FRIDAY, July 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- If you're hitting the road with your infant this summer, you need to ensure your child's safety and comfort, a pediatric expert says.
First, check your car safety seat to make sure it's installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. It needs to be rear-facing and at the correct angle to prevent your infant's head from slumping and potentially blocking the airway, Dr. Dina DiMaggio said.
You also need to be sure the five-point harness system is correctly adjusted and pulled snug to your baby at all times while riding in the car, said DiMaggio, a pediatrician affiliated with NYU Langone Health in New York City.
Here are some other suggestions:
"It is always best to have an adult or responsible older child in the backseat with your baby to easily take care of their needs during the trip. This can help your baby stay on a schedule as much as possible," DiMaggio said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.
"It allows you to feed them at their usual times, change diapers when needed, play with them, and keep an eye out for other issues such as car sickness. Being right by their side to sing, read, or even massage them, will help avoid tears and make for a smoother journey," she added.
Unlike your pre-parent days, you may need to make more frequent stops.
It's important for you and your baby to get out of the car every two to three hours on a day trip and every four to six hours at night to change diapers or soiled clothes, or to feed your baby. Never breastfeed in a moving car, DiMaggio warned.
"Before hitting the road, be prepared and know where gas stations and rest stops are on the way. In case you decide you need a longer break, it's a good idea to know where baby-friendly hotels are located. If you aren't sure there will be a safe sleep space at your destination, bring a bassinet or portable play yard with you, since it's not safe for your baby to sleep in the car seat once you arrive," she said.
If it's just you and your baby on the trip, never leave your infant unattended in the car, even briefly. Children can suffer heat stroke very quickly in hot cars.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more travel safety tips.
SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, July 20, 2021