Driving with a baby in the car will feel different when you do it for the first time because you’ll realize just how important it is to keep that tiny person safe. One of the most important items to get for your baby's safety is a car seat. You won’t be able to leave the hospital or house without one, so this should be one of your top priorities when preparing to welcome a new baby into your life. Today, we’re providing a safety checklist to help you keep your baby safe when driving in the car.
Ensure Car Seat Safety
The car seat is an extremely important aspect of safety for young babies. So, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that your baby is comfortable in their car seat and that it has been properly installed. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind when checking your baby’s car seat for safety.
Check for proper installation
Installing the car seat properly is one of the most important steps you can take to keep your baby safe when driving in the car. Install the car seat and/or base well before your baby arrives so that you can have plenty of time to focus and without worrying about the installation. Follow the steps provided by your car seat’s user manual to be sure that you’ve done everything as instructed. If you have any uncertainty about how to install the car seat, you can likely find a local car seat expert who can come check the car seat for safety and even help with installation. Also make note that you may have to adjust some settings later on depending on your baby’s weight and growth.
Ensure proper head support for young babies
Newborn babies don’t yet have the proper muscles to hold their heads up. You’ll need to make sure that your car seat properly supports your baby’s head in the correct position. If you don’t feel like the car seat is offering enough support, you may need to purchase a head support device that can help keep your baby's head upright.
Strap your baby in properly
Always make sure that straps are snug but not too tight. If your car seat has a chest strap, ensure that it isn’t pressing on your baby’s neck but that it’s also not too low. Remove any bulky clothing such as coats and vests before strapping your baby into their car seat.
Install a Car Seat Mirror
A car seat mirror is a great way to easily keep an eye on your baby while driving. Car seat mirrors are simply mirrors that attach to the car’s headrest, face the baby, and therefore allow you to see their face by simply glancing in the rear view mirror. We recommend owning a car seat mirror so you can always make sure your baby is okay and so that they can make eye contact with you for comfort.
Secure Loose Items
If you’re driving in a larger car and you have any loose items such as a stroller or toys, we recommend keeping these objects securely strapped down or placed in the trunk. In the event of an accident, loose items could present a safety risk since they can move around and potentially hit you or your baby. Cargo nets and tethers are a great way to keep large items secure when driving. You can also store any smaller items in the glove compartment or center console.
Keep Pets Away From Your Baby
If you’re planning on driving with pets in the car with your baby, you’ll have to take some additional safety steps into consideration. Smaller pets should be kept contained in a crate for their safety as well as the baby’s. You may be able to install a pet barrier or dog seat belt for larger dogs who’s crates won’t fit in your vehicle. This can help keep them blocked off from your baby.
Always Pay Attention While Driving
By far one of the most important safety considerations (that is fully in your control) is to pay attention while driving and always drive defensively. By obeying traffic laws, ignoring your cell phone while driving, and paying attention to other drivers, you’ll be keeping yourself and your baby safe by potentially preventing and avoiding a car accident.
Additional Car Safety Tips for Babies
- Always double check that your child has actually been dropped off when taking them to daycare or a babysitter. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is possible to think you’ve dropped your child off when you actually haven’t, leading to them being left in the car. It is always worth it to double check.
- Never leave your baby alone in your car for any stretch of time.
- Keep an eye on the weight requirements of your car seat as your baby grows and be sure to adjust any settings as needed as your baby’s weight increases.
- Always keep your baby in a rear-facing car seat until at least the age of 2, or longer if possible.
- Pay attention to the way the sun is hitting your child in the car. If they’re getting a lot of sun while driving, do what you can to shade them. Most car seats have a sun cover you can use, and you can get a window cover to help keep them shaded as well.
Although car accidents are unfortunately common, you can take your baby’s car safety into your own hands. By being proactive and paying attention to certain safety risks, you can easily keep your baby safe and comfortable while driving in the car. It all starts with picking a safe car seat and installing it properly. Never let strapping your baby into the car become a mindless task; always pay attention to the tightness of the straps when getting your baby ready for a car ride. And finally, adjusting your own driving habits to represent absolute safety is one of the best ways to ensure that everyone in your vehicle is kept safe at all times.
The Pop N’ Go Playpen and Pop N’ Go Mini are helpful to have for playtime no matter where the day takes you. Plus, they are easy to take on the go and will easily fit in your trunk.