If you’re a parent of a toddler or newborn, you’ll know how important it is to keep your child safe at all times. At such a tender age, children are so vulnerable and accident-prone which makes it that much more important that parents pay close attention to child safety, especially when it comes to travelling in a car with your little one. Keeping your baby safe in the car while driving is one of the most important things to pay attention to and in today’s article, we bring you 6 incredibly helpful tips that will allow you to ensure that your baby is kept as safe as they can be in your vehicle, so read on to find out more!
- Find The Appropriate Car Seat
When it comes to the world of car seats, you may find the number of options available to you just a little overwhelming. In order to ensure your child’s safety, choosing a car seat that is appropriate to their age, weight and height is incredibly important. As a general rule of thumb, always try a car seat before purchasing it in order to ensure that your child fits into it comfortably. A common option that you will be able to find at most stores are baby car seats for ages 0-4 years. It is also important that you ensure the seat fits in your car properly and that your baby can be securely strapped into it at all times.
Equally as important as a good car seat is also your booster. It is important that you keep the same child restraint/booster seat until your baby reaches maximum shoulder height limits. Failing to do so may result in your baby not being protected properly in the unfortunate event of a crash or accident.
- A Strict No Mobile Phone Policy
You probably already know that using your mobile phone whilst driving is illegal and can get you into some really hot water. This fact is further strengthened if you are driving with a baby in a car. Mobile phones can prove to be a huge distraction when driving, especially if you also have a crying baby in the back seat. If you need to use your phone for GPS directions, it is important that you activate voice direction and also keep your phone secured to its holder on the dashboard. You should never hold your phone or keep it in your lap as this may distract you from keeping your eyes on the road ahead of you and could even potentially lead to dangerous mistakes or accidents on the road.
- Never Leave Your Baby Unattended
You probably already know this, but we’ll stress it again — never leave your baby alone in your car. Although this is a known fact, studies have shown that up to 8% of parents have admitted to leaving their little one in the car unattended to run a quick errand. Even a few minutes alone in the car can prove to be fatal for babies due to their inability to regulate their own body temperature. In a car, a baby’s temperature can plummet on a cold winter day or quickly rise to deadly levels on a hot and sunny day.
If you’re someone who is forgetful or absent-minded (as parents can be with the number of responsibilities they juggle on a daily basis), it can be helpful to leave your phone or backpack/handbag in the back seat next to your car seat. This way, you will never accidentally leave your baby in the car.
- A Food-Free Zone
As tempting as it may be to give your baby a little snack to keep them quiet for the duration of your ride, we highly recommend making the car a food-free zone. This is because food can potentially become a choking hazard, especially when your eyes are on the road and not on your baby. Unless somebody is riding in the back seat with your baby, we highly recommend keeping snacks or mealtime to before/after your car ride.
- Remove Potential Hazards
When it comes to keeping your baby safe, it is important that you remove any potential hazards from your back seat. This could range from anything such as seemingly innocent library books, blankets or toys to things that are more obviously dangerous such as tools, sporting or gym gear. Keeping your backseat free of these hazards is a great way to ensure that nothing comes flying at your little one should you need to unexpectedly put the breaks on. Something as inconspicuous as a water bottle could prove to cause a great deal of harm if catapulted towards your baby in an unexpected situation, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Face Your Child In The Right Direction
As tempting as it may be to have your child facing towards you while you are driving, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that you keep your little one rear-facing until they reach the maximum height and weight requirements for a convertible seat. This can range from anywhere between 3-5 years old depending on the growth rate of your baby.
Why all the fuss? Well, many studies have proven that a rear-facing car seat absorbs the most amount of force and is the best way to support a baby’s head, neck and spine. When babies ride forward-facing, their disproportionately large and heavy heads are often forward, possibly resulting in neck, spine and head injuries. Save yourself the worry and pain by opting for a rear-facing seat.
While the chances of you getting into a car crash or accident are low, following these tips is the best way to ensure that you and your baby are kept as safe as possible while you are driving. We hope that this article has given you a few new tips and ideas that you can implement into your baby’s car safety routine.