*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.


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.