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Safe On The Road: How To Keep Your Newborn Safe In The Car

The safety of newborns in the car is a top priority for all parents. Statistics show that the use of car seats reduces the risk of injury in accidents by 71-82% compared to the use of conventional seat belts. In the UK, where road conditions are often variable, this precautionary measure is critical. In this article, we look at key aspects to help ensure your newborn is as safe as possible on the road, including preparing your car and adapting your driving style.

Statistics on newborn safety in the car in England:

Year: 2023
Number of lethal accidents: 26
Children not buckled in car seats: 29%
Reduced risk of death when using a car seat: 95%
Reduced risk of death when using a rear-facing car seat: 78%

Preparing for a car trip

Before you take a road trip with your newborn, make sure your car is in good working order. Check the oil level, brakes, tires, and make sure your battery is fully charged. It's also important to make sure your fog lights are working. For example, the southern part of England and London particularly face the rains approximately 150 - 170 days a year. It means low visibility and fog. states that fog lights are crucial while driving in low-visibility conditions. They are designed to cut through the fog and provide better visibility close to the ground, helping to avoid accidents. Also, do not forget to put together an emergency kit with essentials such as water, snacks, a first aid kit, spare diapers, and baby supplies - it will make your trip more relaxed and enjoyable. 

Seat attachment,  recommendations for the use of car seats

Ensuring the safety of your newborn starts with the correct installation of the car seat. The rear-facing position is very important for infants, as it provides the most protection in the event of an accident. Always strictly follow the manufacturer's instructions and do not use used or expired car seats. For optimum safety, install the seat in the middle of the rear seat. This location protects against possible side collisions and keeps your child safe from airbags that could deploy from the front or side.

Improper installation of a car seat can greatly increase the risk of injury in the event of a crash. Always make sure the car seat is tightly secured and does not move from side to side or front to back by more than an inch. Double check that the harness straps fit snugly around the child's chest and hips and that the chest clip is at armpit level to maximise safety. 

Focused driving, minimising distractions

Driving with a newborn requires focus. To maximise your attention to the road, prepare the car environment by setting up a quiet zone free of distractions. To do this, adjust the mirrors and climate control before you start driving. Secure all of your child's belongings so they don't cause unforeseen disturbances. If your child needs attention, find a safe place to park before attending to their needs. Remember, a calm and prepared driver ensures a safe trip for everyone in the vehicle. 

Smooth operation, adjusting driving habits 

With a newborn on board your car, your driving style should emphasise smoothness and forethought. Avoid sudden stops and starts, which can startle your baby and make him or her uncomfortable. Gradually accelerate and decelerate, and turn with care so as not to confuse your child. This gentle approach not only contributes to your baby's comfort, but also increases safety on the road by reducing the likelihood of accidents. 

Observing the weather, driving in unfavourable conditions 

Adverse weather conditions pose additional risks, especially if you're traveling with a newborn. In fog, rain or snow, reduce your speed and increase your following distance. In low visibility conditions, use headlights so other drivers can see your vehicle. Planning your route to avoid weather problems and checking forecasts before traveling can prevent you from getting into dangerous road conditions. Your vigilance will help protect your most valuable cargo from weather-related hazards. 

A rule of thumb, never leave a newborn alone

Never leave a newborn alone in a car, especially in warm weather. The temperature inside a parked car can rise quickly, creating a serious risk of heat stroke or even more serious consequences within minutes. Even if the car is parked in the shade and the windows are down, the interior environment can become deadly. Always take your child with you, even if going out for a short time. 

Stay calm and collected and how to respond to crying

If your newborn starts crying while driving, stay calm and find a safe place to stop and attend to their needs. The stress of heavy traffic and crying can be frustrating, but it's important to keep your eyes on the road until you can safely care for your baby. Once parked in a safe place, you can soothe your baby, check his diaper, or feed him if necessary. Remember, safety comes first.  

Rest and care, frequent stops

On long car rides, plan frequent stops to meet your newborn's needs. Breaks every one to two hours will allow you to feed and change your baby so that he or she is comfortable and convenient. Not only will this help the baby calm down, but it will also give the driver some much needed rest, reducing the risk of fatigue-related accidents. 

The basics of car safety, equipped for protection

If you're traveling with a newborn, make sure your car is equipped with advanced safety features. Reliable airbags (deactivated in the front when using a rear-facing car seat), secure door locks, and power window controls are all essential. Child safety locks on doors and windows prevent accidental opening, increasing your child's safety while traveling. 

Keeping your newborn safe in the car requires constant attention and dedication. Changing driving habits, ensuring a quality and safe car seat, and paying attention to weather conditions are all important components that contribute to your baby's safety on the road. Remember that every trip with a newborn is a big responsibility, and your attention to detail can make all the difference in preventing accidents and injuries. Always try to anticipate possible risks and plan your trips in advance so that every trip is safe for your most precious passenger.