When driving with kids on board, it’s important to be extra vigilant about safety. There are a few common dangers that you may want to avoid as a new dad while driving. Below are just some of the common dangers and how to avoid them.
Choosing The Wrong Car Seat
Car seats are essential pieces of safety kit when travelling with a child. It’s recommended that kids use a car seat up until the age of 12 or until they reach a height of 135cm (4ft 4 inches).
When choosing a car seat for a child, you should make sure that it is the right size for their age. Some car seats are only suitable for babies, while others are only suitable for kids over 4. Others may be adjustable, allowing you to use them with kids of all ages. This infant car seat buying guide could be useful to read when buying your first car seat for a newborn.
If you’re buying a second-hand car seat, always make sure that it is clean and in good condition before buying. It should also be within its expiration date (car seats wear over time and this can affect safety). By choosing a car seat that is in good condition and within its expiry date, you can be sure that it will protect your little one in the event of a crash.
Not Installing The Car Seat Properly
Many parents install car seats incorrectly. This can make them unsafe during an accident. When buying a car seat, make sure to follow the instructions carefully when installing it. Most car seats use a seatbelt system or LATCH system - if you haven’t got instructions, you can usually find information on installing a car seat correctly online.
Car seats should be placed in the rear passenger seats and not in the front passenger seat. Infants up until the age of 2 should be positioned facing the rear of the vehicle. The car seat should be positioned so that it is not leaning to one side and so that there is no movement.
Giving Food Or Loose Toys To An Infant
To keep an infant in the car entertained, it may seem like a good idea to give them some food or a toy. However, you should be careful of what you give your infant in the car. If your little one chokes on some food or a small toy, you may not be able to react while driving. In fact, if the car seat is facing the rear, you may not even notice that your child is choking until it’s too late.
Avoid giving your child food unless you’re certain they’re old enough to eat it without choking. A bottle of milk or water may be safer with younger kids who are old enough to feed themselves as there’s less risk of choking. When it comes to giving infants toys, avoid small loose toys and stick to large toys or toys that are attached to the car seat.
Driving While Sleep-deprived
As a new dad, you may experience a few sleepless nights. Make sure that you don’t get behind the wheel while sleep-deprived as there could be an increased risk of getting into an accident. When you haven’t had enough sleep, your concentration isn’t as strong and your reaction is slower, which can make it easy to zone out or react slowly to dangers.
Letting Yourself Get Distracted
Kids can be a big distraction while driving. It’s important that you keep your attention on the road and don’t try to attend to your child while the car is moving. To avoid distractions, travel with another adult who can attend to your little one while you drive. To avoid toddler tantrums, bring toys and pack snacks to occupy them. It could also be worth planning frequent breaks on long journeys. If you do need to attend to your child because they’ve been sick or dropped their favorite toy under the seat, find somewhere to safely pull over and then attend to them.
Leaving Your Kid In The Car Alone When Parked
You should never leave young kids in a car alone - especially for long periods and especially if it is a hot day. If your child is a little older, you may be able to quickly go inside to grab a forgotten item or leave them to pay for fuel. However, if they are an infant, you shouldn’t leave them alone even for a minute.