Having recently acquired a fresh, young baby girl to the Instamotor staff, there was a lot of prep work that needed to be done in order to welcome the arrival of this beautiful specimen of life. However, most of that work was done in the home: nursery remodel, buying an obscene amount of baby products, and baby-proofing everything. The one thing you don’t really think about is what you need to do to your automobile to get it ready for this hectic new life—aside from the obvious stuff like a car seat.
After spending some time with the little one, cleaning up a few messes, traveling to some destinations, and changing diapers on the fly, there are some necessities that help with covering all bases…and all surfaces. As we’re learning, kids are a joy in life, but a pain if you’re not prepared, so here’s our list of automotive must haves.
Babies are fascinating and messy little creatures. You have spit ups, pee, poop, and all sorts of other things that seem to come from everywhere when you least expect it. There are preventative measures that can be taken, but it will get you no matter what.
Being proactive means having the necessary supplies ready when disaster strikes. An all-purpose cleaner of your choice, plus paper towels means you can attack the epicenter of the mess as fast as possible. Grab cleaners that either work best with fabric or leather so you’re not doing more damage than good.
Continuing with the whole “disaster can happen at any time theme;” newborn babies need to feed often—basically every two hours the first couple weeks. So, if you have to drive anywhere, the moment you not only leave the house, but when you finish feeding the baby, a countdown clock refreshes to the next time you’re going to need to start again. And with feeding comes pooping. If you’re in your car, changing a baby isn’t the easiest thing in the world and you’re going to be glad if you have a surface that can take messes without the car taking the brunt of the abuse.
Many companies—even popular fashion brands—offer changing mats that fold into squares no bigger than a magazine so it’s easy to conceal and store behind the front seats.
We know that you’re most likely going to have a diaper bag with you at all times, since it’s the baby equivalent of having a purse or wallet on you, but sometimes (as a staffer has found out) you forget to bring it because with kids there are a lot of additional things to have with you. Keep an emergency kid kit in the car with all the essentials: diapers, wipes, change of clothes, burp cloths, and pre-made formula that has a long shelf life. Preparing for the worst when you’re sleep-deprived, ornery, and forgetful will be a lifesaver if you need it.
P.S.: make sure to throw some plastic bags in the kit too, as you won’t want to figure out where to put that soggy diaper after.
If you care about protecting the surface of the seats equipped as standard in your ride, get a protection pad as a buffer between the abrasive car seat base and the supple leather or tear prone cloth. While you may have a car seat that is stationary most of the time, the constant jostling of baby to inside the car, and vice versa, will cause accelerated wear and tear within days, weeks, and months. A protection pad will keep the surface of your seats looking pristine while you worry about more important things. And the great thing is, they’re not expensive, with most protection options costing around $20.
In the first couple months of a baby’s life in the car, they will be facing the rear of the automobile, meaning that you won’t be able to see what’s happening inside the car seat. With a rear seat mirror you’re able to monitor the baby at a glance while giving yourself peace of mind that everything in the baby kingdom is running smoothly because sometimes crying isn’t the only sign something is wrong.
Depending on the personality of your baby, they could like having a warm bottle as opposed to a cooler one. While we have no clue what babies are thinking, a warm bottle makes sense as it’s probably more comforting to a bottle baron than a colder example. A portable bottle warmer solves the problem of cold temps and thouroughly heats the bottle to just the right temperature. This is perfect for when your baby becomes part of the commute and you need something on standby all the time.
Safety is a huge priority with a child. While they’re certainly resilient, they’re also fragile and need you to protect and watch out for them. Some new cars come with child reminder door chimes that alert you to check the back seat for a child just in case you forget. And as much as you may think it will never happen to you, lack of sleep and an off circadian rhythm will do weird things to your brain and you can become a zombie trapped in your body.
Set notes on your car to remind you what’s behind your seat. Put a post it note on the tachometer so it’s always in your face. Set a location-based reminder on your phone to alert you once you arrive at your destination—modern technology makes this relatively easy. With the proper precautions, you and your baby will arrive safe and secure.
Currently the full-time Editorial Director and Content Manager for RxSpeed.com, & contributing writer for Scout.com. He also loves photography, videography, his Shiba Inu Mia and driving sports cars.