Tag Archives: hacks

5 things to consider if you’re driving while pregnant

pregnantFor most women, travelling by car is a necessity and can’t be avoided, even during pregnancy.

Whether you are making the daily commute to work, going to visit some relatives, or heading for a night out with friends, it’s still possible to make the journey by car without too much disruption to your schedule.

There are just a few things you’ll want to consider beforehand.

To help you out, we’ve come up with five essential points that will make your driving experience freer and safer. Take them on board and you should be able to travel around freely until the latter stages of your pregnancy.

Check your car regularly

Pregnant or not, before you even get behind the wheel, you should take extra time to get your car thoroughly checked and all maintenance carried out on a regular basis. This means that your car will be as safe as possible.

Have your car serviced regularly too because a good garage will spot any expensive and/or safety-related problems in advance which you might otherwise miss.

Before every journey you should ensure that you have enough fuel to complete the journey, while essential items like oil levels, coolant, lights and so on can be checked monthly or before you head off on a long journey.

Of particular note are your car tyres – these are THE most important safety-related item bar none, as they are the only part of your car in touch with the road and capable of stopping your car in time in an emergency.

The Tyre Safe charity has published some useful guidance for expecting mothers as part of their Home Safely campaign, created to highlight the particular importance of checking tyres during pregnancy.

Prepare for long journeys

Uncomfortable and long car journeys are best avoided if at all possible during pregnancy, especially during the latter stages. However, if you do need to take a trip for a few hours, there are a few things you can do to make it safer and a little more bearable.

Plan your journey ahead of time so you can be sure there are places that you can pull over regularly for a toilet stop and a stretch. Sitting still for a long period of time can often be uncomfortable when pregnant, so a chance to have a break can do wonders.

If you suffer from back pain while driving, the addition of a wedge pillow, like this one from Mothercare, can often relieve some of the stress.

Pay special attention to seat belts and airbags

While seat belts and airbags are both vital safety features of your vehicle, they deserve some special attention when pregnant. Airbags are considered safe for pregnant drivers, though you should move your seat back so there is a fair distance between the steering wheel and your bump. You may need to increase this distance as your bump grows towards the later stages.

You should wear a seatbelt at all times when driving, in accordance with the law.

However, during pregnancy a three-point belt that has a diagonal strap and a lap belt should be chosen over a lap belt only. This is because it provides better overall support, and any stress placed on your body will be more dispersed, rather than concentrated on your stomach. This instructional video from Safe Ride 4 Kids shows exactly how you should wear a three-point seatbelt during pregnancy.

Practice safe driving

Though you are most likely a safe driver anyway, when pregnant you need to be even more cautious. Don’t take any risks at all when you are behind the wheel — even if other impatient drivers are tempted to. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and practice extra vigilance when on the road. If you feel tired or ill before the journey, it’s probably best to delay it or not to make it at all, just to be safe.
Should your term fall over the winter months, you should think twice about making longer trips and read up on some winter driving techniques so you are prepared.

This guide to driving in hazardous weather by Lookers is a good place to start as it gives you practical advice for a number of weather conditions.

Know what to do if your car breaks down

There are a few precautions that you can take to be prepared for a vehicle break down. The first, and one of the most important, pieces of advice is to always travel with a fully-charged mobile phone, so that you can make an emergency call or find your location should you need to.

It might also be wise to keep a phone charger handy that fits into the cigarette lighter of your car.

Should you feel that something is wrong with your car, pull over safely at the earliest opportunity and point the front wheels away from traffic with your hazard lights on.

You should try and call a breakdown service as soon as possible, as well as a loved one to let them know what has happened. When someone is on their way, it is simply a case of waiting for some assistance.

Keep these essential five pointers in mind and you will be able to safely enjoy the same level of mobility that you have been used to before and throughout your pregnancy.

Mums’ Motoring Heroes

Claire and Kids
Claire and Kids
We asked Claire from blogzine BrightonMums.com to share her tried and tested family #motoringheroes with us, hacks to help make motoring with young children less stressful than it often is.

Here’s what she told us.

“One of the first harsh lessons you learn as a parent is, outings with children need military style preparation. From getting out of the door for a newborn’s very first walk with the buggy, to baby’s first road trip to see Granny through to the first family motoring holiday adventure; parents find themselves constantly developing strategies for child-friendly travel.

The iPad (or tablet) holder

We took our first long road trip to see friends and family in Newcastle and Edinburgh when our youngest was only 2 years old so we certainly needed something to keep the kids amused and pass the time.

I found an iPad holder which hangs on the back of the front seats for a reasonable prize on Amazon and despite having Frozen and Finding Nemo playing in my ear while driving more times than I ever planned for in my life, it was worth every penny.

The fully charged phone

There’s nothing more annoying than a low phone battery, at any moment of your life. For better or worse, I’ve come to rely on my phone for just about everyone; diary management, e-mails, music and GPS maps.

As a busy, self-employed mum, the one-stop shop for life management allows me to get more done. So a reliable in-car charger is a must. I have one with a Bluetooth connection for the radio, so now I charge the phone while I drive and
brainwash the kids with some awesome 90s tunes!

A bowl or bin

This is the icky side of parenting; sick. But if you don’t prepare, you’ll be caught unawares and it’ll be a whole lot more icky for you and the car. Motion sickness can strike young children when you least expect, so having a handy receptacle children can easily grab in case they feel queasy while you’re driving could save your car upholstery.

Bags don’t really work, they’re a bit of a faff, so we have an old plastic mixing bowl permanently in the car these days.

You also need good ventilation and fresh water bottles.

Car window blinds

There’s a lot of baby and child accessories you can buy these days it’s baffling. And some are most certainly overkill, overselling to parents with disposable income.

But a good car window blind or sunshade is one of the best investments parents can make. It’s not one to scrimp on either, as poor quality products don’t stand the test of time and this is something kids benefit from until they’re out of car seats.

One of our favourite baby product companies, Munchkin, do a great window roller blind for the car. Sheer style sunshades which fix with suckers are great for older kids, as they can still take in their surroundings out of the window.

What’s that got to do with motoring? I hear you ask? Well all these items make the whole experience more manageable for me but here’s my final and really important #motoringhero for now…

National Trust properties

On long car journeys to see family and friends in England and Wales, instead of taking breaks in grimy service stations we look for a National Trust property en route instead.

And surprisingly, you don’t have to go too far off course to find a hidden gem in their network. There’s often a great café, clean toilets, activities for the kids (especially during school holidays) and a fascinating piece of national heritage to look at. Which is a no-brainer when the alternative is low nutritional value, low taste Burger King or the WH Smith’s Ginster selection with slot machines setting the hum of a polluted motorway.”

Thank you Claire for your tried and tested child-friendly #motoringheroes based on your family travelling experience.

Excellent ideas for motoring grans too of course!!
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Do you and your family take long trips in the car?

What items do you swear by to keep family motoring stress-free?

If it’s easier to share your family motoring stories and hacks at Facebook or Twitter we look forward to seeing you there.