When you’re driving, it’s always important to take extreme caution. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and they are often preventable. However, the added pressure of driving your baby—arguably the most precious cargo of all—only doubles the importance of being cautious. Aside from slapping a “Baby on Board” sticker on your back windshield or bumper, here are nine ways to stay safe while driving your baby.
1. Have the Right Car Seat
Make sure your baby is in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least one. This will support their head and neck. It’s also best to get this car seat before the child arrives so that you can be ready from day one.
2. Secure Loose Toys
Buckle up your child’s toys so that they don’t come loose and create an unnecessary hissy fit if your baby can no longer reach them. Buckling up their favorite toys can also help instill in them early the importance of wearing a seatbelt whenever you’re in a car.
3. No Texting and Driving
This is a cardinal rule of driving no matter what—or who—you are driving. Do not text and drive. It’s also best to avoid calling or using your phone at all while driving your baby.
4. Get Feeding and Changing Out of the Way First
The last thing you want to do when driving is to have to pull over and deal with a dirty diaper or a snack. Get these tasks out of the way to reduce fussiness, distractions, and upset babies.
5. Drive Defensively
Driving defensively—not aggressively—is even more important when you have your baby with you. Stay safe, stay vigilant, and go slow.
6. Protect Your Child’s Skin and Eyes From the Sun
Consider buying a sunshade to keep the harsh rays off of your baby’s skin and out of their eyes. This can cut down any time they spend fussing, which will reduce distraction for you.
7. Stay Alert
This should go without saying, but avoid drowsy driving. This is a good rule of thumb when driving anyone, or even just yourself.
8. Install a Backseat Mirror
Installing a backseat mirror will allow you to take quick and needful glances at your child while maintaining focus on the road.
9. Don’t Drive Alone
One of the best ways to stay safe with your baby on the road is by driving with your partner, spouse, older child, or friend. These driving buddies can take care of your baby if needed so you can focus on driving.
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