How To Be A Safe Driver As A New Parent
Believe it or not, when you’re a new parent, your driving habits will change if you’re not careful. All of a sudden you’ll have a beautiful bundle of joy in the backseat when you’re out and about running errands and while sometimes baby may be napping, other times it will be wide awake and demanding your attention. And when babies become toddlers and school age children, you’ll find yourself not always remembering how you got from A to Z due to the backseat distractions. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re driving with your precious cargo:
As a new parent, you’re going to be tempted to try to tend to your crying baby from the front. Baby may have lost its pacifier, is cold/hot, hungry, tired etc., but for his/her as well as your own safety, resist the urge to reach back and try to find the pacifier or comfort baby. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself swerving or worse. Pull over at the next exit and tend to your baby without endangering your family or others.
Parents tend to take multi tasking to the extreme when behind the wheel. They’re breaking up arguments between the kids, opening snacks and juices, handing back kleenex, looking up directions, making doctor appointments on their cell phones, and so much more. Keep in mind that when you are behind the wheel you should focus on driving and driving only. All the other stuff can and should wait.
A few suggestions for tired moms or dads behind the wheel. If you’re feeling exhausted and your eyes are starting to close, open the window, turn down the heat, chew a piece of peppermint gum. The fresh air, the mint scent and the activity of chewing wakes you up. You might also want to pick up a cup of caffeinated coffee, tea or bottle of soda.
Is It Ok To Use Your Cell Phone?
When your child is in the car, cell phones should not be in use, even hands free. Even the sheer act of talking on the phone distracts you from driving as your mind will be focused on the topic of conversation. If a phone call is imperative/urgent, pull over to a safe spot and have the conversation there.
Making Sure You Do Not Leave Your Child In The Car
A parent’s worst nightmare! A few ways to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Add a safety check into your car exiting routine; meaning when you leave the car, always check the back seat by opening one of the back doors. Once you do it a few times, your mind will be programmed to automatically do it. Another option is to put your purse, handbag, cell phone or wallet in the back next to your baby. We’re used to grabbing those as we exit so it forces us to check the back seat.
Just remember, keep your eyes and attention on the road. Happy, safe driving!
Daddy Nickell, father of 7, founder of Daddyscrubs.com and the Daddyscrubs parenting blog.