Even in the most tranquil circumstances, driving safely presents a fair share of challenges. You have to ensure that your car is in top working order, that you're fresh and ready to drive, and that conditions on the road are within your capabilities.
But when you put a baby on board, everything gets far more complicated! As well as the rules of the road, you must also be mindful of things like:
- Child seat installation and placement
- Creating a non-stressful driving environment
- Baby supervision
To help you stay safe on the roads, we've put together the following baby safety tips for your car.
Our team at Sheen Panel Service always puts safety first. If you've been involved in a prang on the road, we can help with quality and affordable panel beating.
Ensure you have the right baby seat installed correctly
Child seats are a hugely important component in ensuring baby safety while driving. Australian states have laws regulating the use of child baby seats. For example, in Victoria, babies up to six months of age must travel in a rearward-facing child restraint.
The design of these seats has come a long way in recent years — even if the ease of installation still leaves something to be desired. If you're not entirely confident of your child seat installation abilities, there are options. You can research the subject and get tips from professionals. Some stores that sell child seats will install them for you for a small fee. They can even adjust the straps so that the seat is tailored to your child's size, and instruct you on how to change the settings as your child grows.
Be mindful of the temperature
Baby's are more sensitive to temperature than adults. Temperatures in a car can become uncomfortable and even dangerous for infants, especially in the hot Australian summer. Regulate temperature inside your car with window shades and air conditioning.
Don't forget that the temperature in the car can vary from the front to the back — especially if the vehicle is large. If you have rear AC, ensure that it is switched on and working correctly.
Use toys and music to keep your baby calm and quiet
As far as tips go, this one is much easier said than done. There are times when your baby just wants to cry, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. This can present some dangers while driving because a loud and agitated environment can increase distractions and stress levels and compromise your ability to make informed and timely decisions on the road.
Increase the odds of keeping your baby calm, quiet, and content by making use of things like:
- Soothing music
Set up a mirror in your car so you can see the baby
It's fairly straightforward to keep an eye on older children while you're driving, as their child seats are usually front-facing. But when you're driving with a baby, rear-facing baby seats usually obstruct visibility when glancing at the rear-view mirror.
The answer? Installing a second mirror in your car. Cheap and capable baby mirrors are readily available and easy to use. It's a great fix to get the best of both worlds: your baby in the safest rear-facing position in your car, and an uninterrupted line of sight so you can be sure of your baby's wellbeing.
Never leave your baby unattended in a car
The best guarantee of your baby's safety is you. Your presence and attention is the most important safeguard of your baby's wellbeing — in a car, or outside of it.
To that end, you should never leave your baby unattended in a car. It's not just important from a health and safety point of view; leaving a child in a car without supervision can be unlawful, and attract hefty fines.
If you need to leave the car — to quickly run into the shops or fill up on petrol — take your baby with you, or ensure that a responsible adult remains in the car to check on your baby.
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