You’ve painted the nursery. Assembled the crib. Bought the high chair. Now you’re ready for the big day – or are you?
Here’s how to make sure it’s a safe and happy place for transporting your newest family member.
Start with the Right Type of Car Seat: Buying a quality car seat and installing it correctly is the most important part of keeping your baby safe in your vehicle.
-DO YOUR RESEARCH WITH YOUR CAR SEAT, CHEAP IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST DEAL-In one year alone, car seats save more than 240 children under 5 years old in the U.S. It’s strongly recommended that you buy a brand-new car seat so that you know it has the latest safety features. If you do buy or inherit a used one, check the expiration date, make sure it hasn’t been recalled, confirm there are no missing parts or visible damage, and verify from the previous owner that it was never in an accident.
-GET AN INSPECTION-Another good way to get ready is to have your car seat inspected. Three out of four car seats are not used or installed correctly. So get it inspected by a certified technician at your local police or fire station. The inspection is often free of charge.
- INSTALL A MIRROR-Your baby should be facing the rear of the car for at least the first two years. To avoid the urge to take your eyes off the road, place a mirror above the car seat so you can see his or her face in your rearview mirror.
-BE PREPARED TO CLEAN UP THE BACKSEAT-Babies are messy and your backseat is about to take the hit. So, use seat covers, have washable towels handy and keep some wipes within easy reach for unexpected spills. The inevitable spit-up or dirty diaper will clean up a lot easier if you have fresh clothes on hand. Keep them in a sealed plastic bag, along with other clean bags for trash disposal, in your trunk. Keep plenty of age-appropriate plush toys in the back seat. Remove all cleaning supplies, sharp items, dangerous liquids, stray paper, garbage or anything that could harm or injure your child.
-TURN ON THE SAFETY LOCK-Sure, your baby can’t push buttons yet, but that day will come before you know it. Turn on childproof locks now so you won’t forget later.
-BABY-PROOF THE CAR OF EVERYONE WHO WILL BE TRANSPORTING YOUR CHILD-If family or friends will be transporting your child, make sure their cars are as ready as yours – including car seats.