Accidents happen - including car accidents. As an adult, you've accepted that they're just a part of life, which is why you do your best to drive safely and to have car insurance, frequent safety and emissions checks, and a good relationship with a trustworthy auto body repair shop.
But once you have a baby on the way, accidents become a particularly terrifying event that puts your child at risk. Some new parents are so paralyzed by the thought of what could happen to their baby on the road that they're unable to drive or are overly cautious about driving after their baby is born.
However, you can go out of your way to make sure your car protects you and especially your new baby in an accident. Some circumstances will always be out of your control, but if you follow the tips below, you can maximize your chances of keeping your baby safe if a car crash occurs.
1. Choose the Right Car
Before you make any upgrades to your current car, ask yourself: does my car meet all safety regulations? It could be both safer and more cost effective in the long run to simply invest in a new car altogether. Obviously, you can only purchase a new car as your budget permits, but it's worth visiting a car dealership to discuss affordable options and doing some research online to check out cars with the highest safety ratings.
2. Get Your Car Up to Par
If you can't afford a new car right now, don't worry - babies are expensive enough as it is. If your car isn't in dire condition, and if the cost of repairs doesn't outweigh the cost of a new vehicle, now is the time to make any repairs you've been putting off for the past few years.
Sticky door? Have it repaired so you can easily evacuate the car with your baby after a crash. Engine, battery, or starter problems? Resolve them immediately so you and baby aren't stranded on the side of a barren patch of road in the summertime heat. Finicky seat belt or airbags? Take the car to a mechanic stat. Cracked windshield? Replace it immediately so you can get the clearest possible view of the road.
3. Do Your Car Seat Research
Apart from the car itself, the car seat will do the most work to keep your child safe during an accident. That's why safety standards and regulations on car seats are fairly strict - you won't be allowed to leave the hospital with your new baby without a safe, hospital-approved car seat.
Car seats are an expensive investment, but you shouldn't buy a used car seat without serious consideration. Most car seats expire after seven years, and older car seats aren't up to the same rigorous safety standards as the newest models.
Of course, a car seat can't do its work if you don't install it correctly. Every state has designated areas where new parents can take their cars and car seats for inspections. Depending on where you live, the inspection site could be your DMV, a local mechanic, or the state health department. Once you have your car seat, research the closest inspection place and schedule an appointment.
4. Repair the Car Immediately
If you take the steps above, you and your baby should be okay in a fender bender, but don't assume that a minor accident means you can delay repairs. For the sake of insurance, peace of mind, and safety alike, take your car in to an auto body repair shop right after an accident occurs so you can get back on the road with your baby in a car you're completely secure in.
Were you recently in an accident? At Coats Auto Body & Paint, we're happy to restore your car to its previous safe condition. Contact us after your accident so we can help your car keep you and your baby safe.