How Long Can Newborn Be In A Car Seat? (Car Seat Safety)

As a new parent, you probably know that keeping your baby safe at all times is crucial. Parents may be confused about how long their newborn can be in a car seat.

How Long Can Newborn Be In A Car Seat
How Long Can Newborn Be In A Car Seat

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that newborns and infants should not spend more than 2 hours at a time in a car seat. Prolonged periods in a car seat can increase newborns’ risk of breathing difficulties and oxygen deprivation. It is important to balance safety with comfort and provide frequent breaks during long car rides.

In the blog post, we will discuss the importance of adhering to car seat safety guidelines for newborns, the recommended time limit for keeping a newborn in a car seat, and ways to provide comfort and care during long car rides.

Understanding these recommendations can help keep your newborn safe and comfortable during travel.

How long can newborn be in a car seat?

Most car seat manufacturers recommend that a newborn remain in their car seat for no more than 2 hours at a time.

This protects the baby from potential health risks associated with sitting in one position for too long, such as developing a flat head syndrome or having restricted blood flow.

If you need to be on the road for longer, it is best to take breaks every 2 hours to allow your baby to get out of their car seat and move around. Stay tuned to discuss some more important issues.

The Importance of Car Seat Safety

Most parents know the importance of car seat safety for their newborn, but many are unsure how long their child can stay in a car seat. Instead, taking breaks every few hours is important to allow your baby to stretch and move around.

Here are some tips for keeping your newborn safe and comfortable while travelling in the car:

  1. Ensure your car seat is correctly installed and secured before setting off on your journey.
  2. Always strap your baby into their car seat using the 5-point harness.
  3. Dress your baby in loose, comfortable clothing to avoid getting too hot or uncomfortable while strapped to their seat.
  4. Bring plenty of snacks and drinks for you and your baby to keep energy levels up during long journeys.
  5. Plan by mapping out rest stops where you can take a break, change diapers, and feed your baby.
  6. 6. Take frequent breaks and allow your baby to stretch and move around safely away from the car.
  7. Ensure you are up-to-date on all safety checks regarding the car seat and replacing any expired parts or components.
  8. Never leave your baby unattended in the car, even just for a few minutes.

Car seat safety is essential for protecting your newborn during road trips and long journeys, so make sure that you follow the above steps to give them the best chance of staying comfy and secure while on the road.

Car Seat Guidelines for Newborns:

  1. Proper Installation: Car seats should always be installed in a rear-facing position and tightly secured to the car with either the vehicle seat belt or LATCH system. Read and follow your car seat’s instructions carefully for proper installation.
  2. Harness Straps: Ensure the harness straps are at or below shoulder level and snugly fit across your baby’s chest and hips. When tightened properly, the harness should not be loose enough for you to pinch any slack between your fingers.
  3. Car Seat Base: Secure the base of the car seat in a middle or back seating position to give your baby maximum protection from side collisions. If possible, avoid installing them in the front passenger seat, as airbags can cause serious injury if deployed while your baby is in their car seat.
  4. Infant Insert: For newborns, use an infant insert or pillow with the car seat for added support and comfort; remove as soon as your baby outgrows it in size and weight (usually after 2-6 months).
  5. Positioning: Be sure to adjust the recline angle of your child’s car seat so that it fits comfortably against the curve of their neck and spine while supporting their head and body.
  6. Accessories: Use covers, blankets, or other accessories with car seats to keep your baby warm while in the car; never put cushions, pillows, or other loose objects under the car seat straps.
  7. Limitations: Always check the car seat manufacturer’s weight and height limits to ensure your baby is at the highest weight and age-appropriate level for their safety.

Duration Limits for Newborns in Car Seats:

Most car seat manufacturers recommend that newborns stay in a rear-facing car seat for their first 2 years. After that, they can usually switch to a front-facing seat. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when making the switch:

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises newborns not to spend more than 2 hours in a car seat at a time. Prolonged periods in a car seat can increase newborns’ risk of breathing difficulties and oxygen deprivation.
  • It’s important to note that the 2-hour limit is a general guideline. Every baby is different, and their tolerance in a car seat may vary. Some newborns may become uncomfortable or agitated in a car seat sooner than 2 hours, while others may be more content for longer.
  • While the 2-hour limit provides a helpful guideline, taking breaks during long car rides is recommended. Plan for frequent stops to allow your newborn to stretch, feed, or have a diaper change. These breaks can help alleviate discomfort or restlessness experienced while in the car seat.
  • Additionally, it’s important to consider the purpose and duration of the car ride. If the journey is longer than a few hours, planning for an overnight stop or splitting the trip into multiple shorter segments to allow for extended breaks and more time outside of the car seat may be beneficial.
  • Always prioritize the safety and well-being of your newborn. If your baby shows signs of discomfort or distress, such as excessive crying, difficulty breathing, or changes in skin colour, it’s important to pull over and attend to their needs promptly.

Ensuring Safety and Comfort on Long Car Rides

Ensuring your newborn’s safety and comfort on long car rides requires preparation and special consideration. Here are a few tips to help make your next road trip a smooth one:

  • Correctly install the car seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This is critical for ensuring a safe ride.
  • Make sure the car seat is comfortable for your baby. A good way to test this is to put yourself in the seat and adjust the straps to be snug but not too tight.
  • Bring along plenty of snacks and drinks for both you and your baby. Long car rides can be draining, so staying hydrated and fed is important.
  • Plan for plenty of rest stops. You’ll need to take breaks to stretch your legs and allow your baby to move around and burn off some energy.
  • If possible, travel during the cooler hours of the day. This will help keep everyone comfortable, as it can get hot in a car during summertime travels. -If your baby is still too young to wear a seat belt, ensure someone is riding with you in the backseat to monitor them and help out as needed.
  • Do some research ahead of time on any suggested route changes or detours. This will give you extra time and flexibility for stops and sightseeing, ensuring a safe and enjoyable road trip for all!
How Soon Can a Newborn Travel Long Distance by Car?

How to Choose a Car Seat for Your Newborn?

If you have a newborn, you must choose a car seat to protect your baby in an accident. There are many different types of car seats on the market, so it is important to research them before purchasing. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a car seat for your newborn:

  1. Ensure the car seat is approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). You can find this information on the label of the car seat.
  2. Choose a car seat appropriate for your child’s weight and height. Again, you can find this information on the car seat’s label.
  3. Be sure to read all instructions carefully before installing the car seat. Many seats require special installation techniques, so it is important to follow all directions closely.
  4. Please have your child try out the car seat in the store before you buy it. This will ensure that they are comfortable in the seat and that it fits properly.
  5. Ensure all the padding and straps are in good condition and properly adjusted.
  6. Invest in a car seat certified for use until your baby reaches at least age 4, as it should last through multiple stages of growth.
  7. Ensure that you register your car seat with the manufacturer so you can be notified if there is ever a recall.
  8. Finally, replace your car seat every 6 to 8 years or as the manufacturer directs. This will help ensure your child remains safe during rides in the car!


There are a few things to consider when deciding how long to keep your newborn in a car seat, such as their weight, age, and health. You should also make sure that the car seat is appropriate for their size and that they are properly secured in the seat.

Talk to your doctor or another medical professional if you have questions or concerns about keeping your newborn in a car seat.

I hope that this information has been helpful in your decision-making process. Thanks for reading.

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