Becoming a parent is terrifying in general. There are so many things that are scary about bringing a new person into the world, understandably. But despite that fact, countless people become parents each year and have to adjust to living life with a new baby. With that being said, one of the most terrifying things about becoming a parent for the first time is taking your child out in the car. This is a necessary part of transitioning into parenthood. In fact, it’s one of the first things you’ll do with your baby outside of the hospital. But that first, inevitable car ride taking you from the hospital to your house is one thing. Actually getting out and about in the world with your baby is another. It’s completely unavoidable, of course. You have to be able to go out and shop for groceries and take your baby to their doctor’s visits. But it can be terrifying to take those steps, and it’s surprisingly easy to stay home with your baby for longer than you might initially think.
If you haven’t had your baby yet, you might scoff at the idea of being afraid to take them on a seemingly simple car ride. But going on a car ride with your baby can be intimidating, especially during a global pandemic. For one thing, if you’re used to having your baby with you at all times, as lots of new parents are during those first few weeks, even having them in a car seat may give you anxiety. Then, once you’re driving, you not only need to worry about yourself but about a new life that is completely vulnerable and dependent upon you. On top of this, you’ll now be worried about sanitizing everything within your vehicle every time you go somewhere. But sooner or later, you will need to go somewhere. Therefore, you need to be ready to out and take care of certain tasks, while also enjoying your new life with your baby. Therefore, it’s a good idea to go ahead and, whether you’ve had your baby yet or not, begin practicing feeling more comfortable taking your baby out and about in your car.
1. Splurge On The Car Seat
Car seats can get expensive. But if you’re really feeling a lot of anxiety about driving with your newborn, you’re better off splurging on your car seat and feeling safer, than buying something secondhand in an attempt to save money. Generally speaking, a car seat is not something that you should bargain for. While your budget may be limited, you still need to find the best car seat possible within that budget. Good car seats will come with leveling systems that will alert you when the car seat is properly installed, therefore giving you even more peace of mind. You should also look for extra padding and shock absorption. Good used car seats are available, but if you’re truly struggling with paranoia about driving, you might want to go for a new car seat; that way, you’ll know that it doesn’t have any unseen damage.
2. Take Breaks When Driving
If your anxiety becomes extremely severe while you’re driving with your baby, then, simply put, you shouldn’t be doing it. At least not without proper breaks in the trip. These breaks will allow you to check in with your baby and relax a bit more, reassuring yourself that everything is fine. There is no point in continuing to drive with your baby if you don’t feel relaxed. In fact, it may actually be more dangerous to drive with your baby when you’re not relaxed. Just take the time to reassure yourself, and you’ll be able to slowly but surely space out time between your breaks until you don’t need any more breaks at all. With the three most common causes of American car accidents being drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving, you can’t afford to let yourself get off track.
3. Drive During Good Weather
Eventually, you’ll need to work up to driving with your baby at any point in time. But at first, you should confine your driving jaunts to days when the weather is good. There are several reasons behind this. For one thing, it’s legitimately safer to drive during good weather. It’s estimated that weather is a factor in around 21% of all car accidents in the United States. Think about how easy it would be for your car to spin out of control if you end up hydroplaning on a rainy day. Now, consider how it would be even easier for you to lose control if you were driving with your baby in the back seat.
4. Keep Up With Your Vehicular Maintenance
Now more than ever is a time for you to channel your worries about your baby into something positive, and make sure that you stay on top of your car’s maintenance needs. It’s believed that somewhere around $60 billion worth of vehicular maintenances goes unperformed each year. This is not only contributing to the lowered lifespan of cars; it also makes the cars more dangerous to drive, and ultimately may lead to a higher rate of car accidents. Think of how much more relaxed you’ll be knowing that your car has been fully serviced and that you don’t need to worry about it failing when you hit the road with your baby.
5. Give Your Baby A Soothing Toy
It will be even harder for you to drive if your baby is fussy. Therefore, you should employ a good toy, whether it be a stuffed animal or something that emits soothing music, to distract your baby during car rides. If you can get your baby into a legitimate car ride routine that will keep them from distracting you during car rides, all the better.
Yes, driving with your baby can be scary at first. But it’s also exciting! Your baby is a permanent part of your life, and being able to introduce them to car rides is one of the first things you’ll do as a parent. Celebrate this milestone!