Travel

10 Ways to Make Driving With a Baby Safe and Comfortable

A recent survey by Safe Kids Worldwide discovered what every new mom already knows—mothers don’t get enough sleep. Many mothers surveyed said they get less than five and a half hours of nightly sleep. The lack of sleep for mothers is more than a frustration or inconvenience. The survey finds that over 30 percent of moms have driven with their babies when they felt too tired.

One of the most significant findings is that about 10 percent of mothers reported driving with a baby and having an accident. When too little sleep for mothers results in a higher-than-average accident rate, it’s a serious safety concern for the entire family.

Top Safety Precautions When Driving With a Baby

Perhaps the single best advice to drive safely with kids is to never drive when you haven’t had enough sleep. We can’t help you with the sleep challenges, but we can help you travel more safely with field-tested tips for keeping everyone safe.

1. Start With the Car Seat

The right car seat should be designed for your baby’s weight and height and installed correctly. Kids should always travel in the rear seat, and car seats should be secured in the center. Newborns travel best in the familiar bucket car seat that converts to a carrier. Getting them in and out of the car is more manageable, and carrying them safely is super convenient. Another popular choice for car seats is a 3-in-1 design rated for babies and toddlers. These convertible seats are ideal for fitting multiple kids in car seats and can be reused with siblings.

2. Make Your Baby Comfortable

Many parents can go overboard when it comes to cold weather gear like sweaters and jackets. Yes, you want your baby to be warm, but bulky clothes can hinder the all-important safety buckles. Those extra layers can also make kids too warm and uncomfortable pretty quickly. Dress your baby in light clothing and bring along a blanket to keep the chill off.

3. Keep Your Baby Pacified

Think about it. Your baby is trapped in their car seat and can’t do much about it. Babies get bored, uncomfortable, and frustrated in the best of circumstances, but being strapped in can be too much! Bring a couple of favorite toys and tether them to the car seat along with a pacifier. Your baby will stay busier and feel less frustrated when they can grab a stuffed toy or paci, and you avoid the inevitable drops.

4. Pack a Traveling Bag

A traveling bag packed with essentials like diapers, wipes, a thermometer, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are a must-have. Store the travel bag so you can easily retrieve it when driving with a baby for convenience and safety. When traveling a long distance and your baby takes a bottle, opt for a cooler bag that can also store the rest of your essential gear.

5. Use Sunshades

During longer trips, it’s a good bet your baby will fall asleep in their car seat, which can be a good thing (but not too long)! But nap time may have to wait when your baby is distracted by passing attractions and sunlight. Help your baby avoid distractions and fall asleep faster when you install sunshades next to your baby’s car seat. Sunshades are easy to install and inexpensive, so you can go all out and darken both windows.

6. Keep it Fun

Older kids and adults can help entertain your baby when stationed in the back seat. Bring a few age-appropriate traveling games or enjoy a family favorite to keep everyone occupied and content. Favorite books, educational toys, and a few of the kids’ favorite tunes are other entertainment sources you can use. Before your trip, load up a playlist with kids’ songs and fun family tunes for sing-alongs and general distractions!

7. Travel With Snacks and Drinks

Feed your kids, especially nursing babies, before heading out, or you can count on unscheduled stops. Even when well-fed, kids can get hungry fast and even faster when bored. Keep the trip on schedule and the family calm by bringing snacks and drinks. If traveling with another adult or older child, they can easily hop in the back and spoon baby food or cereal. Toddlers and older kids can fend for themselves, but you can decide what they get! You’ll need to bring some favorite snacks to keep everyone happy, so divvy them into cups or bags for healthy portions.

8. Know When to Say “When”

Your baby nodding off in their car seat can be a nice break, but don’t let them sleep too long. Recent research on car seats shows that keeping a baby in their car seat for more than a couple of hours is unhealthy. Studies show that being strapped in a car seat for more than two hours can restrict airflow and strain a baby’s developing spine. Give everyone the break they need by adopting a two-hour rule for kids in car seats.

9. Keep Your Focus

Lack of sleep, fussy kids, and traffic are enough distractions to make keeping eyes on the road challenging. Smartphones are often the most common distraction for drivers without hands-free technology. Talking or texting while driving is dangerous because it distracts drivers and divides their attention. Ideally, it would help if you skipped talking or texting, but implementing innovative technology for voice-activated calls is a safer option. What you do about the fussy kids is up to you!

10. Prepare for the Unknown

Most parents learn quickly to be ready for the unexpected. But a lot more can go wrong when you’re on the road. Driving safely with kids means being prepared for roadside emergencies and other mishaps. Always bring a first-aid kit for scrapes and cuts and gear to change a flat tire. Other essentials include an empty gas can, flashlight, and jumper cables. Check and then double-check your gear before leaving for long trips.

Conclusion

When driving with a baby, parents need as few distractions as possible. Use these handy tips to keep the kids happy and your eyes on the road.

Shane Vossough is the finance Director and General Manager at Car Time Supercenter since 2012. He works closely with lenders in Arizona, as well as national banks to ensure customers are offered the best finance options possible.

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