make fitting a car seat even more straightforward. 

If you’re tempted by an ISOFIX car seat, then it’s worth checking to see if your car already has the right connectors built in. The ISOFIX system is designed to simplify the installation of baby and car seats, and most modern family cars are built with them in mind. If you’re not sure, try looking or feeling between the backrests and seats for the metal connectors – they’re probably hiding there. 

To check your car has ISOFIX connectors:

  • Check the car’s handbook or manufacturer’s website 
  • Look for ISOFIX labels and fittings at the back of your car’s backseat

Always buy a brand new car seat 

As a rule, you shouldn’t ever buy second-hand car seats. They may look fine on the surface, but the risks of using a previously owned seat that has been in an accident are too great. 

By investing in your own brand-new car seat, you’re guaranteed to get one that has all its parts and proper instructions on how to install and use it. Even if you find a second-hand option that fits your car and – to your knowledge – has barely been used, new is always better. 

The safest way to get your baby into the car is always from the pavement side of the vehicle.

How do I know when my baby outgrows their car seat? 

As your baby grows, your car seat should follow suit. There are different sized car seats for each stage of your child’s development, up to the point where they reach a height of 135cm and no longer need one. 

When buying a child car seat, you will either choose yours based on your baby’s weight or, if you opt for an i-Size seat, their height. When you upgrade from one size to another, it’s important to make sure it’s the right size for them to avoid injuries if you’re involved in a crash. 

Car seats are split into different categories, and a baby car seat (Group 0+) will likely be the first one you buy. These are smaller and lighter, as well as rear-facing. Group 0+ car seats are perfect for your newborn, but it’s important to know what the next step should be.

Once your baby grows and begins to start their exciting time as a toddler, they’ll likely move up to Group 1. These are seats specifically designed for this age group weighing anything between 9kg and 18kg. Typically, children will stay in this weight range between the ages of nine months and four years old. 

There’s no need to worry about driving with your baby or when to upgrade from a newborn car seat to something bigger. With all the information available, you can enjoy getting to grips with being a new parent – or at least focus on other things, like how to get them to sleep. 

For more ways to protect you and your loved ones, take a look at the different types of insurance we offer.

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