When running errands with small children take extra precautions to ensure your safety and have an enjoyable time..
Just a few years ago, I delighted in running errands without a care. But now that I have the tiny tots, I pay more attention to my surroundings. I plan my days and keep it simple.
So before you buckle- up, here are some tips to keep in mind when running around town with little ones.
Leave Your Big Bag at Home
Carry a small purse with a long strap that goes across your torso. Only include keys, debit/credit cards, and identification. Put lists, notes, letters and any other papers you need in the diaper bag.
Go to the restroom before you leave home
There’s nothing worse than having to go and you have kids in tow. They have pampers and pull-ups, you don’t. So save yourself the hassle and go before you leave.
If you must go to the restroom while out and the baby’s in a carrier, take them in the restroom stall. Use the stall that is closest to the baby changing table. Why? So you can use it to balance the carrier while you get undone. Balance the carrier on your knees, or put toilet seat covers on the floor of the stall and sit the carrier on those. If the “roomy” disabled stall is available, take the entire stroller combo in the larger stall.
In the Car…
Remember to use the child safety lock for the rear car doors. If they can reach the door handle they can get it open. Also, use the button on your driver door that prevents the kids from opening the windows.
If it’s late or the parking lot is vacant, get in the car with the baby or toddler then lock the door. Reach over the front seat and secure them in the car seat. That way you’re not leaning into the car working with buckles and straps with the door ajar.
At the Gas Station…
Use gas stations that offer payment-at-the-pump. This is a perfect convenience for a mom with small children. Swipe your card, get your gas, and go.
If you must go inside the station, take the kids with you. It’s the law. Use a car seat carrier with a base. Push the button to remove the carrier and when you get back, just click the carrier back in place.
Getting in and out of the car…
First, get the stroller from the trunk before you get the baby or toddler from the car. Wear a small purse that can be worn across your body. Depending on the age of the child, you may have a diaper bag.
Don’t keep your valuables in the diaper bag. New moms forget things. If you leave the bag in the basket or if it’s not within reach while shopping, you won’t have cause to panic. Your first priority is the baby. So keep your keys, cash, card(s), and id in a small purse.
At the Grocery Store…
You have a wide variety of choice for shopping cart.
-Carts with single seating. You can use a fashionable seat cover.
-Carts with double seating. This is great if you have two little ones.
-Carts with baby carriers included. Before using these in-store seats, clean off with a baby wipe.
-Carts that are cars, trains, or wagons. Think twice about using these carts. Once you put the kid(s) in then add groceries they become too heavy to easily maneuver through the aisles. Use the “fun” carts if you’re getting a few items. It’s definitely for entertainment purposes only.
No matter the choice, be sure to secure the child in the shopping cart. Some carriers will even fit on the seating area of the cart, remember to buckle the straps. Or sit the carrier in the basket part of the cart.
Stand in the front of the basket with the child. Never walk at the back of the basket and the child is in the front. Most strangers mean no harm but how unsettling to look back and someone else is “cooing” your baby.
At the Department Store…
Just face it; there are times when you need to shop. With infants and small babies, use the carrier and stroller combo. You can put bags in the bottom of the stroller.
When trying on clothes, take the baby carrier in the dressing room. Park the stroller base at the door. It gets cumbersome but you’ll get used to it. If no one is using the disabled dressing room, roll the entire stroller inside the room.
Drive-Thru, Drive-Thru, Drive-Thru…
When all else fails, just use the drive thru. Most days I would plan my errands and go to 3 or 4 places and never have to leave the sanctuary of the car. Too tired, bad weather, or sleeping baby, whatever the case may be, if you don’t have to get out of the car then don’t.
Restaurants, fast food, not-so fast food, ice cream shops, smoothie shops, and even drive-thru convenience stores. You name it you can pretty much find a drive-thru to fit your palate.
Bank drive-thru windows/ATMs
Deposits, withdrawals, check your balance, and even buy stamps.
Buy stamps at the bank through the drive-thru or ATM then mail your letters at the drive-up mail box.
Once I tried to get the pharmacist to go to the shelf and get a pack of Huggies to add to my prescription purchase. Hey, it never hurt to ask.
If you’re approached by a stranger when running errands with your kids, stay calm. Always stand in between the stranger and your child. Nine times out of ten, it’s an inquiry, solicitation or pan-handler. Give a firm, “No thank you.” and walk away.
It’s wise not to dig around in your purse for money. Safety is your first priority so don’t worry about hurt feelings, just keep it moving.
Park close to the store’s entrance and exit. If the grocery store attendant ask to assist you to the car. Take the offer. What can it hurt? They can get the car loaded while you secure the children in the seat.
With twin carriers in the basket, I was a walking billboard. People would just walk up, touch or peer in the stroller before I could say anything.
Can you imagine? You’re trying to read a list, search through coupons, and keep two babies from the “local” paparazzi. Many times strangers would pull back the carrier protectors to see the twins and then start a barrage of questions. It drove me nuts and made me very apprehensive.
Public Service Announcement: Don’t walk up to a parent and touch, breathe-on, or open the baby carrier. Stay 5 feet back and get permission to approach. Most days, keep your questions to yourself. An understanding smile is always much more welcomed.
To keep outings with small children safe and running smoothly, always plan ahead, travel light, and use the drive-thru whenever possible. They grow-up fast so be safe and have fun.