baby

The worries about the kids never go away, they just change.

Holden
Thanks to our brand partner, Holden

It’s scary doing anything with a newborn baby but I’ll never forget the anxiety I’d feel every time I went to strap my son into the baby capsule in my car. We’d had it professionally installed, I’d practised using it but it just didn’t look right.

Is he safe?

Is he comfortable?

Can he breathe?!

I’d put him in, turn the car on, get out and check him again, drive down the drive way, stop, check him again and then drive towards my destination, turning to check him at every red light.

I did a little better with my second and third children because by then, I’d gotten pretty good at handling baby capsules. Especially with ISOFIX compatible cars and car seats that ensure babies are strapped in safely, simply and efficiently. But by then my oldest was in a toddler seat and he had a lot of feelings about when he wanted to be strapped in and when he absolutely didn’t.

Lots and lots of feelings.

"I was really worried about taking my baby home for the first time." Image via iStock.

That’s when child safety locks became incredibly important. The number of times he’d go for the door handle or the window and wouldn’t be able to open either of them… phew.

Holden and the Mamamia Women’s Network (MWN) spoke to over one thousand Aussie mums about their relationship with their vehicle, and it’s clear that concerns about our child’s safety in and around cars evolve as they do. Especially when it comes to particular safety features.

The research reflected my experiences driving around with my kids right back to me. 45% of younger mothers (25-29 years) are more likely to pick child safety locks as the most important care safety feature, and with my experience with the curious, roaming hands of young children I can understand why.

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The next stage of safety concerns for our family was the kids’ first steps. Thank goodness for that rear camera. Every parent should ensure their car has one.  The number of times I’d see a little bike or toy left on the driveway by one of my kids I’d have a heart attack, knowing they could so easily be one of my children one day and knowing that the reverse camera would prevent a horrible tragedy.

Particular safety features are vital in ensuring your child's safety. Image via iStock.

I’ve always felt pretty safe driving around with my children. As long as I’ve got a good car that is set up properly with all of the equipment that kids require and that I’ve learned how to use them all properly. Then we can relax, enjoy ourselves and whatever adventure the day held for us, even if it was a trip to the shops.

We’ve made so many memories, the kids and I, driving around in my car. It’s like our second home. Some of those memories – such as trying to grocery shop with three young children – were more stressful than others. I always loaded the kids into the car first, and worried about the groceries later.

I’m not alone here, the research shows that mums are constantly worried about their kids’ safety around cars, roads, driveways and even more so car parks. An overwhelming majority of mums, 89%, expressed concerns with their kids’ safety inside car parks. This figure is higher for mums with two children, at 93%.

Research by Holden and MWN shows that as mums and their kids got older, anti-lock brakes become a more important safety feature, with 60% of mums aged 45 years or older more likely to choose ABS as most important feature. Teaching kids how to drive can often involve some quick braking.

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Now my kids are 12, eight and seven and my oldest is curious about what it’s like to drive a car. He asks me a million questions as I drive.  I’m not ready for him to learn how to drive but I know I will blink and the day will arrive. At least I know what’s coming, having helped teach my little brother and my two stepsons how to drive. I did well to stay nice and calm when instructing them. They loved it when I took them driving because I was so relaxed, unlike their parents.

Well, now I know why their parents were so freaked out when it came time to teach their kids how to drive. It’s not the actual driving that causes the anxiety; it’s what learning to drive will lead to. One day soon they’ll be driving on their own, driving places without you, getting in their new car they’ve bought with their new job and driving away from you.

One day soon they’ll be driving on their own. Image via iStock.

I can’t prevent any of that, no parent can, but I can ensure my children are as safe as possible. That means I have to make sure they are skilled and experienced drivers, that they choose safe and affordable cars and that they look after those vehicles and make sure to keep themselves as safe as possible at all times.

Their cars will need to have ALL the airbags.

Safety will always come first with my children when it comes time for them to learn how to drive because that’s what I would have taught them. Once all the safety issues have been properly addressed, that’s when we get to relax and have fun and I might even relax a little too.

What concerns have you had about your child's safety while driving?