Car-Proofing: Top 8 Ways to a More Baby-Friendly Car
So you’ve recently given birth to your first child, congratulations! Being a new parent comes with plenty of new responsibilities, one of which is the need to travel with your baby in the car. While this presents a lot of bonding opportunities for you and your newborn, it can turn out to be risky for your little one if you don’t equip your car with the right measures to ensure their safety.
A general check to ensure your baby can be safe, happy, and comfortable in your vehicle should start with a review of the car’s inherent safety features and make sure they’re operating optimally. From there, you can proceed to identifying potential hazards. Here are eight smart ways to guarantee your vehicle’s baby-friendliness.
1. Invest in a quality child seat
A child safety seat can keep your baby secure, making it an essential protective gear to keep her from harm during an accident. With a child seat, it’s possible for you to travel with your child without the aid of another adult supervising her. That said, you’ll need to purchase a child safety seat with all the latest and best safety features available. Systems such as LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) make it easy to install children’s car seats on your car. Confirm that the seat is in the appropriate size for your child, and that’s in the right specifications to fit inside your car.
2. Replace the car seat as necessary
This may come as a surprise, but children’s safety seats actually have an expiration date. Most seats have their date of expiration stamped on the manufacturer labels printed on the sides or the base of the car seat. If the car seat doesn’t have an expiration date listed, as a general rule, modern children’s seats typically have a six-year lifespan. If you plan to use the car seat for your second or third child in the future, make sure it hasn’t expired yet. And always replace a car seat after an accident, even if you can’t find any visible damage.
3. Maintain vehicle cleanliness
Clean not just the surfaces, but the nooks and crannies as well. Make sure there are no leftover food or trash anywhere in your car. Aside from keeping your infant from eating something that she shouldn’t, food and beverage spills can cause seatbelts and buckles to stick, which can be dangerous during emergencies.
4. Avoid overloading on accessories
Although you want to keep your baby entertained during travel, be careful not to put too much toys in her space. God forbid that a crash should happen, her toys could affect her seat’s ability to keep her safe. If she injures herself on a toy, you may soon find yourself too distracted to keep your eyes on the road as you simultaneously deal with driving and her panic.
5. Keep the sun’s rays out
You wouldn’t expose your baby out in the sun without sunblock, would you? Your baby needs the same level of protection while she’s in your car. Install UV-blocking window tint to reduce the risk of sunburn. If you don’t prefer tint, you can purchase stick-on sunshades as an alternative.
6. Use a second mirror
Having a second mirror allows you to see from two angles—one for the cars directly behind you, and one to keep an eye on your baby. If your bundle of joy is trying to get free from his seat or reaching out to door locks, you’ll have a clear view of what she’s doing, so you can take the necessary measures to ensure her safety.
7. Have your car inspected for safety
It wouldn’t hurt to have a certified technician go over your car’s safety features to confirm their functionality. As well, a certified technician can also tell you if you have your child’s car seat installed correctly. He may also offer you pointers on child locks and items in the car that may endanger your child.
8. Get better coverage
With your new baby, it’s a good time to review your auto insurance coverage. A good agent can help you determine if it’s sensible to change the deductible and liability limits on your policy now that you have a new member of the family. Follow your agent’s advice and renew your coverage if necessary.