Every new parent knows that having a new baby is a wonderful, if not sleep deprived, experience. 3am feedings and disrupted sleep schedules come hand in hand with your new little bundle of joy and as exciting as it is to introduce your little one to friends and family members around town, as well as try to create the appearance of normalcy in your very changed life, you have to remember that there is much more to driving safely with your little one other than an investment in the latest and greatest car seat.
It goes without saying that you are tired and while you and your significant other are probably thinking that you can "handle" the lack of sleep, your mind and your body might be telling a different story, especially when you are trying to get back into a routine. There is one rule that you must follow before you hit the road, whether it is to go to the grocery store or if you are getting back to your work commute, you must get enough sleep.
If you take to driving after nights of interrupted sleep, your mood, as well as your ability to respond or think through situations where you might have to react quickly while driving is going to be impaired. Sleep deprivation on the road has the same effects as drunkenness; blurred vision, slow or delayed reaction time, lack of hand eye coordination and impaired motor skills can all up your chances of having an accident, whether with your baby in the car, or alone.
Therefore, in order to drive better with a new baby, consider both your options and follow these tips:
* If you are suffering from sleep deprivation, but have to get somewhere, consider alternate forms of transportation such as calling a friend or relative for a ride; utilizing public transportation such as a cab, subway, or bus; or, if your destination is close enough, consider walking.
* If you absolutely have to drive, ask family or friends to watch the baby while you get some much needed shut eye so you can be prepared when you get in your car.
* Do not drink caffeine or alcohol before going to bed. This will have the ability to disrupt your sleep schedule and could contribute to the way you feel when you get behind the wheel in the morning.
* If you are driving and you feel drowsy, pull to the side of the road immediately or switch places in the car with another licensed driver.
Remember, as a new parent, you probably have the mentality that you can "do it all." Face the fact that you might need some help in getting the sleep that you need before you get back to the grind or before you start toting your little one around town. Making sure you get enough sleep to feel alert and ready to face the road is very important. It will not only protect you and your life, but also the very precious cargo that you have strapped into that very expensive and safety conscious car seat in the back.