CTVNews.ca Staff Published Friday, October 10, 2014 2:07PM EDT
Prince William isn’t the only new parent who couldn’t get it right.
After Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge introduced newborn Prince George to the world outside St. Mary’s Hospital on July 23, 2013, the new father apparently did not secure the infant car properly in the black Range Rover before driving home.
Prince George was still swaddled while in the car seat, which is an error since it meant that the seat’s shoulder straps could not be placed around the baby’s arms correctly. Also, the straps were not tight enough to prevent the child from falling out. Thirdly, the car seat’s carrying handle was still upright, after the seat had been clipped into its back-seat base. Many manufacturers recommend the handle should be pushed down once the seat is in place.
A new study shows that nearly all new parents inadvertently put their newborn at risk for injury in a crash as they begin driving their newborns home due to mistakes they make when placing their infant into a car seat or installing the car seat in the vehicle.
The research – which will be presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition in San Diego – showed that 93 per cent of 267 families at the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital made at least one critical error in placing their infant into a car safety seat or when installing the safety seat into the vehicle.
“Car safety seats can be difficult to use correctly for many families, and we need to provide the resources and services they need to help ensure the safest possible travel for newborns and all children,” said lead author Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, professor of pediatrics and medical director of the Tom Sargent Children’s Safety Centre at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon.
“Car crashes kill more kids than any other cause…we need to move beyond the idea that we cannot afford to develop and support child passenger safety programs…we can’t afford not to,” Hoffman added.
The study participants were randomly selected from mother-infant pairs in the hospital’s mother-baby unit between November 2013 and May 2014. Infants who were born at less than 37 weeks’ gestation and those who stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit for more than four hours were not included in the study.
The research revealed the most common mistakes made new parents made included:
• 69% did not pull the harness tight enough
• 34% placed the retainer clip too low
• 20% of new parents in the study used after-market car sets which were not approved
• 18% cent positioned the harness too high
• 15% did not know how to adjust the harness
• 43% installed the car seat too loosely
• 36% positioned the angle of the car seat incorrectly
• 23% forgot to lock the safety belt
• 17% did not leave the correct amount of space between the car seat and the car’s front seat
The report also exposed that the families at increased risk to make one or more critical errors, were from a lower socioeconomic status, were less educated, were non-white, did not speak English, and were unmarried or without a partner.
On the other end of the spectrum, the research found that families who had worked with a certified car seat technician prior to the baby’s birth were 13 times more likely to position their baby correctly and install the car seat properly inside the car.
Royal baby: Did Prince William and Kate flub the newborn's car seat?