Whether you’re expecting a new baby in the upcoming months or are just talking with your partner about starting a family, it’s important to be aware of all of the changes involved that come with adding a new, smaller member to your family. We’re not just talking about a few less hours of sleep here. There are changes that many people don’t consider until they actually have children, and then they find themselves unexpectedly tackling plenty of issues in a hurry. This includes your car. Is it baby-friendly? How safe is it? Consider the following changes before your new family member arrives.

A comfortable temperature is key.

Maintaining a comfortable temperature in your car isn’t just essential to the happiness of your baby or young child; it can have a huge influence on their wellbeing. A car that’s too hot can have devastating health impacts on a fragile baby, so it’s essential that you have proper cooling systems installed to get your baby through the hot summer months safely. Getting car tinting on your windows is a great way to reduce the UV rays streaming into the backseat where your baby will be resting while cooling the car, and a decent air conditioning system will make sure you can control the temperature at all times. And it should go without saying, but just in case: never, ever leave your little one (even an older toddler) in a car seat in a closed car while you run into a shop or the post office. The results can be catastrophic.

Find a safe car seat.

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of easy ways to find second-hand items for your baby to cut costs before the big day. A car seat shouldn’t be on the cost-cutting list, though. This should be bought new, or be as good as new if you’re buying it second hand. Make sure the seat meets all of the country’s safety standards and is designed specially to cradle a newborn safely and keep them securely strapped in.

Upgrade to a safer or larger car.

If you’re driving around in a flash 2-seater convertible, you may need to either head to the dealership for an alternative set of wheels for your new, larger family, or trade your precious car in for something more suitable. Children require a backseat with adequate space. Make sure your car is safe to transport its precious cargo by taking it for a thorough check-over at your local mechanic. Sort out any issues, whether it’s the brakes or a simple tire pressure problem, before your baby arrives so you can drive in peace knowing that you’re keeping your family safe on the road.

Prepare for mess and entertainment.

With a little one in the backseat, you’ll need to be prepared for plenty of mess. Toddlers often need to snack on the go – they need a surprising amount of fuel and generally prefer grazing, so you may want to put a plastic lining along the floor of the backseat to avoid the hassle of constant cleaning. Entertainment will also be a huge help when you’re driving around with your baby – stock the car up with fun car seat toys, baby-friendly music, and lots of distractions once the toddler years arrive.

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