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New parents may not be as safe behind the wheel as they think

If you are a new parent, safe driving may have taken on a new meaning in your life. When you have your little one in the car with you, you may be especially careful, but even when you drive alone, you know that your baby depends on you getting safely home.

However, it may be harder than it ever was before for you to avoid collisions. Infants usually wake up several times in the night, which means that new parents are also waking up multiple times a night. This can leave large holes in your normal sleep routines, resulting in sleep deprivation.

Many parents think they can just power through a sleepy day, but they often don’t consider how risky that could actually be. For example, sleep deprivation can have some of the same effects on driving as alcohol consumption has. Both drunk and drowsy driving can reduce someone’s reaction times, awareness of hazards and ability to sustain attention.

How can new parents minimize sleep deprivation?

When someone is sleep deprived, a cup of coffee may temporarily prevent drowsiness, but it is not a good long-term solution. The best way to fix sleep deprivation is to get more sleep.

You can also take steps to prevent or minimize sleep deprivation. If you have a newborn at home, you may consider:

  • Having your baby sleep nearby so nighttime care is convenient
  • Rotating night shifts with the other parent
  • Taking naps during the day
  • Going to bed very early

Even when you do everything you can to get enough sleep, you may still not be getting the sleep you need. In times like these, it is important to know who you can turn to for help.

Not getting enough sleep can impact your health, your safety and your baby's safety, so do not feel bad about reaching out to trustworthy friends and family members. There is often a lot of excitement over a new baby, and people may be happy to watch your child while you catch up on much needed rest.

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