Car (and Car Seat) Safety Tips for New Parents

Even if you’ve been driving for decades, hitting the road is a whole new ballgame when there’s a new, tiny passenger involved. Parents have different considerations to keep in mind when it comes to driving. All your current responsibilities become much more important, and there are new, equally important tasks to consider as well. Here’s a look at how you can make sure your car is all ready to tote around the most precious cargo of all.

Read Your Manuals

Your first step toward ensuring your car is safe for your baby is thoroughly reading the manuals for both your car and your car seat. It’s tempting to jump straight into installing the seat based on gut instinct, but this is a bad call. You may have installed a car seat in the past, but there are specific safety instructions for each and every model, even if you’re just using an updated version of a previous model.

Moreover, there may be specific safety considerations to keep in mind for your car as well. For example, you may need your manual to determine if your seat belts lock at the latch, at the retractor, or if they only have an emergency lock. You should also use the manual to make sure your planned space for the car seat isn’t in an airbag danger zone. Finally, remember that if you’re unsure, you can always see a certified car seat inspector to make sure your car seat is installed properly.

Check Insurance

New babies come with a lot of expenses, but you may be able to cut monthly costs through your car insurance. Reach out to your insurance company and make sure you’re getting the best possible rate. Depending on things like where you live, driving record, and age, you may be entitled to a lower rate than when you first signed up. It’s also important to know how much your state tends to charge for auto insurance; state-specific information is widely available online and can help you determine the minimum requirements and average monthly rate.

Consider a Cleaning

If you have ever smoked in your car, or if you own a used car that may have been owned by a smoker, consider getting a professional interior cleaning done. Cigarette smoke is extremely dangerous for newborns, and current research suggests it’s not just first- and second-hand smoke you need to worry about.

Third-hand smoke is the dust, ash, and other toxins that settle into fabrics and surfaces where someone has smoked. These can stay in fabrics for years and constantly kick back into the air, where your baby can inhale them. A professional cleaning can reduce the presence of these toxins and make your car a safer space for your little one.

Keep Up on Maintenance

There’s never been a more important time to make sure your car stays in tip-top shape. However, there’s also never been a more likely time to forget basic car maintenance like oil changes and tune-ups. New babies are exhausting, and it will be easy for these basic repairs to slip your mind. Set up calendar reminders on your phone or computer so that when it comes time to get a tune-up, you have a memory back up.

The most important part of driving as a parent is keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. By making sure everything is properly installed, insured, and maintained, you can hit the road with confidence.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Dan Sherwin is a single dad to a daughter (9) and son (6). On his blog, dadsolo.com, he shares tips, tools and resources for single parents.