Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Car Seats

A car seat is one of the most important baby gear items that you will buy for your baby. There are a lot of options out there today with a range of prices and colors. When you have a preemie, you may have to purchase a special car seat that can accommodate a smaller baby. Most standard infant car seats today are made for babies that are 5 pounds to 22 pounds. If your baby is going to go home at less than 5 pounds than you need to buy a car seat that is built for babies that are 4 pounds or more. Even if your baby will weigh 5 pounds at discharge, you may still want to consider buying a smaller car seat because preemies are often still smaller than most babies and need the extra support. On the flip side, if your baby is going home at a regular baby weight than you don’t need to automatically buy a special seat just because they are a preemie. By the time our daughter came home she weighed 8 pounds and she fit just fine into our regular car seat. We did have to purchase a smaller car seat for our son because he came home at 4 ½ pounds.

When you look at car seats, bring a measuring tape. If your baby is small, than you will want to buy one that has a low shoulder harness position that is 8 inches or lower from the seat bottom to the lower harness strap. That usually means that the car seat will need to have at least 3 shoulder harness position options. You also want to make sure that the distance from the crotch strap to the seat back is less than 5 ½ inches so that there is less of a chance that your baby will slump forward.

Here is a list of car seats that accommodate babies that weigh 4 pounds or more:

Britax Companion – from four to 22 pounds
Chicco Keyfit 30 – from four to 30 pounds
Combi Connection – up to 22 pounds (no minimum weight)
Compass – from four to 22 pounds

Modifications – some hospitals will roll blankets to help your baby better fit into the car seat. They may put blanket rolls on both sides of your baby to provide support for the head and neck and/or a small rolled blanket between the crotch strap to further reduce the risk of slouching. There are commercially made inserts that can be purchased from medical supply companies.

Car Seat Test – Before your baby leaves the NICU, they will most likely go through a “car seat test.” The nurse will have you bring in your car seat and they will have your baby stay in it for a couple of hours to ensure that they don’t have any breathing issues while sitting in it. This is also a great time to make sure that your baby will fit properly into the car seat that you have purchased.

1 comment:

Jelly said...

Sometimes preemies have to go home in a laying down position and there are actually car bedds just for that, like this one "Angel Gurard" [url][/url]