Your baby can only be left in a car seat for a maximum of 2 hours. However, if your baby is just an infant and under 4 weeks old, the maximum time they should stay in a car seat is under 30 minutes.
As moms, it is our priority to keep our children safe. It is also our responsibility to guarantee that our infant is constantly comfortable. That’s why most car manufacturers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggest that your baby must not exceed 2 hours in a car seat, for it might cause discomfort, poor blood circulation, and oxygen deprivation.
If you have a very long drive, it is crucial to take some breaks. While on break, take your baby out of the car seat for some fresh air.
If you enjoy traveling with your kid, this article is a must-read. It will walk you through the 2-hour car seat regulation, how long a baby should stay in a car seat and everything you need to know about driving with an infant.
How Long Can a 6-Month-Old Be in A Car Seat?
No specific regulation about how long a baby can stay in a car safety seat during travel. However, most car manufacturers recommend that parents should follow the 2-hour rule. This rule is especially important if your infant is only 6 months old. This will keep your child comfortable during your trips.
If your baby has yet to reach 6 months old, the time they stay in a car safety seat must be shorter. If your baby is just a few weeks old, avoiding taking medium to long-distance trips until they are at least 3-6 months old is better.
The 2-Hour Car Seat Rule
According to the Lullaby Trust, the UK charity organization whose aim is to prevent accidental infant deaths, many car manufacturers and safety experts suggest that a baby not be left in a car safety seat for more than 2 hours in 24 hours.
This is why car seats are not an ideal sleeping place for your infant, according to the National Childbirth Trust, UK’s leading charity for parents. Leaving them in a car seat for over 2 hours can cause great discomfort. Aside from that, Michelle Clark, a Neonatal Unit sister, spent two years researching this subject. Her study found that babies can experience respiratory and breathing problems when left in a car seat for periods exceeding two hours. Extended periods in a car seat could also cause tension in your baby’s still-developing spine.
If you intend to take long trips with your infant, plan ahead and prepare everything you and your baby may need. It is also best to take frequent rests while traveling.
In addition, to ensure that your child is safe and comfortable during a trip, it is important to know what car safety seat to use for your baby. We have written an article to help you decide which car safety seat to use for your baby.
What Age Does the 2-Hour Car Seat Rule End?
There are no specifications for where this 2-hour rule ends. It usually depends on the physical development of your baby. It is best to consult your baby’s pediatrician for some advice if bringing your baby out for a long drive is okay.
However, experts generally think that if your child is over 6 months old, it is safe to travel for more than 2 hours. But it is vital to take regular and frequent stops to ensure you and your baby have enough rest and energy to continue your trip.
Newborn Car Seat Time Limit
If your baby is in their first four weeks, limiting their stay in a car seat to a maximum of 30 minutes is best. In 2016, a Lullaby Trust-funded research concluded that when newborns or preterm newborns sat in a vehicle seat for more than 30 minutes, their heart and breathing rates rose, and their blood oxygen levels were lower than when they slept flat in a crib.
If your kid is still a newborn, you should not hesitate to put them in a car seat. After all, it is required by law. Furthermore, babies in car seats are much safer. If your travel time is more than 30 minutes, you can always bring a buddy to watch your infant.
Is Driving with Your Newborn in A Car Seat for 8 Hours Safe?
As advised by most experts, you should not drive for 8 hours with a newborn. Putting your newborn in a car seat for 30 minutes and more is not advisable. They could experience different types of discomfort, and it is not the safest place for your baby to fall asleep.
However, if this trip is crucial and you can’t leave your baby, here are the steps you must take before leaving:
Prepare the Trip Beforehand
You must come prepared before bringing your baby on a long and exhausting trip. Newborns can be demanding. They require a great deal of attention, care, and milk. So, if you’re driving, prepare some breast milk on hand so your kid doesn’t cry from hunger during the ride.
You could also bring some stuffed animals to let them enjoy the time in the car. And don’t forget the diapers!
Check Your Baby’s Car Seat
Inspect if your car seat is installed correctly before putting your child in it. For first-time moms, if it is your first time using and installing a car seat, you must ensure it is installed safely and correctly. Check out the video below,
Take Regular Breaks
Even adults can feel significant discomfort during a long drive, especially if they fall asleep. It is essential for you and your infant to take frequent breaks and go off the road every 1-2 hours to stretch, relieve some motion sickness, and breathe fresh air.
Have a companion to watch your baby
If you’re going on a lengthy trip, have someone sit in the backseat to keep an eye on your child. It is dangerous to keep your newborn infant alone in his car seat for more than 30 minutes, for he may have respiratory or blood pressure issues, which could lead to serious complications.
As moms, we understand how wonderful and exciting organizing a trip with your child is. Nonetheless, as much as we want the world to see our babies’ cute little faces, feet, and hands, their safety is our top priority.
Nonetheless, if your child has not yet reached 6 months, limiting their time in a car seat between 30 minutes and 2 hours with frequent stops is ideal. A child’s prolonged stay in a car seat can offer various risks, such as difficulty breathing and blood pressure difficulties.
No matter how excited we are to travel with our babies, we must always remember that everything takes time. Cherish when they are this small—we can still carry them and expressively care for them. They will be the ones driving for us one day. Let us not rush to take children on unnecessary journeys that could endanger them.
If you found value in this article, leave a comment below. Know someone that could benefit from it? Why not share it?