How to Prep Your Car for Bringing Home a New Baby

I remember the day my husband and I brought our newborn son home from the hospital like it was yesterday. The car ride from the hospital to our house was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my entire life. The hospital was just a few miles from our home, yet the journey seemed to last a lifetime. After an emergency c-section and several extra days spent in the hospital, we were so glad just to be headed home, but as we were wheeled out to the car by hospital staff, my heart fluttered and I panicked- were we really ready for this?

Once you're discharged from the hospital with your sweet new bundle of joy, the sudden feeling of responsibility for this new little life can be so overwhelming. No new parent is ever truly prepared for what parenthood is really like, but there are definite measures you can take to prepare for those first few days of your new baby's life. The car ride home from the hospital is your first venture out on your own with your new baby, so it's best to make that journey as safely as possible.

Once you figure out which items you'll need to make car rides safe and comfortable for your new baby, you'll feel much more confident.

Start with the car seat

This is the most important item you will purchase for your baby. As a mom to two kids, I have been through my fair share of car seats, and my husband and I have agonized over which ones were the 'right' ones for our kids- especially when they were tiny babies. We did our research on each brand and specific model of seat. We went for safety rather than looks or convenience when it came to those infant carriers. Looks are fine and dandy, but a good-looking seat won't protect your baby on those looks alone. Many parents will also take price and grow-with-me seats into consideration, but based on personal experience, stick with a safe seat over all other features. Your baby's life is far too precious to compromise it for looks or convenience.

Once you have the car seat picked out, take it to your local fire station and have them show you the proper way to install it. Take notes, take pictures, do anything you think you need to do to make sure that that seat is properly installed at all times. Car seats should be rear-facing until your child is at least two years old, if not longer!

Buy the Silly Sign

You know those 'baby on board' signs that you've repeatedly rolled your eyes at? Go ahead and buy one, and stick it in the window of your vehicle. Not all drivers are safe drivers, but if they see that sticker in your window, they are more likely to pay closer attention and drive more safely around you. It also alerts emergency workers that you may have a baby in the car with you in the event of an accident.

Invest in Car Shades

Tinted windows really don't provide enough protection to block out the sun when the baby is riding along in the car. Invest in a pair of pull-down window shades for your back windows. They are usually sold in sets and easily adhere to the window with a suction cup.

You'll probably want to ride alongside your baby in the back seat of the car for the trip home from the hospital, and maybe even for the first few weeks of their life. It's hard to move to the front seat when you can't easily see or reach your baby as they ride along in the back. Over time, you'll become more comfortable with a baby riding in the back, you riding in the front. All new parents experience anxiety over this, so know that you're not alone there. A mirror that can be Velcroed to the headrest in front of baby's seat will help you be able to see your baby more easily from the rearview mirror when you are driving.

You'll have lots of time to enjoy fun adventures in the car with your baby, but make it a priority to keep them safe in the car at all stages of life- starting with that first car ride home.

Brought to you by Kindle Dodge.

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