Even the safest child car seat cannot provide an adequate level of safety if not selected correctly. Children are physically different, and their needs change with age. The car model is also an essential factor when choosing a child car seat, especially the rear seat angle. In today’s article, you will learn how serious the consequences of a poorly chosen child car seat can be. Remember that it is not worth the risk!
In an ill-fitting child seat, the child sits in a position that does not guarantee a favorable distribution of forces in the event of an accident. It is dangerous if the belts go over the child’s neck or stomach or if the headrest is at the wrong height. The child may also sink into the seat, have insufficient shoulder room, or even fall out during a sudden manoeuver. An ill-fitting model does not protect sufficiently against injury and may even contribute to the injury itself. Always choose a seat according to the age and weight of the child, and then check that it fits in the rear seat of your car. The tightness and positioning of the seat belts, the height of the headrest, and the seat angle are just some of the aspects you should pay attention to.
When choosing a child car seat, it is worth remembering that the child’s spine is not yet fully developed, and the head is much heavier than an adult’s. In a newborn baby, it accounts for about 25% of its body weight! If the child sits facing forward, in the case of sudden braking, the head is thrown forward with a speed close to that of the car. Undeveloped cartilage is susceptible to damage, and the neck cannot provide adequate support for a heavy head. This can lead to spinal injuries or even severe disability. So make sure you choose the right child seat for your child’s age and keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible.
An incorrect driving position is particularly dangerous for the youngest travellers, especially as they cannot yet tell that something is wrong. The body can bend too much in an ill-fitting car seat, causing the internal organs to press against the diaphragm. This makes it harder for your muscles to work and causes breathing problems and a feeling of fatigue. When sleeping in this position, especially if the seat angle is too low, the head often falls forward, which in extreme cases can even lead to suffocation. The problem of stomach contents flowing back into the esophagus is also exacerbated, and it poses a choking hazard. In a well-chosen child seat, the child’s pelvis, torso and head are in a straight line, which eliminates the head-drooping problem.
An ill-fitting car seat and frequent sitting in the wrong position can contribute to postural defects. The problem is severe in the case of newborns because, after birth, there is often a degree of asymmetry. This means that the baby is more comfortable in positions that put an unequal strain on the muscles on both sides of the body. The problem is usually not severe and will go away on its own with proper care. However, an ill-fitting car seat may exacerbate the asymmetry by allowing or even forcing the child to adopt a preferred position. Therefore, it is worth looking for properly shaped models which will correct the body’s positioning. It is also essential to match the child’s age and stage of development – the child should not be seated if it is not yet ready for this. Forced positioning in this way may cause the head to drop, incorrect placement of hips and legs and tilting to one side.
An ill-fitting child seat can be simply uncomfortable. Apart from the health issues described above, the discomfort usually means crying and a general reluctance to travel by car. Every parent knows that an unhappy child can turn even the best-planned trip into a nightmare. A properly fitted car seat means greater comfort not only for the child but also for its caregivers.
Avionaut car seats are designed in cooperation with a physiotherapist so that your child can travel safely and in the correct position. If you are in any doubt about choosing the right car seat, ask a specialist for help.