Baby’s First Ride Home
As a parent, there are so many exciting “firsts” to look forward to with your new baby – the first step, first word, first smile. But there is one first that can be overwhelming, and even a little scary—the first ride home from the hospital.
We have a long history of first rides home, as Britax has been a leader in child safety technology for more than 50 years. At Britax, we are committed to improving child safety through research, testing, design and community advocacy. We engineer all our products to meet U.S. and Canadian Standards and make significant investments in advanced technology, research and development
We never stop working to improve our products and technologies. We are happy to share our safety knowledge and experience with you to help that memorable first ride home run smoothly.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT INFANT CAR SEAT
An infant car seat is a rear facing only seat that can be used from newborn (check min weight & height) to the maximum height or weight as indicated on your seat. There are tons of options available, and it really comes down to finding the seat that fits into your lifestyle and keeps your baby protected on the go.
Here is what to look for when shopping for an infant car seat:
Easy and Safe Installation
Infant seats usually come with a base to install in your vehicle, making it easy to put the baby in safely every time. It is important to choose a seat you are comfortable and confident installing, so you will know your little one is as safe as can be. It never hurts to practice installing the seat before you make your decision.
Vehicles that are newer than 2002 will typically offer the option of installing the car seat using a LUAS (Lower Universal Anchor System) or LATCH system. On our Britax B-Safe Gen2, B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit and B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit+, we offer SafeCenter LUAS (LATCH), which makes it easy to tighten and secure the base in your vehicle. Simply click the LUAS onto the identified anchor points (see symbol) and pull nice and tight in the center.
Make sure that the base is properly installed, referring to your product user manual and car seat section of your vehicle owner’s manual. Once installed, try to move it side to side at the connection point. You should not be able to move it more than 1” left to right and front to back. If you don’t have the LUAS anchor points in your vehicle you can always use a seatbelt to install the seat. The B-Safe Gen2 line of infant car seats offers easy-to-use lock-offs on the base to ensure a tight install is achieved.
Read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the proper angle for your child’s seat. Recline is especially important for the younger child without head or neck control to maintain an open airway. Britax’s easy-adjust base and all-angle easy-read level indicators will also help you achieve the desired angle for a safe ride home with your newborn.
Comfort Features & Fabrics
You want to be sure your baby is comfortable while you are out exploring the world together. Look for a car seat with a large canopy to shield your child from the elements. Some car seats even come with performance fabrics that may have cooling properties or are easy to clean and body pad cushions for extra support and comfort. Be sure to check out Britax’s B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit and B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit+, which offers 2 layers of side impact protection in the head area.
Ease of Mobility
Having an infant seat designed for travel flexibility can be an important feature to many caregivers, particularly if you often find your self using taxis, Uber or Lyfts, or if you don’t own a vehicle or if you travel. Infant seats like the B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit and B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit+ infant car seats can be easily installed without the base by using the attached European Belt Guide on the back of the shell. A secure and easy install can be achieved thanks to the European Belt Guide and the vehicles seat belt so that you don’t have to lug around a base on your travels.
A travel system can also help parents get around with ease as they combine the safety of the infant car seat with the mobility of a stroller. Many strollers have attachments that make them compatible with your preferred infant car seat to create a customizable travel system. For example, the Britax B-Lively & B-Safe Gen2 Travel System allows you to easily click your infant car seat from the base in the car into the stroller and go about your day.
Also be sure to take into consideration the infant seat’s handlebar when thinking of mobility. Look for one that is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably on your forearm while you are out and about.
Above and Beyond Safety Features
In addition to the 2 layers of side impact protection offered on the Britax B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit and B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit+, the base of the Britax B-Safe Gen2 infant seats offer SafeCell Technology which acts as a crumple zone, helping to absorb crash energy and the high-strength steel frame, which reinforces the car seat’s base to help keep it stabilized. The Britax B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit+ also has a built-in anti-rebound bar, which helps reduce movement during a crash and provides parents that extra peace of mind on every trip.
PLACING THE SEAT IN THE CORRECT SPOT
Aside from installing the car seat correctly, you may also want to place it in the safest spot in your vehicle.
The rear center is often generally the safest location, however, vehicle seat contour and width of the vehicle seating position can sometimes prevent a secure installation.
It is also important to note that if you plan on installing the seat in the center with the LUAS (or LATCH), check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to be sure your vehicle offers this type of installation for the center seat (many do not).
If the center seat is not the ideal spot for your vehicle or car seat, the next best place to install it is behind the front passenger. You will never open up your child into traffic on this side of the car.
Install the car seat about 6-8 weeks before your due date to plan for unexpected surprises.
SAFELY PLACING YOUR BABY IN THE SEAT
You’ll also want to be sure you place your baby correctly into the seat.
The harness is the part of the seat that holds your child in securely. When properly snug, you should not be able to vertically pinch webbing at the child’s collar bone. If you can pinch webbing you will need to tighten the harness further to achieve the proper fit.
The chest clip is a pre-positioning component, which helps the keep the harness properly situated on your child’s shoulders. It should be done up around armpit level. The placement of the harness is important for keeping your child safe.
Be sure to adjust your harness height according to your child’s growth as needed. You will typically find either a re-thread harness like the one found on the Britax B-Safe Gen2, which offers a 4-position re-thread harness, or the Britax B-Safe FlexFit and B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit+ offers a 6-position NON-rethread harness, making it extremely easy to make height adjustments.
Even when you are not using the car seat in the vehicle, you should always make sure the harness is positioned properly and snug around your child.
Now that you’ve taken the time and done your research to choose the perfect car seat for that first ride home, you can sit back and enjoy every second of parenthood. We hope this guide has helped calm your nerves during this exciting time in your life.
Britax is a leading manufacturer of premium car seats, strollers and accessories. Britax intuitively designs, tests and builds all of its birth through harness-to-booster line of car seats in the U.S.A. using U.S. and global components.