Is it safe for your child to eat in their car seat?

It’s no secret that the life of a parent is a busy one. School runs, nappy changes, strange sleep schedules, meal prep – you may often find yourself wondering if it’s possible to fit it all into 24 hours! With so much going on, it can be hard to find the time to sit down at the kitchen table and eat together. You may even be tempted to find ways to cut corners, like handing them a bit of snack to nibble on as you drive to the supermarket.

But is it really safe to let your child eat while you’re driving?

The short answer is NO.

And for many people that answer is enough – if it is deemed not safe, there will be no feeding in the car. However, we would like to dig a little bit deeper to make you and others understand why.

What are some the risks of feeding in the car?

  • The crash risk – it goes without saying that if you are trying to supervise your little one while they eat, you won’t be paying full attention to the road. This is naturally the number one risk of feeding in the car.
  • Increased risk of choking – it is recommended that we feed our little ones upright at a 90-degree angle to encourage safe swallowing. Most of the car seats do have a more angled recline than that, especially for the smallest travellers, increasing the likelihood of choking. Roads can also be bumpy and uneven making the risk of choking even greater, even for older children.
  • Undetected choking – it’s one issue if you spot the choking and have to find a way to help your little one, but in many cases a choking baby is completely silent.
  • Mess and crumbs – this is a nuisance in any environment, but it becomes a health and safety risk in the car. Crumbs can get stuck in locking mechanisms, and straps can get slippery, making the seat itself much less secure – particularly in an accident.

If you’re on a long trip, or in a situation where you have no choice but to feed on the go, try to find a safe place to stop, remove your little one from the car seat, and carefully supervise them until they’ve safely finished eating. Once baby is fed, you can get back on the road, comfortable in the knowledge that there’s much less risk to you and your family.

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