Any new mother or father will tell you that driving with a young child is a challenge. When you're driving, you need to focus on the road, but if your child is crying or throwing a tantrum, focusing can seem near to impossible. A 2012 American Baby and Safe Kids Worldwide survey revealed that almost 10 percent of new moms were in a crash while driving with their new baby. Even a small crash could harm you and your child, increase your auto insurance quotes, and cost a lot in repair bills, so it's important to stay safe.
Avoid unnecessary distractions
Children are an automatic distraction when you're in the car, mom-entrepreneur Lizette Veneziano told Tulsa World. It natural to keep an eye on your children while driving, so make sure that you're not adding to the list of distractions. According to the 2012 survey, 78 percent of new moms talk on the phone while driving with their new baby, and 26 percent text or check their email. The first is statistically as dangerous as driving drunk, and the second is twice as dangerous. Instead, invest in a Bluetooth headset that will allow you to take necessary calls while leaving your hands free to hold the wheel, or better yet, hold calls until you've arrived at your destination. Never text or email while you're driving - your eyes and focus need to be on the road.
Get smart about entertaining your kids
Another statistic revealed by the American Baby and Safe Kids Worldwide survey says that 64 percent of moms have turned around while driving to tend to their child's needs. Not only does this take your eyes off the road, but the act of turning completely around while driving can make you inadvertently turn the wheel - not good. What To Expect (WTE) suggests that you tether toys to the seat so that your toddler can't drop - or throw - toys onto the floor. Plastic chain links are a great solution because you can make the chain longer or shorter as you need by adding or removing links. WTE stresses that you should never use string or ribbon - it's a strangulation hazard.
When your child gets a little bit older, DVD players, video games, and books are a great distraction - especially on long road trips. If you don't have any distractions on-hand, listening to kid-friendly radio stations or singing songs together is fantastic family fun. You can even make up games while you drive, like count all the red cars or I-Spy.
Set a good example now
Your child looks to you in order to figure out how to act. Especially at such a young age, kids are like sponges, soaking up everything they see you do and say, so set a good driving example now. If you get angry behind the wheel, hold yourself back by remembering that your child is watching you. He or she won't be borrowing your keys for quite some time, but if you show your child now that the way to act in the car is calm and collected, chances are your child will be a more responsible driver later on. Always buckling your seat belt is another way to instill good driving habits in your child. Remember to talk to you child - when he or she is old enough - about buckling up, and make sure you're buckling up as well.
New parents are more likely to be in an accident, so stay safe and make sure you have the right amount and right type of general auto insurance.