Most expectant parents are understandably concerned about infant car seats, and rightly so. However, many parents don't consider the safety of the vehicle in addition to the safety of the car seat. If you are expecting a baby during the cold months of winter, it is important that you drive a reliable vehicle. The last thing you'll need is to break down with your newborn in the vehicle or get stuck in a snowdrift. Here are a few things you can do to prepare your vehicle and keep your infant safe.
Catch up on preventive maintenance
If you don't keep up on preventive maintenance, be sure to take care of it all before your baby's expected arrival. That way, you reduce your risks of breaking down or getting into an accident when your most precious cargo is on board. Here are a few essentials:
- flush and replace the antifreeze
- check the heater core for leaking fumes
- check the exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks
- make sure your tires are winter-driving capable and have enough tread
- change the oil to winter-weight
- test the brakes and brake lights, and replace if necessary
- replace the battery and check the charging system
Install a remote car starter
Instead of taking your baby out to a cold vehicle or trekking out into the cold to start your vehicle to warm it up, install a remote car starter. With this device, you'll be able to start your vehicle remotely from the comfort of your home so it will be warm for your baby and run smoothly for your travels.
Before a remote car starter should be installed, it's a good idea to have a fresh battery in your vehicle, which, fortunately, is already on your preventive maintenance checklist above. Any auto service shop can install a remote starter, but you may have to pre-order it from the shop or through a different retailer. Ask your mechanic for more information about ordering a remote starter.
Stock the vehicle up with supplies
It's a good idea to stock your vehicle up with essential supplies, just in case your vehicle breaks down or gets stuck in snowy conditions. Here are a few essentials to gather and keep in your vehicle:
- baby's essentials – formula, baby bottle, diapers, and wipes
- survival needs – several blankets, bottled water, and protein bars
- vehicle supplies – cat litter, old towels, or anything that can be used to provide traction under tires
It's important to keep bottled water and other drinks in the seating compartment of your vehicle instead of in the trunk. The reason for this is so the fluids can thaw out when the heating system is turned on to heat the vehicle via the remote car starter. Keep the drinks near the heating vents so they can quickly start thawing when the vehicle is started and the vehicle heats up.
Become a member of a roadside assistance group
Even with all these and other preparations, it's a good idea to further protect yourself and your new little bundle of joy by having a roadside assistance group membership. With a membership with a roadside assistance group, help is just a phone call away.
Most of these groups have several tiered options to choose from so you'll be able to cater your benefits to your needs. Since you'll have a newborn with you during winter travels, it's a good idea to get the highest tier so you'll be covered no matter what circumstances you may find yourself in, whether you've lost your keys in the grocery store or you get stuck in snow.