When a baby is welcomed into the world, there is one important environment that is often forgotten about – the car.
A hospital is perfectly equipped for a new-born baby, however parents aren’t as prepped for the journey home.
In fact, 62% admitted they didn’t adjust their car for the big day, and a whopping 57% confessed they didn’t think they needed to change anything except add in a car seat. This prompted vehicle sunblind specialists Car Shades to team up with midwife and GlowMummy founder Sharon Salvage, to reveal the best way to prepare your car for a new-born baby.
Inclusive of both accessories and the set-up of the vehicle, see the six essential things to consider here:
Car Seat: Babies will always need to be in a car seat. Shop around to find the best new-born car seat to suit your needs. Isofix based car seats are an advantage because they lock into place without using seatbelts and will fit into most modern cars. I-size car seats are easy to fit, face rearwards and protect from side impacts also.
Sharon further explains: “All new-born car seats should be placed in the back seat, ideally with a parent in the back also. If this isn’t possible then observing your baby regularly is important whilst driving and taking regular breaks where the baby is removed from the car seat (every 30 mins to a maximum of two hourly).”
Clothing: Babies should be comfortably dressed to leave hospital, ensure you monitor the baby’s temperature. Although it’s instinctive, a baby may not need a blanket if they already have thick enough clothes on.
Sharon adds “If a blanket is the preferred choice, use cotton, cashmere, bamboo rayon, fleece or rayon materials. Cellular blankets can be a good option as they are breathable, and it’s best to avoid blankets with ribbons, buttons and tassels.”
Lighting and Heat: Depending on the month your baby is born, you will need to either heat up or cool down the car. Hitting the right ambience is important, 16-20 degrees celsius is the recommended temperature for a babies sleep environment. Car Shades will help keep the cabin cool on warmer days as well as having the benefit of reducing bright lights for babies delicate new-born eyes.
Sound: Babies generally love listening to white noise as this reminds them of life in the womb, so having this on in the car may be a soothing sound for them as they’ve just left the hospital. Gentle lullabies are a good idea to keep them calm throughout the journey too.
Essentials: Depending on the distance of the journey home from the hospital, you may have several situations where you need to pull over and change a nappy or feed. The following are handy to have prepared in case of this situation:
Gentle organic baby wash
Milk storage container and breast pump if planning to breastfeed – (don’t forget batteries for the pump)
Baby bottles if planning to formula feed
Baby carrier / pram / pushchair / stroller if required for the end of the journey
Bin liners, just in case!
Remember the Mother – New mothers should also pack as comfortable as possible. Sharon suggests “Loose fitting clothes for their journey home from hospital, such as: Leggings or comfortable pants, maternity bra and a jumper.”
Steve Giles, managing director at Car Shades, commented: “When leaving the hospital, the car is often forgotten as being the next destination. Throughout pregnancy, it’s important to acknowledge the car as part of the prep, so that both the mother and the child can be as comfortable as possible on their way home.
“It’s a scary feeling taking your new-born home, there are huge levels of responsibility, so we hope soon-to-be parents find our guidance useful to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible when taking your new-born home for the very first time.”