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For many of us, public transport might be an inevitable part of life. Whether it is the rickshaw, the metro, or the bus, scores of things can go wrong if you are not well-prepared. First you need to get to know the time-table; then you need to understand the routes; then you need to figure which metro or bus to board to arrive at your destination… and when you factor in the sheer amount of traffic there is on the street, you start value-ing ‘time’ on another level! While many people enjoy public transport for these very reasons, the game completely changes when a baby enters the picture. Suddenly the unpredictability of the buses does not seem thrilling anymore!
Traveling In a Bus With Your Baby? Take These 8 Precautions!
While there are scores of things that can go wrong when traveling in a bus with your baby, here are 8 things you can do to minimise the chances of a mishap.
1. The Boarding
Boarding a bus might be difficult during rush hours. It will be doubly so with a baby in hand. Wait for the bus to come to a complete halt. Get a firm grip on the side-bar, and only then hoist yourself on to the bus. If possible, try and signal to the bus-conductor so he is aware you are boarding the bus. If you feel too anxious, employ people around you to look out for you. Also, flat footwear would be a better idea as compared to heels or any other delicate or fancy footwear, making the boarding easy and comfortable.
2. Finding a Good Seat
Most buses will have seat/s that is/are reserved for old people, women, and children. Preferably occupy such a seat. Depending on which city you are in, there may be different conventions being followed – the left and right side seats maybe reserved for women and men respectively. Follow such conventions.
Apart from that, pick a seat that does not reside directly above one of the wheels of the bus – such a seat makes the ride bumpy. It might upset your baby or make her throw up.
3. The Window
The window is a great way to pacify your baby – she is going to love to look at all the moving colours, sounds, and vehicles. Some babies on the other hand maybe overwhelmed by the noise and might start to cry. Find out your baby’s preference, and pick a seat accordingly.
If you are seating by the window, make sure to hold your baby securely in your arms. It will be best to strap her to yourself to ensure zero mishaps.
4. The Crowd
One of the most annoying things ever can be a crowded bus. If possible, try and board a bus that is not too crowded. Of course, sometimes you might have to do just that – board a crowded bus.
At such times, it is best to put your baby into a harness and strap her to your torso, in the front. That way, your body can act as a shield for the baby against flailing arms or protruding elbows! It will also help you talk to your baby and keep her calm in a crowded bus. Nothing works better than seeing mumma’s face and hearing her talk.
While we all dearly wish it weren’t so, miscreants are an unavoidable part of the society. Public transport is one of the most common grounds for molestation, and stories about women getting groped or inappropriately touched in the bus are not unheard of.
Keep all distractions away, and make sure you are alert. Keep your phone handy (but not in your hand) so that you can easily reach for it if you need to call anyone in case of an emergency. Watch out for suspicious people trying to get too close to your baby or to you. People may offer to ‘help’ you, seeing you with a baby. Your number one concern should be to protect, not to be polite – trust your instincts when help is offered, and do not hesitate to say ‘no’.
Finally, board the bus armed to protect yourself. A pepper spray is something you should carry with you at all times, especially when going to crowded places.
6. Germ Protection
Public transport is really… ‘public’. All sorts of people, who have been to all sorts of places, use the bus every single day. Who know how many germs are on that seat that you are about to sit on? Who can tell whether or not the last person to touch the sidebar had a cold or was suffering from some or the other viral infection?
If your baby is young, make sure you swaddle her well. The fewer things she touches with her hands, the better. If she is too old to be swaddled, consider using mittens on her hands. If that’s also not a possibility, make sure your diaper bag is equipped with appropriate bodycare products so you can make sure your baby does not catch an infection. Touch as few surfaces as possible yourself. And make sure you keep a hand sanitizer handy before you touch your baby again.
7. Guard Against Pollution
Pollution is an inescapable part of city life. There is nothing you can do to avoid it altogether. However, basic preventive measures can definitely curb the negative effects that pollution can have on your health, especially air pollution.
It is best to restrict exposure to smoke and traffic as much as you can, till the baby turns at least 6 months old. Avoid occupying a window seat if the streets look especially crowded. Smoke should not be inhaled by infants and newborns. Similarly, avoid occupying a window seat when traveling to crowded parts of the city.
8. Well Begun Is Half Done!
While a bus ride may be no big deal for us, it might become too overwhelming for your baby. As a result your baby may throw a tantrum: she may get restless in your arms, she might throw-up, or she might start crying.
While you cannot control or stop your baby from doing so, you can definitely begin your journey on a positive note! Make sure your baby is well-fed, comfortably dressed, and well-rested before you board a bus. Change her diaper – so that even if she pees or poops, you won’t have to change the diaper immediately, and can do so on arriving at your destination.
Finally, make sure your diaper bag is fully equipped! Throw your baby’s favourite toys into the diaper bag. It may be a good idea to even carry the pacifier with you, or any other thing that helps calm your baby down.
After Arriving At Destination
- Check all your belongings before getting off the bus – your purse/handbag, and the baby’s diaper bag too.
- Give your baby a top to toe wipe.
- If possible, give your baby a bath.