When to Take the Newborn Insert Out of the Car Seat
What is a car seat newborn insert
Group 0 and Group 0+ car seats are designed to keep babies safe in the car from birth until they’re approximately 15 months old. They’re rearward-facing baby seats, but it’s also possible to buy combination seats that can be shifted to a forward-facing position as your baby gets older. You can read our complete guide to car seat groups and ages here.
Almost all group 0 and group 0+ car seats are fitted with a newborn insert. This is an extra bit of padding designed to keep your baby that little bit safer. It’s usually a cushion to go under your baby, with another cushion attached to hold your baby’s head in place.
What’s the Newborn Insert For?
Essentially, newborn babies can be a little too small to safely fit in a car seat. The newborn insert basically allows them to be as comfortable and safe as possible in the car in their first few months.
The cushion that goes under your baby makes it easier for you to securely fasten their harness. Meanwhile, the cushion that fits around your baby’s head is there to offer a bit more support and padding. Newborn babies are fragile, after all!
The cushion can also make it easier for your baby to lie in a more natural and comfortable position. Not only does this make them even safer, it also makes them more likely to fall asleep – which is probably exactly what you want your baby to do when they’re in the car.
When Can I Take the Newborn Insert Out of the Car Seat?
As a general rule of thumb, most newborn inserts can be removed once your baby’s five or six months old. But to be absolutely sure, check the seat’s manual. It should give clear guidelines for removing the newborn insert from your car seat. It will either specify an age or a weight.
The manual will also tell you how to correctly remove the newborn insert. This is important, as you don’t want to accidentally remove anything that you shouldn’t.
Before you know it, they’ll be able to fit in their car seat without the newborn insert. But it’s important that you don’t take the insert out too soon. Otherwise, your baby’s going to sit too low in the seat, which will mean that the harness won’t be as secure as it could be.
After you remove the newborn insert, be sure to check the seat’s harness again. Remember: For maximum safety and comfort, the harness straps should either be level with your baby’s shoulders, or just below them. If they’re not, you’ll have to re-adjust them.
My Seat Manual Doesn’t Specify an Age or Weight! When Shall I Take the Newborn Insert Out?
You’ll probably be able to tell when your baby’s ready. Maybe the head cushion doesn’t look comfy anymore. Maybe the harness is starting to feel a little tight, or a little harder to secure. Or maybe your baby cries all the way through every car journey – a sure sign that they’re uncomfortable and unhappy!
When your baby’s too big for their newborn insert, it’ll feel like they’re wedged into their seat. You might even find it a little harder to lift them out of their seat. In any case – when they’re ready, you’ll know.
Some car seats allow you to take out the cushion while leaving the head support in place. Some parents choose to do this, as they worry that, even if their baby’s too big for their newborn insert, their head will still need all the support it can get. But again, if the head support appears too tight, it’s not going to be very comfortable for your baby.
This is the sort of thing that’s going to be slightly different for all babies and all parents. But it should be clear once your baby’s ready to move on. And once they move on, they’ll probably find riding in your car far more comfortable anyway.
Car Insurance for Parents
We have car insurance policies specifically designed to meet the needs of parents.
For instance, if you have a child’s car seat fitted in your vehicle and you are involved in an accident, or if it is damaged following a fire or theft, we will pay towards the cost of a replacement seat. We’ll even do this if it doesn’t appear to be damaged. Head here for more information.