Your vehicle will soon be trusted to keep the most precious thing in your life safe, so it’s important you prepare it accordingly by adding some essentials.
• It’s not just about car seats!
• Checks and precautions
If you’re expecting a child, it can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking time, and while you’re probably decorating and kitting out your baby’s nursery, you should also take time to consider what modifications should be made to your vehicle to ensure the safety and comfort of your new arrival.
You may have already traded in your sporty hatchback for a more spacious, family-orientated SUV, however, there is more to it than that.
It’s the perfect day for a trip: the sun is shining, but, frustratingly, you’ve mislaid your sunglasses. Thankfully, you can rely on the sun visor to ensure you’re not sun-blinded. Unfortunately, however, your baby doesn’t have that luxury and while donning a pair of sunglasses is possible – for a few seconds! – the most reliable and safest thing to do is invest in a sun shade that will stick to the windows or stretch over windows of the rear doors. As well preventing the sun from shining in their eyes, it might also help darken the cabin, meaning your little one might catch 40 winks on the way home!
We’ve all been there on the motorway: you just need to go as you count down the miles to the next service station! Of course, your little one isn’t quite as patient when nature calls and ordinarily, that may be tricky if you’re stuck in the middle of the countryside. If you were to invest in a portable nappy bag however, you’ll be able to take all the supplies needed for a quick and easy transformation – without taking up space in your new SUV.
For the first few months, until the baby reaches the optimum weight, your baby will be in a rear-facing seat. To prevent you from giving into temptation and reaching around to check whether your little one is asleep or not, you can purchase a rear-facing mirror that can strap onto the seat. You will then be able to check-in, without causing danger to you, your baby and other motorists.
It may not be something you want to think too much about, but it’s best to be prepared nevertheless. Roads can be a dangerous place and in the event of an incident, you may need to take drastic action to retrieve your child from their car seat. It is therefore, advisable to purchase and carry a hammer/seatbelt cutter in the vehicle. Not only will it sever the seatbelt with ease, it will break the car window if necessary.
The final essential is a regular vehicle check. Of course, your vehicle will go through its annual MoT and, hopefully, you’re sticking to the service intervals instructed by the vehicle manufacture. Nonetheless, your vehicle can still go wrong and may require the attention of your local technician. Sticking to these quick and easy checks, though, will ensure, not just your baby, but everyone else in your vehicle is safe:
• By law, your tyres must be at least 1.6mm of tread depth across their width. They must also be of the correct size and type for the vehicle, and be in good condition and at the right pressure. If you need to apply the brakes urgently, but have worn or the incorrect specification of tyres, the vehicle’s stopping distance is likely to be increased. There are plenty of tools available that will measure tyre depth, while the trusty 20p coin will give you a decent insight if you have nothing else.
• Like tyres, your brakes need to comply with the law. If you hear persistent squealing or squeaking, it is a strong indicator that your brakes need checking by a qualified professional and could need replacement. Other cautionary signs include a dashboard warning light or if the vehicle pulls to one side as you apply the brakes.
• If you’re driving at night, it is likely that the first thing other motorists or pedestrians will notice is your vehicle headlights. So, it is worth checking regularly that all the vehicle’s lights are functioning correctly.
• Likewise, if the weather is poor, you need to ensure your wiper blades aren’t worn and are functioning correctly.