Driving Safety Tips for New Parents
When you’re a new parent, it’s natural to want to make commuting time as safe as possible for your baby. While nothing can totally prepare you for the situations you’ll find yourself in with your little one, it’s a good idea to learn a few basic strategies for driving safely when your baby’s on board.
Plan Your Trips
If you’re one of the extra lucky parents, you may find that your child can fall into a blissful slumber in their car seat. If you’re just lucky, your child will fall asleep fast during only particular times of the day. Knowing your child’s sleep schedule and habits can help you plan the best time to take them on the road with you. Not only will your baby be happier to sleep through your errands, but you’ll also be a much safer driver when you don’t have a screaming baby you can’t immediately soothe behind you.
It can also help to plan enough time in your schedule to pull over at feeding times. While this is a no-brainer when you’ve got an infant, some new parents can fall into the productivity trap of attempting to spoon-feed their toddler lunch while driving. Not only is this inefficient, but it’s potentially dangerous.
One of the greatest hacks you’ll find for keeping your baby happy in the car is investing in a variety of tethers and straps. No, not for your baby. For their stuff.
Few things are as frustrating as having to unbuckle your seatbelt at a stoplight and desperately search for the pacifier they spit out and are now crying for. Keeping it attached to their car seat can make it easy to help them without pulling your attention off the car’s around you. The same goes for any toys you hope to occupy your baby with during the trip. If it’s attached to their car seat, they can’t get mad because they threw it on the floor and it didn’t magically reappear within reach.
Your ability to focus on the road instead of your child will likely be an issue whether you’re a new parent with an infant in the backseat or you’ve got a chatty second grader. Yes, your child will do and say some of the absolute cutest things ever when you’re trying to drive. Yes, you will want to observe every moment through the rearview mirror.
Avoid this temptation at all costs.
A quick glance in your rearview mirror to make sure your baby is okay after a jerky stop is perfectly reasonable. Gazing at how peaceful they look asleep in their car seat every few seconds isn’t. Ultimately, the main challenge for any new parent is to force themselves not to give their child all the attention they want because it’s not in their best interest to have a distracted parent behind the wheel.
Once your child reaches an age where they can follow basic rules, you can help them understand how their behavior could make car trips dangerous. Until then, you may have to develop the ability to tune out crying, fussing and temper tantrums in the backseat so that you can ensure you get where you’re going safely.