As a first time mom living in west Michigan, safe driving has been on the top of my mind this winter season. Each morning when I wake up I look out my window and think, "Gosh, I wonder what the roads are like today." Driving during the winter months used to be a bit stressful, but adding a newborn baby into the mix really amped up the stress levels.
To help all of us out, here are five winter driving tips to keep you and baby safe in the snowy, rainy and cold weather (especially since there's a Nor'easter poised to smack the northeast this weekend)!
Check the Road Conditions
Sometimes I am so determined to get errands done that I do not even consider how safe the roads might be — and it's a terrible mindset! Over this past weekend, I headed out on an errand only to turn around and go right back home. Icy and snowy roads are not always worth the risk. If the errand can wait, let it. Stay inside, and cuddle up with that cute baby of yours. And if you're really not sure about when it's safe/unsafe to venture out, use this winter driving tips as a helpful guide.
Take Your Time
With baby in tow (and maybe a few more kids), it is nearly impossible to get anywhere with time to spare. During the winter months, make sure to leave tons of extra time when traveling. Also, decide ahead of time that it is okay to be late if it means keeping your family safe.
Get a Car "Check Up"
One sure fire way to keep everyone safe while driving this winter is to make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape. Have a check up done on the following items: battery, tires, antifreeze levels, and whatever else is recommended by your mechanic. Once your vehicle is in optimal shape, add a few supply items and create your "survival kit". Items like a flashlight, ice scraper, first aid kit, blankets and maybe even some non-perishable foods are great ideas and easy to store in the trunk, glove compartment or backseat.
Keep Baby Warm — But Don't Overdo It
Naturally, one of our instinctual desires is to stay as warm as possible in the winter. As a mom, you want to keep your little ones from getting too cold, too. A few steps you can take to keep baby warm while traveling include: using blanks over the car seat, dressing baby in multiple light weight layers, and storing the car seat in a warm place. Try to stay away from dressing your baby in a heavy snowsuit or thick apparel because this prevents the car seat from working and fitting properly. By simply adding the blanket over top the the fitted harness, you can keep baby safe and warm. Adding an extra layer (we use a long sleeve onesie and a t-shirt) can help keep baby warm without the bulk!
Visit a Car Seat Safety Check
When my husband and I were expecting our son, we decided to attend a car seat safety class. As first time parents we had no idea what we were doing with a car seat. It was astonishing to learn how many car seats are misused everyday! Luckily, they had certified instructors who not only gave us the ins and outs of car seat, but they also showed us how to install it in our actual car. Another perk? The class was free! No reason not to do it.
Any other safe driving tips to add? How do you stay safe on the roads?