Having a baby is an exciting time. There are many changes that will need to be made to your lifestyle, including your vehicle’s setup. More than simply trading in your convertible for a minivan, this also means thinking about safety and accommodations differently.
When you’re driving around with a baby in your car, there are some things that you’ll need to adjust to make your car a safe and comfortable place from the minute they come home from the hospital. Here’s a baby-proofing checklist to get your car ready before the baby comes.
Car Seat Fitting
Whether this is your first baby or not, properly installing your car seat is one of the most important adjustments you can make. If you are using a hand-me-down seat, first, ensure that it hasn’t expired. Then, have it inspected and installed by a local car seat specialist. They are trained to look for any signs of wear that could put your baby at risk, and they will install the seat properly to ensure your baby’s safety. Most modern cars have anchors for the seat to attach to. If your car is older and doesn’t have them, you can purchase anchors at most stores that sell car seats.
Many of today’s car seats are sold as a system that’s made up of a seat that attaches both to a base that remains in your car and to your stroller. Because the car seat is removable and clicks into the pre-installed base in your car, getting the baby strapped in correctly can be done in the house. This can save you from trying to contort yourself to get your baby buckled up while leaning in the car door. You can also purchase extra seat bases for other caretakers’ vehicles to make things easier.
A Room with a View
For the first six months of your baby’s life, they will be riding in a rear-facing car seat, which will make it hard for you to see him. Install a small car-seat mirror so you can see the baby while you’re driving. While we’re on the topic, it’s a good idea to install a sunshade to keep the baby out of direct sunlight that can make them hot and agitated.
Change of Clothes
While some babies are great in the car, some have a tendency to vomit and make other messes on themselves. Keeping a spare change of clothes and diaper-changing supplies in the car can come in handy — especially on long rides. Be sure you include a few diapers, wipes and a couple changes of clothes so you always have one on hand if the last one is in the laundry.
Even after you’ve installed the seat and a mirror so you can see your child while you drive, you should still consider how boring it can be for your child to ride backwards in a car seat. Pack a couple toys to keep your baby entertained, but be sure they aren’t something that can’t be swallowed or choked on. Some car seats come equipped with something to hang toys from so the baby can play with them without putting them in his mouth.
Going through your baby-proofing checklist before the baby comes is simple. A little forethought and preparation will make things easier for both you and your baby.
Check out all the vision and safety parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on a baby-proofing checklist, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Image courtesy of Flickr
Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.