The arrival of a new baby can be a joyous experience, but it also comes with tons of new responsibilities. One such responsibility is ensuring the safe transportation of the baby by preparing your vehicle for them. Besides getting the appropriate car seat, there are many other details to work out so your little one can travel safely and comfortably with you. Here are some crucial factors to consider when getting your car ready for a new baby.
Cleanliness and Hazards
First and foremost, you must ensure that your car is in a safe and drivable condition so you can use it to transport your child. It’s also a good idea to check your air conditioning and heating systems to avoid making your child uncomfortable, particularly on longer trips. If your vehicle doesn’t have a child lock system, it’s imperative that you look into installing one. Even if you don’t need it right away, it will definitely come in handy later.
Inspect the upholstery for any wear and tear and small items that can represent a choking hazard. Remove anything the baby can reach with their hands and clean the entire interior of your vehicle shortly before the child’s arrival.
For a newborn, the safest car seat option is the one designed for children from 0 to 15 months old or up to 28 pounds in weight. Besides being compatible with your vehicle and child’s age or weight, the car seat should incorporate high-quality materials, particularly when it comes to its base, seatbelt, and plug. Feel free to take your time to research different options until you find the right one.
Check the car seat laws in your state of residence before installing the seat to ensure that you are in compliance with all the requirements. If you are allowed to install a rear-facing seat in the front, deactivate the passenger airbag first. The seat’s back support should have a 45-degree reclining angle.
Protection from the Sun
A newborn’s eyes are very sensitive to light, so you want to protect them from direct sunlight. Plus, during the summer, the temperatures inside a car can get very high, which can also be dangerous for babies, as they can’t regulate their body temperature by sweating as adults do. And while it’s safe to use air conditioning around babies, you can’t blast them with cold air after entering a hot vehicle. Installing window shades next to their seat could solve both of these problems as they won’t let sunlight in, and the temperature inside the vehicle won’t get too high.
As a parent of a new baby, being able to keep an eye on your child while driving will be one of your top priorities. Since turning your head around every few minutes to check on them isn’t the safest thing to do when driving, the next best thing you can do is to install a baby mirror. Get a mirror you can easily remove and clip back in another place, depending on your child’s position in the car. If they are traveling in a front-facing seat, place the mirror next to the rearview mirror. If they are in a rear-facing seat, place the mirror onto the headrest on the seat facing the baby.
Other Essential Items
Apart from the main items for ensuring your baby’s comfort and safety, you should also compile a list of things that can come in handy when traveling with a small child. As a new parent, getting out of the house will be challenging enough, so you want to ensure you have everything you need in the car once you are out.
Some of the essential things in a baby kit include wipes, blankets, changing mats, nappies, and even a spare change of clothes for you and the baby. Of course, the full list of items you include in this baby kit will depend on your preferences – which is one more reason to prepare it well ahead of time. Make sure to do your research on the items you may need to make your trips with your little one safer and hassle-free.
While preparing a car for a newborn can be a challenging task for any new parent, with careful planning and by following the tips from this article, you can have everything ready by the time the little one arrives. Remember, the key elements you need are the car seat, a baby mirror, and protection from the sun. The smaller miscellaneous items may vary depending on your preferences, but you want to have a general idea of which ones you might need. Above all, you must regularly inspect your car to identify and remove hazards that could put your baby’s life or your life in danger while traveling in the car.