Safety Tips for Driving With a Baby
As September is National Baby Safety Month, we wanted to discuss several safety tips for driving in a car with a baby. Caring for young ones can be a stressful task. Whether it be a parent, caregiver, family member or friend, we want to make sure that whomever is transporting a baby takes all the necessary steps to keep our most fragile passengers safe. Driving with babies and infants can be extra daunting, especially as a first time caregiver. That is why we decided to compile an easy-to-read list of tips and suggestions that can help ease the stress of traveling with a baby.
Tip #1: Understand Your Specific Car Seat
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, using child safety seats reduces the risk of death in a car crash by 71 percent for infants. The first step to understanding car seat safety is to understand car seat regulations, including how long a child should remain rear-facing. A rear-facing car seat, as the name suggests, is one where the infant’s face is looking towards the rear of the vehicle. It is usually suggested that a baby should remain facing the rear till at least 2 years of age. Never place a baby in the front seat, especially if there are airbags. Airbags can be dangerous to a fragile baby in the event of an accident. Once you understand local regulations, you will want to choose a car seat that has a high safety rating and one that is federally approved. Make sure your car seat is set up for the age, weight and size appropriate for your baby. Read the car seat manual carefully, as well as your car's manual, to assure you have installed the car seat correctly. You will also want to make sure the car seat you choose fits well inside the make and model of your car. You can request to test the car seat model by installing it in your car before purchase. Be sure to register your car seat to stay up to date on any possible recalls. It is also recommended to not use used car seats or car seats that are older than 6 years.
Tip #2: Try to Avoid Physical Engagement with Baby
It might be tempting to want to quickly turn around to pick up a dropped toy, touch your baby, soothe a crying baby, or even to just make eye contact, but any type of physical engagement could put you and your baby at risk. It is best to situate your baby with car-safe toys that might possibly hang from the car seat. This could be a good way to keep baby entertained and prevent toys from falling down. However make sure the toy does not pose a choking or strangulation risk, and that it does not get in the way of the harness fitting properly.
Tip #3: Avoid Distractions
Picture this, you are on the highway and your baby begins screaming and crying. As the caregiver, you know this is a hunger cry. As tempting as it might be to try to get baby a bottle or snack ready, if it causes any sort of distraction to the driver it is unsafe and should be avoided. Instead, pre-plan for your trip with premade bottles and snacks. You can consider playing music and installing a mirror so you can see the baby and help ease your worries.
Tip #4: Get Your Baby Accustomed to the Car seat and the Car
It is recommended to acclimate your baby to the car seat by placing the baby in the car seat, with the straps secured while inside the home. Offer your baby things they enjoy such as toys, snacks and a bottle. This will help them associate positively to being strapped in the car seat. After this, you can begin placing the baby in the car seat that is installed in the car.
Getting baby adjusted to being in the car is helpful for when you start to move around with baby more often.
Tip #5: Map out your drive and pre-plan stops
You will want to familiarise yourself with your route and know where you can safely pull over and exit onto a safe area to give your child the attention they need if you need to. When a baby begins to scream and cry while the car is moving, it can be a stressful time for the driver. That is why knowing your way beforehand can help prevent accidents on the roadways. Also, keep in mind, that it is not recommended to pull on the side of the road.
Tip #6: Prepare baby before getting them in the car
To reduce the need to have to stop or pull over, it is recommended to make sure the baby's needs are met beforehand. We suggest feeding or nursing baby, putting them in comfortable clothing and changing diapers. A happy baby makes for a smoother drive, while an upset baby can be distracting and cause an accident.
Caring for a baby is a huge responsibility. We hope that this article can help you keep your baby safe while traveling in a car. Unfortunately, other drivers’ behavior is out of our control. If you were in an accident with a negligent driver, we can help. Call Robert Gluck at 877-Gluck-Law (877-458-2552) for a free case evaluation. His team is here to help you every step of the way.
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