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How to Drive Safely With a Baby

6 tips to stay safe when you’ve got a little one in tow.

How to Drive Safely With a Baby
*We’ve partnered with Skip Hop to show how the right car seat accessories can keep your little one distracted… so that you can stay focused on the road. When it comes to driving around safely with baby, there’s more involved than buckling your car seat in tight. From driving distractions to absent-minded mommy brain to emotional overload at the sound of your sweet baby’s desperate cry, there’s a whole lot to think about when you’re behind the wheel. Below, we put together a list of tips, tricks and apps to help keep you focused when you’ve got baby on board. Here’s 6 things you need to know. 1. Get comfortable with your car seat. Invest in a car seat that’s the right fit for your baby, and get to know it inside out. Practice putting him in the seat, and make sure your car seat is installed properly before it’s go-time. Since up to 95% of car seats are incorrectly installed, you may want to find a nationally certified child passenger safety technician (find your local expert here), and have them do it correctly. If you’re confident your baby is safe in his seat (and your seat is safe in your car!), you’ll be less concerned about every little peep that baby makes. 2. Plan ahead. Once you’ve buckled your baby and yourself into the car, you should stay put. But for a car ride longer than 5 minutes, that can require some advance planning. Keep everything you need close -- from your GPS navigation system to that postpartum snack or water bottle you can’t live without. Keep everything your kid needs close with Skip Hop’s cool Back Seat Organizer, which fits securely behind your front seat. It’s got clear pockets for the iPad (no judgement), insulated bottle pockets, mesh pockets and more, plus a D-ring for hanging toys. 3. Stay calm when your kiddo cries. There is something biologically implanted in our bodies to respond to our babies (and our toddlers) when they cry. It’s like each baby knows just what notes to hit to make sure we tune in. Trust that baby’s safe in that seat (see Tip 1) and ignore the weeps, whimpers and wails. Don’t ever turn around and take your eyes off the road -- if you’re truly concerned, pull over and check it out. 4. Invest in distractions...for your little one. When it comes to driving, that cute little distraction can quickly become a dangerous little distraction -- unless, of course, he’s distracted enough to NOT distract you. Let your little one go wild on Skip Hop’s Activity Tray, which provides the perfect surface for an art project, book or even meal on the go. It’s got a removable wipe-down insert for easy cleaning and side pockets for toys or crayons. Plus, it’s adjustable, so it fits around any car seat. 5. Buckle up, no matter where you’re sitting. Though buckling up might be second nature in the driver’s seat, we bet you’re more cavalier when you’re a back-seat passenger. But while you’re cooing at baby unbuckled, you’re creating a real danger for your driver, especially if there’s an accident and you end up slamming into the driver’s seat. If you crash at 30 miles per hour, your weight is magnified 20 to 25 times*. So your 120-pound body (you’re 120 lbs., right?!) would be akin to a 2,400 to 3,000-pound slam. Ouch. Plus, buckling up sets the right example for your children. So there’s that. 6. Don’t forget baby in the car. We know, we know: you’d NEVER do that. But, you’d be surprised by the power of that brand new mom brain. Don’t beat yourself up for reading this tip -- it’s overwhelming having a new baby! So overwhelming in fact, that there’s quite a few apps (try Waze and Kars4Kids) that have opt-in reminders for when you reach your destination. See, you’re not the only mama who’s concerned. You can also try leaving your purse or iPhone in the backseat, so even if baby’s sleeping soundly and quietly, you’ll have a reason to turn around before getting out of the car.

SHOP CAR SEAT ACCESSORIES

Skip Hop Style Driven Backseat Organizer, $20. Buy it here.

Skip Hop Style Driven Travel Activity Tray, $20. Buy it here.

Skip Hop Style Driven Back Seat Mirror, $20. Buy it here.

Skip Hop Style Driven Car Storage Box, $20. Buy it here.

*Source: The Lancet.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

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    A Montessori-inspired gift guide—for newborns to 6-year-olds

    There are plenty of Montessori-friendly toys that are beautiful and engaging, but also appeal to children's developmental needs.

    With so many toys out there, it can be hard to find intentional gifts for our children that are both fun and meaningful. Using a Montessori approach to your shopping doesn't mean your choices need to be academic. There are plenty of Montessori-friendly toys that are beautiful and engaging, but also appeal to children's developmental needs.

    Montessori toys are usually made from natural materials, non-electronic and foster independent play, creativity and concentration. Montessori materials are simple and somewhat minimalist in general, and this is especially true for infants and young toddlers. The world is so stimulating for these little ones already, that simple toys made of natural materials spark the child's curiosity without being overwhelming.

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    Mama, all I see is you

    A love letter from your baby.

    Mama,

    I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

    All I see is you.

    When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

    You are my everything.

    When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

    I trust you.

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    Life