If you are going to be parents or you have a baby right now, you have a huge responsibilty on your shoulders about the baby. Even that’s the case you may not willing to forget all the adventures like off roading, you have done previously.
Is it all right to do four wheeling with a new born? What are the risk factors we have to consider before doing those things? and what are the protective measures we can follow when doing such outdoor activities like off roading, with a new born?
Risk factors of four wheeling with babies
As a physiotherapist, when I’m practicing in paediatrics units, there are childs with different kinds of injuries that happens due to the unawarenss of their parents.
Specially, head and brain injuries are very common among childs due to babies having a large head prapotionate to the body, as well as lack of neck muscle strength to control their head over their body.
So one main risk factor for four wheeling with childrens would be cervical injuries occurring due to carrying a baby inside an off road vehicle without proper protective equipments.
Next risk factor will be the shaken baby syndrome.
Shaken baby syndrome from off roading
Shaken baby syndrome occurs if the baby is shaken forcefully and his/her fragile brain moves back and forth inside the skull. This causes bruising, swelling and bleeding.
This can lead to cerebral palsy
developmental delay, partial and total blindness and many other complications later. This can also be fatal.
The amount of force needed to shaken baby syndrome is still debatable, but it’s found that a small shaking time period is also enough to cause this.
But researchers suggest that just a sudden stop of a car or non violent shaking of the baby will not cause shaken baby syndrome.
So that you don’t have to worry too much about this if you have taken correct protective measures as well as not going to extreme off roadings with your baby.
Those are the main risk factors associated with child’s carrying for four wheel drives.
Apart from those, you should understand newborns have a developing thorax and a pelvis. Other systems also still developing.
Because of that you should be thoroughly careful about supporting the thorax, pelvis as same as the head and neck in those off-roading trails. This is mostly applicable for the newborns and childrens under 4yrs of age.
Safe age to take a baby to four wheel driving
This is a bit controversial among parents and experts in child health care.
But still there are parents who carry their newborns even less than 6 months of age on their off roading journeys.
But as a responsible health care worker I also have the same opinion of not to take a child less than 4 yrs of age for the extreme off roadings.
Extreme off roadings have lots of risk factors that can affect a child adversely. Even a vehicle roll over can happen during extreme off roadings.
But I believe a beach off roading like smooth four wheel driving may not be much harmful for a child about 1 yrs old who has enough head control and neck strength, with proper safety equipment.
But as the guardians of the child, the decision is solely up to you for taking your childs on four wheeling.
I just showed you what the experts’ opinions on this case scenario.
How to protect a baby when four wheel driving?
Childs under 7 years should be protected on a child car seat appropriate for the size of the child.
It’s advised to keep the childs in the back row seats of the vehicle.
Seatbelts should be attached properly.
Children up to age 4 years need to be seated rearward facing for optimal protection, mainly because of the proportionally large head, neck anthropometry and cartilaginous pelvis.
Childs seven years and older can use the properly fastened adult seat belts if they are sized enough to fit it properly.
It’s highly advised not to carry a child on your lap for four wheeling. It’s unsafe as well as illegal in some countries.
For small babies up upto 12 months of age, you can use child capsules.
These capsules can protect inside the jeep as well as you can remove it from the jeep and carry it with the baby easily.
Make sure those capsules or baby seats are tight properly inside the vehicle without flying here and there.
Few extra tips for safe four wheeling with your baby.
Make sure your child can’t open the door when driving. There are safety locks called baby locks in vehicles. Turning on these locks stops opening the door from the inside of the vehicle.
Ensure your child doesn’t put arms or head outside of the vehicle through windows.
Don’t keep tools or equipment scattered around your cargo area.
Normally four wheeling jeeps have lots of tools and recovery equipment inside the cargo area.
They can fly and cause injuries to the child while driving around off road terrains. So make sure to keep them tied or put them inside a glove box.
Now I hope you have a good understanding of what are the things you should be aware about four wheeling with your child.
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Disclaimer: Through this guide I highly encourage you to be aware about protection of your babies with doing these four wheeling activities. I personally don’t recommend carrying childs less than 4 years old for extreme off roading activities. That decision is solely up to you as parents. We, offroadingpal.com isn’t responsible for any injury or harm causing to your child or property after attempting to do those activities.