Intuitively, moms may assume they are extra careful about driving with an infant in the car. In fact, new moms are involved in car accidents at a higher rate than the general population. New moms can add these tips for minimizing distractions when driving with a newborn to the list of cautions for caring for their child.
A crying baby will grab a mom’s attention every time. After securing your child in a properly installed car seat, take a minute to remind yourself to remain calm before you start driving. Then, if the baby starts to cry and fuss, find a safe place to pull over. A spacious parking lot provides a place for you to safely stop, put the car in park, switch it off, and attend to your baby. It may take enduring a few minutes of bawling to find a safe spot, but it is much safer than trying to attend to your child while the car is moving. If your child is hungry, Milk Snob’s versatile baby seat covers double as nursing covers, offering you privacy and comfort wherever you are.
Resist the Temptation to Look
All babies who haven’t reached the appropriate height and weight will be riding with a rear-facing car seat. Feed, burp, and change the baby before you go. If you feel an urge to check on your baby, even if it is every fifteen minutes, pull over.
Stow Your Phone
Teenagers get a lot of blame for texting while driving—new moms should know better. Put the phone in the backseat. If you must stay connected, use a hands-free system, and pull over if you have to make or take a call.
Go Only When Absolutely Necessary
Before you put the baby in the car, ask yourself if your errand is truly necessary. Go easy on yourself. You might be able to order whatever it is you need for delivery rather than heading out for curbside pickup. Team up with your partner and, if an errand is essential, the person who is most rested should go while the baby and the non-driving parent stay home.
The day will come when we’re all driving more, and these tips for minimizing distractions when driving with a baby will serve as a checklist of reminders before you go. Child safety seat manufacturers and pediatricians recommend that parents observe the two-hour rule: Don’t keep a baby in a car seat for more than two hours out of any 24-hour period. Longer times in a car seat can put pressure on a baby’s developing spine and interfere with breathing, especially if the baby nods off with her head on her chest.