Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How to secure the baby in the safest possible way in the car

Babies from approx. 0 - 10 kg(9 months)

The picture on the left side shows a six hours old little baby boy in his rear facing car seat ready to leave the hospital.

I Norway today we have three legal alternatives:

  • Rear facing car seat
  • Boxette
  • Safety net, to use over a stroller bag.
Trygg Trafikk is clear in their recommendations rear facing car seat is the safest alternative. Trygg Trafikk's Swedish sister organization, NTF, says that one should only use a safety net if the child have a medical condition saying that they have to lie down in the car, all others should ride in a rear facing car seat. They recommend that people who considers safety net consults with their doctor first.

Research done by the Swedish research and insurance agency, Folksam, shows that the risk of severe or deadly injuries are substantially higher with the use of safety net than with a rear facing car seat. If one sholud be so unfortunate to have an overturn with the car then there is a large risk that the baby could fall out of the safety net.

When one uses the safety net, only the bag is fastend. The baby lies loose in the bag. One example can be seen in this crash test

The myth about the rear facing car seat is bad for the babys back

Some parents choose safety net or boxette when they are going for a long ride in the car because of this myth. It dosen't exist any documentation proving that rear facing car seats are bad for the babies back. One should take regularly brakes when on a long drive, that is good for adults and babies. Listen to the signals the baby is giving, a baby that experiences discomfort will in most cases cry, sob or scream.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Which rear facing car seats is available in Norway?

Rear facing car seats

The picture on the right side shows a little girl rear facing in a HTS BeSafe iZi Combi seat. The seat is mounted in a Ford Escort stationwagen 1993 mod. The girl is 15 months old, 81 cm long and weights 10 kg.

A lot of people believes that you have to have a rather large, new car to have enough room for a rear facing car seat. It is not so. In the Norwegian market to day it exists rear facing car seats which will fit into smaller cars such as for example: VW Polo, Nissan Micra, Mazda 121, 323 og Peugot 105 og 306. That means that there should be a possibility to find a rear facing seat that fits in your car, but it is important to try different seats to find the seat that fits perfect in your car. It is not a good idea to just go out and buy a car seat, it is important to try it in the car first.

Overview of rear facing car seats available in Norway(the infant seats are not included in this list):
  • Akta Graco Cosmic Comfort 0 - 25 kg, approved up till 18 kg in the backseat and 25 kg in the front seat(NB! It it not allowed to have a rear facing child in the front seat where there is an active airbag).
  • Akta Graco DuoLogic 0 - 18 kg, can be mounted with either isofix, 2 point seatbelt or 3 point seatbelt.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bent or crossed legs are not dangerous

Bent legs - no reason to
turn kids forward-

The picture to the right shows a six year old, 120 cm long boy rear-facing in a Britax Two Way Elite car safety seat. He likes sitting RF, he thinks it is nice to sit with support for the legs, instead of having them hanging in the loose air FF. He wants to sit that way because he knows thats the safest way for him to sit and besides he has a better view outside.

Many parents have the misconception that it is uncomfortable or dangerous to sit with the legs crossed or touching the back of the seat. It might be uncomfortable for an adult but not for a child, it is important to remember that a child is not a little adult.

Here is what the experts are saying about bent or crossed legs when rear-facing:

Medical Director at the Pediatric ICU in Ullevaal hospital, Tor Einar Calisch says in an interview with the newspaper Faedrelandsvennen:

For those of you who believe that the children are sitting uncomfortably in a rear-facing carseat, the medical director has this to say:

- In that age the children can sit crouching down over a longer period of time without problems. Children are also used to bent legs from the time they still were in they're mothers womb. That is not a problem. I addition parents can monitor there kids in the back by using a special mirror for rear-facing attatched to the headrest, says Calisch.
The picture to the left shows the same six year old, only in another seat. This seat is a Brio Zento, rear-facin up till 25 kg.

Trygg Trafikk has this to say about bent legs:

Bent legs are not dangerous!
Many parents are turning their child around to soon because they feel that the child is uncomfortable sitting with their legs bent in a rear-facing car safety seat. The child doesn't get hurt by setting with bent legs, and they usually they don't think it is uncomfortable either. In this situation as well as in all road trips, take regular breaks to stretch the legs and get some fresh air, that goes for every one in the car.

The Swedish research and insurance company Fölksam says:
What do you do when there is little room for the kids legs?
Safetywise there is no danger for the kid to sit with bent legs. it is very seldom that kids complain, but it is often we adults who thinks it looks uncomfortable. For example a child can sit crouching down over a longer period without any problems.

Volvo says:
That the kids might not be able to stretch their legs ha nothing to say for the security.

American Car Safety 4 Kids says:

Is it dangerous to have my child's legs bent and/or his feet touching the seat?

No, this is not a safety hazard. There are no documented reports of children breaking their legs or hips in a crash. However, there are countless cases of forward-facing children with spine or neck injuries. In a crash, a rear-facing child's legs will be thrown up and back away from the vehicle seat. It's important to note that children are very flexible and do not find riding this way uncomfortable. What looks cramped to an adult is fine for a child.

Amerikanske Car-Seat.org sier:
It is NOT considered a safety issue if a child's legs are bent at the knees in a rear-facing carseat, or if their feet can touch the vehicle's seat back.

Conclusion: Do not turn the child forward because of little legroom.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tips for children who suffer from motion sickness

Many parents turn their children forward-facing way to early because the child suffers from motion sickness. In a interview with the website Babyverden Medical Director at the Pediatric ICU in Ullevaal hospital, Tor Einar Calisch says that the motion sickness is rarely caused by the fact that the child is rear-facing.

Here are a few tips that might help against motion sickness:

  • Sea Band - it is a acupressure bracelet. Sea-Band can be bought at the pharmacy, these are said to have really good effect on motion sickness. They are made in sizes for children and adults.
  • Chiropractor - has your baby suffered from colic it is possible that the chiropractor might be able to help you cure(or make it better) the motion sickness. It can be worth a try even if the child hasn't had colic as a baby.
  • Check that the shock-absorbers isn't beginning to get worned out. It is said that children noticeses the vibrations from the shock-absorbers before the adults do, and that can make the children sick.
  • Lightening distractor fastened to the car, can be bought from for example gasstations for about 100 NOK.
  • Mirror in the backseat so that the child can see mum and dad.
  • ouMotion sickness tablets - there is several different types. Consult with your doctor or the pharmacy to find the type that suits your use.
  • Do not smoke before entering the car.
  • Do not smoke in the car.
  • DVD-player, make sure to buy one that can be properly secured. If it isn't properly secured it can fall down during a crash and do severe damage.
  • Do not put on to much clothes on the child.
  • Take breaks and get some fresh air.
  • Do not eat right before going for a ride in the car.
  • Do not eat sweets in the car.
  • Sing with your child-it is supposed to some effect on the transport of oxygen in the body.
  • A little piece of tape behind the right ear.
  • Occasionally open the window to let in some fresh air..
  • Bring a bottle of water so that the child has the possibility to drink water.
  • Some says that a little Coca Cola helps.

8 out of 10 kids is not well enough secured in the car

What is the best way to secure you're kids in the car?

The picture to the left shows a two year old boy in a Akta Graco DuoLogic car seat, RF up till 18 kg.

Way to many parents lacks information about how to secure their kids optimally in the car, this can be seen from the lates count done by Trygg Trafikk. The count was done in Sandvika and showed us that 8 out of 10 kids should have been in a rear-facing instead car seat instead of a forward facing car seat. Read more about the count HERE. Perhaps parents aren't good enough to search for information on this subject or perhaps they put to much trust in the person selling car safety seats, who might not know enough about what's recommended? Most parents want to secure their kids in the safest and best possible way, but sometimes as a parent you need help finding out what that is.

From May 2006 a new law about car safety for children was introduced in Norway. The rules apply to children up till 150 cm and under 36 kg.

Approved security equipment is divided into weight classes:

  • Group 0: 0 - 10 kg
  • Grup 0+: 0 - 13 kg
  • Group 1: 9 - 18 kg
  • Group 2: 15 - 25 kg
  • Group 3: 25 - 36 kg
Trygg Trafikk strongly recommend that kids stays rear-facing up till four years of age, if they can stay rear-facing even longer that is great!

Kids should stay rear-facing for as long as possible(preferably up till four years of age), when they have out grown their seat in weight or height they should switch to a booster seat. Kids can legally sit in a forward-facing seat from 9 kg, but that is NOT recommended. There are rear-facing safety car seats in the marked for kids up till 25 kg, if your child can sit rear-facing up till 25 kg before turning forward that is the absolute safest way for a child to ride in a car. It seems like only a few number of parents know these facts, because the majority of kids under four years in Norway sits forward-facing. On Trygg Trafikk's website it is written about the damage reducing effect of different safety systems. A rear-facing car safety seat has a 90-95% damage reducing effect, a forward-facing car safety seat has a damage reducing effect of 50-60%.

Earlier this year there has been published a test of different car safety seats here in Norway, Trygg Trafikk is telling consumers not to look at the diceyes the seats were given in the newspaper VG, instead they recommend consumers to read the entire test. The article can be found HERE.

In Sweden they have worked for many years to get the children to sit rear-facing up till four years of age, now almost every Swedish child sits rear-facing up till four years of age. There should be no reason why Norwegian children can't sit rear-facing up till the same age as the Swedish children does. Many parents turn they're kids forward because it looks uncomfortable the way they are sitting or because the kids are suffering from motion sickness, the truth is that it is not uncomfortable or dangerous for the kids to sit with they're legs bent or crossed, they don't get motionsickness more often because they are rear-facing either. If there is problems with space in the car, it shouldn't be a problem for one of the parents to sit in the backseat. Medical Director at the Pediatric ICU in Ullevaal hospital Tor Einar Calisch and professor in damage surgery Inggard Lereim is stressing the importance of rear-facing.

The picture to the left shows a two year old boy rear-facing in a Britax Two Way Elite seat, rear-facing up till 25 kg.

Here are a list of seats that are rear-facing up till 25 kg:
  • Britax Secura
  • Britax Hi-Way
  • Britax Freeway
  • Britax Two Way Elite
  • Brio Zento
  • MaxiCosi Mobi
  • Akta Graco Cosmic - The seat should be installed over the edge of the seat after the kid has reached 11 kg. Before buying it might be a good idea to check if it is enough room in the car for the after 11 kg installation, because it takes up some space in the car. The seat is approved for rear-facing in the backseat up till 18 kg, rear-facing in the front seat up till 25 kg.
Tip: When going out to buy a new car safety seat one should bring the car and try several different seats. Not all seats fits good in all cars.

A rear-facing gallery can be seen HERE, the oldest child in the gallery is six years old and 120 cm. That shows that in some cases it is possible to stay rear-facing for a long time.

Least but not last: When installing a car safety seat it is VERY important to read the manuals carefully! Car seats that are wrongly installed is unfortunately a common reason why children is unnecessary hurt in accidents. That goes for all types of car safety seats.

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