4 Car Safety Tips for New Parents
Congratulations! After nine, long months of pregnancy, your new bundle of joy has entered the world safe and sound. But as new parents, you’re likely feeling a wide range of emotions, including excitement, exhaustion and a seemingly overwhelming urge to keep your infant as safe as possible.
While you might have gone around the house to “baby-proof” it — covering electrical outlets, putting household cleaners out of reach and adding padding to the corners of the coffee table — you may not have given your car the same attention.
But, as you’ll quickly find out, parents spend a lot of time in their vehicles, so it’s paramount you take the proper precautions to ensure your car is as safe as possible on the open road. Not sure where to start or how to go about it? Here are four safety tips for new parents like you.
1. Check Over Those Tires
Because you’ve been busy and anxiously awaiting the arrival of your new family member, chances are you might have fallen a bit behind on routine car maintenance. No worries, though, as there are a number of opportune times to get your vehicle checked over.
While your baby is napping, head out to your car and check to see if your tires are in good shape for all the appointments and errands you’re bound to run; after all, when you’re driving to the pediatrician’s office or trying to soothe your fussy newborn by driving around the neighborhood, you want them to be as comfortable as possible with a smooth ride.
Of course, you also don’t want to risk getting a flat tire or hydroplaning on wet roads due to bald tires. That’s where some nifty tools come in handy. While driving with your infant, make sure to always carry your smartphone, as well as a spare penny and quarter. By placing one of these coins in your tire treads, you’ll be able to determine whether they’re in good shape or need replacing. And if you find your tires have lost most of their tread, make sure to replace them as soon as possible.
2. Install a Back Seat Mirror
Your infant will be riding in a rear-facing car seat for some time, so why not mount a small, forward-facing mirror on the rear seat of your vehicle that’s angled at your baby? After all, it can be disconcerting when you’re driving and aren’t able to see if your loved one is sleeping or starting to fuss.
Thus, when you look in your rear-view mirror, you’ll be able to see your baby’s reflection and breathe a little easier knowing they’re safe, occupied with toys or fast asleep. Back seat mirrors are relatively cheap and can give you peace of mind when you’re on the road.
3. Resist the Urge to Give Your Baby a Bottle or Toys
As Mom365.com notes, in order to keep your baby as safe as possible in your car, avoid giving them a bottle or toys, or — as they get older — food. If a distracted driver rear ends you, toys and bottles can become projectiles capable of injuring other passengers.
Even though snacks can keep older babies happily occupied in the car, you don’t want your tot to start choking on crackers while you’re driving on the freeway at 70 mph with no good place to pull over. Ultimately, unless there’s someone else riding in the back seat with your kiddo, try not to hand your baby a bottle or food.
4. Ensure Your Car Seat is Snug and Secure
Here’s a free and simple lesson: Always take the proper safety precautions, even if they seem unnecessary. For example, when you put your infant into their car seat, make sure to double check that it’s still safely secured, especially if you routinely move the car seat back and forth between vehicles.
Experts say a secured car seat shouldn’t move more than an inch in any direction at its base. With that in mind, you’ll want to remove any bulky clothing on your baby before strapping them into their car seat and instead cover your infant with a blanket after getting them safely secured.
Have a Safe and Fun Time on the Road
In addition to taking your baby to various appointments and errands, many young infants simply enjoy the motion that comes with riding in a car. In other words, you’ll likely spend more time than you initially realized on the road with your baby. But by checking your tires, buying a back seat mirror to keep an eye on your baby and being vigilant about car seat safety, you and your new bundle of joy will spend many miles together safely driving around town.