(BPT) - The first days at home with a new baby are full of visits from family and friends, shared joy and special time alone bonding as a family. But soon you'll need to leave the house for trips to the grocery store, doctor's office or even road trips, which requires figuring out how to safely transport your child in the car.
Here are some tips to help ensure your travels with children are not only safe, but enjoyable:
* Car seats - The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a rear-facing car seat for the first two years of a child's life. One problem for many parents is buying a car seat that will last their child the entire first two years. Babies grow quickly, and in rear-facing car seats, they can often run out of room for their growing legs - way before they reach the age of 2.
The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 is the only rear facing infant car seat suitable for use from birth through 2 years of age because it has an adjustable base with eight recline positions to provide the most leg room for growing children. The infant car seat also features the Simply Safe Adjust harness system, allowing parents to easily adjust the headrest and harness with one hand as their child grows. Available exclusively at Babies“R”Us in store and online, new parents will be pleased by the longevity of the SnugRide Click Connect 40 infant car seat, which accommodates children up to 40 pounds in comfort.
Once the car seat is purchased, it should be properly installed and securely fastened in the backseat of the vehicle. Many pediatric clinics, fire departments and other community centers offer installation of car seats by certified child passenger-safety technicians to ensure that the car seat is installed properly. Ask your doctor for a listing of technicians in your community.
* Entertainment - Babies love to interact with adults, so have someone sit next to the baby in the backseat while on road trips to provide entertainment for the child. As the child grows, the entertainment can range from making silly faces to singing songs or playing word games like identifying your baby's nose, ears, chin and tummy.
* Music stimulation - Music helps children develop linguistic and motor skills as they sing along with nursery rhymes, and other infant songs. When you embark on your next journey, bring along a CD or two of your baby's favorite tunes, plug them into the car stereo and sing along for miles.
* Sun protection - “Help protect your sweet baby's eyes during road trips by hanging sun protection shades in the rear windows of your car. They're sure to make the ride more comfortable for your little one by providing shade and sheltering your infant's eyes from the harsh sun,” says blogger Erin Loechner of DesignForMinikind.com.
* For long trips - “Babies need to stretch their little legs just like adults do,” says blogger Rebecca Woolf of GirlsGoneChild.net. “So before departing, remember to map out potential stopping areas. Take advantage of the various rest stops for feeding, changing diapers and a little exercise. Pack a blanket to spread across the grass for some wiggle time before hitting the road. And hopefully, once back in the car your baby (and you) will feel refreshed and revived for your journey.”
The first time taking your baby for a car ride is always the hardest, but soon, with practice, you'll be an old pro, and hopefully as your child grows bigger, you'll both look forward to car trips to the grocery store or to grandma and grandpa's house.