Do you need to get out of the house? Are you wanting to ease back into working out after having a baby? Kill two birds with one stone and go on a walk with your baby. Walks are perfect because you’re able to go at your own pace and go for as long as you want. Plus, it gets you outside enjoying the fresh air and allows you to exercise with your sweet baby.
But before you take that first walk together, follow these safety tips – and then remember to follow them every walk after.
Double-check that the stroller is ready to stroll
Before putting your baby inside your stroller, make sure the stroller is in good condition. Check for loose wheels and test the brakes to make sure they work. Be sure the five-point safety harness is secure, and then check the temperature of the stroller before placing your baby in it. If the stroller was left in the sun or was sitting out in your garage during the summer, the plastic and metal pieces may be too hot for your baby.
Don’t hang bags from the stroller handlebar
The weight of a diaper bag, purse, or reusable grocery sack can cause your stroller to tip over, especially if you have a lighter-weight stroller. You can safely store any bags or belongings in a stroller’s undercarriage basket.
Make sure your baby is positioned safely and comfortably
Your top priority as a new parent is keeping your baby safe. When it comes to stroller safety, here’s how to keep your baby safe and comfortable while going on a walk:
- If your infant car seat attaches to the stroller, make sure your baby is buckled and sitting up so her airway is open.
- If you have a bassinet stroller, make sure your baby is lying safely on her back.
- Keep your baby rear-facing or facing you so that you can always watch her.
- Dress your baby so she’s not too hot or too cold during a walk.
Stay close to your baby and the stroller
Don’t leave your baby unattended in his stroller and do your best not to let go of the stroller. You should keep at least one hand on the stroller at all times. Even with the brakes on, a stroller could start to roll or tip over. But if you’re right there holding onto the stroller, the chances of either scenario happening are pretty slim.
Keep your eyes on the road ahead and on your baby
Distracted driving can be dangerous and so can distracted stroller pushing. Just like driving, you want to be alert to any vehicles, people, or animals you might meet in your path. So while you may feel that compulsive urge to check your phone each time it dings or buzzes, don’t. Keep your eyes on the road ahead, and of course on your baby!
Follow traffic and pedestrian safety rules
Obey traffic signals. Stop and look left and right to ensure no vehicles are coming before crossing the street. Push the crosswalk button and wait for it to tell you to go. Even then, make sure cars are completely stopped before crossing the street, watch for turning vehicles, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road. Consider using a Stroller Controller, which allows you to safely steer your stroller while standing beside it and helps you see drivers faster, and in turn, they see you sooner.
Use the brakes when you’re not walking
Lock the brakes when putting your baby in and taking him out of the stroller and whenever you stop to talk to a neighbor. Even on flat ground, the slightest movement from your baby could cause the stroller to roll.
Stick to sidewalks when you can
Walk on the sidewalk, not on the road. If there aren’t any sidewalks, then walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic and stay as far to the left as possible, and try to avoid busy streets. You also shouldn’t push a stroller with a newborn on gravel or rough paths. Stay away from slippery areas and be careful around stairs, hills, and ramps.
Practice sun safety
It’s safest to keep newborn babies out of direct sunlight. Use a sunshade and try to walk in a direction so that the sun isn’t shining directly on your baby, at least for as much of the walk as you can. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so you might consider taking an early morning or evening walk to help protect your baby’s skin, as well as your own.