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Baby on Board? Follow These Safety Precautions While Driving in Florida

There is often a great deal of worry among new parents that something might happen to their child when they are traveling in the car.  It can be incredibly challenging to drive with a baby aboard your vehicle, and the additional anxiety and stress do not help. 

Whenever you’re driving, you should take extreme caution.  The State of Florida is home to one of the highest rates of car accidents in the world, and most are commonly preventable.  When you have a baby along, being cautious is even more critical.  Other than simply having a “Baby on Board” sticker on the back of your vehicle (which has little to no effectiveness), here are five safety precautions to follow when driving with a baby. 

Use an Age-Appropriate Car Seat

Parents may find it challenging to choose a car seat because there are so many options available.  Considering the seat’s safety rating and the ease of installation in your vehicle, along with the size of your baby, is important when shopping for one.  You’ll also want to make sure the seat you choose will be a good fit for your particular vehicle.  Purchase and install your car seat before your baby arrives.  Many fire departments offer free car seat installation inspections to ensure car seats are installed correctly.  Consider contacting your local fire department to schedule an inspection.

Note:  Florida law requires children under the age of 5 years old to be adequately secured in a federally approved and crash-tested child restraint device.  Rear-facing seats are required until the child is at least one year old and weighs 20 pounds or more; however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends your child stays in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible.  After that, depending on their height, weight, and age, they may sit in either a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat until they are 4’9” tall and at least eight years old.  They can either continue using the booster seat or use their regular seat belts from this point forward.

Prepare Your Car with Baby Essentials 

Whether you’re expecting a baby soon or planning a big trip, make sure your car meets all safety standards and is comfortable to ride in.  No matter where your family is traveling, these essential baby travel accessories will ease your trip: 

  • Buckle up toys;
  • Sunshades; 
  • Back seat mirrors; 
  • Backseat organizers; and 
  • Car seat monitors. 

The final component you will need in your vehicle is a baby care kit.  Be sure to pack essentials such as sippy cups, wet wipes, pacifiers, blankets, diapers, changing pads, cleaning cloths, extra clothing, and baby toys.  When you follow these tips, you’ll help your baby enjoy a safe and comfortable journey. 

Limit Distractions and Be Alert

Using your phone, texting, and fiddling with your car’s technology is a no-go.  Having a baby in the car also takes up a lot of your attention.  Put your phone on silent and do your best to limit using hands-free technology systems. 

Having a fussy baby can present another distraction.  By feeding and changing your baby before your travels, you will reduce the chances of any trouble along the way.  You can also minimize distractions by taking your baby on a trip when they are already sleeping. 

Know the Right Time to Drive 

Getting a good night’s sleep with a newborn is often not the case for new parents.  Every year, thousands of people are injured and killed because of drowsy driving.  It’s not just that parents are at risk for putting themselves and their children at risk, but drowsy drivers, including shift workers or overworked commercial truck drivers, are also dangerous. 

If possible, the parent who has received the most rest the previous night should drive if both parents are available.  It might be advisable to postpone the trip if you do not feel safe driving.  However, if you feel okay to drive but start to show signs of tiredness like yawning, swerving, or missing your exit, pull over immediately. 

Ride with a Friend or Family Member 

If you can, avoid driving alone with your baby.  When traveling long distances, you may want to trade off driving with a friend or family member.  This way, someone can sit in the back and take care of your baby while the other drives.  You may not always be able to do this, but if you are able to, it will keep everyone much more relaxed. 

Contact a St. Petersburg Car Accident Attorney for Advice 

Parenting is all about ensuring your child’s safety, and that’s even more essential on the road.  Sometimes, despite your best precautions, another party’s negligence cannot be prevented.  Whether you, a child, or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in St. Petersburg or the surrounding area, you will want to ensure you receive your fair share of compensation for all the losses and expenses you will incur as a result of the accident.  In light of what is at stake, you need an injury lawyer you can trust.  Marsalisi Law can help. 

Fill out our contact form or call (727) 800-5052 to schedule a free consultation with the personal injury attorneys at Marsalisi Law.  We are available 24/7 to assist you with your legal matter.  

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