There’s nothing quite as harrowing as the drive home from the hospital after you’ve had a baby. Here is this delicate little life force that you’re about to put into a metal encasement that’s capable of easily going 80+ miles per hour down the road with other cars speeding all around you.
Traveling with children is never as easy as seems no matter how short the drive may be, and infants add a few more concerns for new parents. Get home safely with these driving tips!
Get Adequate Auto Insurance
Long before labor begins it’s a good idea to take a look at your auto insurance. Does it offer comprehensive coverage? What is the bodily injury liability limit? How high is the deductible? Now that you have another person to take care of you’ll want to make sure you aren’t on the hook for accident-related costs.
If your driving record was less than clean before you became a parent, you may need to look for SR22 auto insurance quotes. Drivers that were found to have inadequate insurance, a previously revoked license, past DUI or numerous tickets may be required to have this type of policy.
Research Car Seats
These days you can’t leave the hospital with a newborn baby unless you have a car seat to put them in. However, that doesn’t mean any old car seat will do for your precious baby.
New regulations that have expanded the use of car seats mean there are more options for kids of all ages and sizes. You’ll need to do a fair amount of research beforehand to find a car seat that is suitable for a newborn, can adjust as your baby grows and fits easily inside your vehicle. Once you find the perfect car seat, register it with the manufacturer so you’ll get a notification immediately if there’s a recall.
It’s tempting to save money by buying a used car seat, but this could be a dangerous mistake. Unless you know the complete crash history, you can’t be sure that everything on the inside is functioning normally.
Install Car Seats for Maximum Safety
All newborns should be in a rear-facing position and tightly strapped in. If you can wiggle it more than an inch the straps need to be tighter. Check to make sure the seat belts don’t have any twists or kinks and are coming out of the correct slots. The belts should fit snuggly and the chest clip should be at armpit level.
If you’re worried about doing this on your own you can get a certified child passenger safety technician to inspect the seat and how it’s installed. SafeKids.org also hosts car seat events throughout the year that are free to attend.
Never Drive Drowsy
The dangers of drowsy driving have been a topic of discussion recently, and new parents are among the most affected. A State of New York safety guide points out that parents with newborns are often sleep deprived and that can make driving risky. Studies have shown that drowsy driving is just as unsafe as drunk driving.
Play it safe and don’t get behind the wheel if you are experiencing symptoms of exhaustion like:
· Not being able to focus
· Not being able to keep your eyes open
· Having difficulty keeping your head up
· Yawning frequently
· Experiencing disconnected thoughts
Make the Driver’s Seat a Device-Free Zone
The growing use of cell phones has increased the number of accidents on the road. Today, nearly a third of crashes are caused by drivers who are distracted by their phones.
Make a pledge to put the phone away while you’re driving. Go old school and look up the directions before you head out the door or have an adult passenger help you navigate. If you know you’ll be tempted to look at texts and calls while you’re driving install an app like LifeSaver that will automatically lock your phone during the drive.
Minimize Crying With the Right Seating Setup
A crying baby is another big distraction that can cause a car accident. You can’t always keep your baby from wailing away in the backseat, but a few tools can help reduce the risk.
Invest in a baby view mirror so you can see what’s going on, several pacifier clips so they don’t go lost and toy tethers that keep entertainment within reach.
Always Wear Your Seat Belt
There are two very important reasons parents should always wear their seat belts. For starters, it sets a good example for kids and will encourage them to always wear a safety belt. Secondly, it will protect you from injury during an accident so you can attend to your child. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re significantly injured and there’s no other adult with you to look after your baby.