Cars are a dangerous necessity. They carry us from doctors’ appointments to grocery stores and allow us to travel distances that make our lives easier. Unfortunately, they’re not magical perfect machines that we can guarantee will keep our children safe. We must do everything we can to ensure that our kids will be unharmed even if the worst happens.
If you’re trying to figure out a way to make your car safer for your baby and yourself, here are the top tips for any parent.
Car seats can be confusing for new parents, especially since the change rules to some degree from year to year. Take the time to research which car seat is the best fit between your legal needs, your child’s comfort needs, and whatever other concerns you have. Avoid seats that convert automatically into a stroller because they often don’t do a great job at being either. Ensure the chair is attached securely and safely, and try to keep it as clean as possible. You don’t have to wash it every day, but running the pads and cover through the laundry once a week can make a big difference.
As a parent, you’re juggling many duties, primarily if you work outside of the home. The most important thing you can do to keep both yourself and your child safe is to keep your eyes on the road at all times. Set your phone somewhere you can’t reach it if it’s too much of a temptation- and eat while your car is parked instead of trying to eat and drive. It may seem difficult at first to force yourself to focus on a task with all of your energy: but your child deserves this. Pay attention to only the road, and keep both of you safe.
Nobody wants to imagine what would happen if you got into a car crash. Unfortunately, planning like this is necessary. Make a plan with someone close to you, so they know what to do if you get in a car accident and can’t respond. This plan should include any medical care you do or don’t want for your child, what hospitals you prefer, and a living will that can be referred to if anything happens to you. Hopefully, this plan will never have to come to fruition, but you must have a plan in place if it does.
Although the ‘baby on board!’ signs have fallen out of popularity, they serve a great function. They’re not there to hopefully ward off an accident or bring anyone’s attention to the fact that you have a kid: they’re there so that emergency personnel know to look out for your child.
If you get into a crash and the back seat’s view is obscured, these signs and stickers will let medical professionals know they have to act quickly to rescue your child. You can get them in any fun design you want, make sure the words are clear and legible, and that it’s placed in an area that will be noticeable to anyone approaching the car.
Most car accidents happen within five minutes of your home because that’s when people are most relaxed while driving. Every time you’re on the road, take the time to pay attention to the drivers around you. Look out for anyone avoiding using their turn signals, and don’t try to run through red lights just because you’re a couple of minutes late for something. This plan also relies on having good driving habits and following general rules like using your turn signal and not cutting people off in traffic.
A baby mirror is a smaller mirror you can attach to your interior rear-view mirror so you can look in on your child. Don’t allow this to distract your driving; just check from time to time to ensure your child is safe. If your child is safely buckled in and secured, there’s not much that can go wrong as long as you drive safely, but having this mirror will keep you from turning around and possibly taking your eyes off of the road.
As empowering as driving is, and as vital as it may be to modern life: it’s important to remember to be safe. You can’t stop every accident from happening. Sometimes, people have bad breaks, or someone turns without looking, but you have to be prepared for everything else. Parents want the best for their children, and the best way we can provide this is to ensure that we’re taking steps to keep them safe. Being smart on the road, and ensuring you follow a couple of safety steps, can be all you need to do your part.