There’s nothing like the feeling of leaving the hospital for the first time with your new baby. The first time you buckle your bundle of joy into her car seat and drive home is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking moments in any new parent’s life. But there are ways to ensure your tiny tot’s first ride — and those that follow — are as safe as can be. Follow these suggestions to help make driving with baby on board a breeze.
- Install your car seat properly. An estimated seven out of 10 car seats are installed improperly, which drastically decreases their level of safety and protection. If you aren’t sure if you’ve installed your car seat properly, visit your local fire station or go to www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm to learn about other certified car-seat inspection locations in your area.
- Turn on child safety locks. While this may seem unnecessary for a two-day-old infant, your newborn will quickly become a curious baby. It’s better to be prepared and keep your child safety locks on from the beginning, before tiny hands start grasping door handles and opening car windows.
- Buy a backseat mirror. Because babies face the rear of the car, it is important to stay safe while keeping an eye on your backseat passenger. Instead of constantly turning around to keep watch, attach a mirror to the headrest of the seat that faces your child. That way, you can easily glance into your rearview mirror to see your baby’s smiling face without taking your eyes off the road for too long.
- Pack an emergency kit. You should have an emergency kit in the trunk of your car whether or not you are a parent. However, once you do bring home your first child, it becomes even more important to have certain items on hand in case you need them. These items can include formula, water, baby food, diapers and wipes, a change of clothes and an extra blanket.
- Put up a sun shade. Not only do sun shades block the sun from your baby’s sensitive eyes, but also they help to keep the car cool when it’s hot outside. You might consider installing a small shade on the baby’s window, or putting up a large one on the dashboard if you’ll be parked for a while.
- Take advantage of technology. There are many different types of technology that can be of service to you while toting little ones around. Whether it’s a GPS, an emergency alert system (such as OnStar) or hands-free cell phone accessory (such as Bluetooth), technology can save time and keep you safe when you’re out and about.
Driving with a baby on board doesn’t have to be a daunting task for new moms and dads. Be prepared and follow these car safety tips to protect your newest (and cutest!) prized possession.
Author: Micah Moon