FAST FACT Some cultures dictate that new moms not leave the house for a month after childbirth. Your pediatrician may advise the same to help keep baby away from germs. Regardless of when you both venture out, make sure you have the right gear to give baby a safe ride.
Is My Baby Ready to
... ride in a stroller? If you envision frequent walks with your newborn, you need a stroller with a bassinet or one that fully reclines. She'll need to be able to sit up, at about 6 months, to ride in a lightweight umbrella-style stroller. Hold off on taking baby along for a run or bike ride until she is 1, says Ari Brown, M.D., co-author of Baby 411. "The ride can be quite bumpy for immature spine and neck muscles, especially going over rocky paths," she says. Keep in mind, too, that his neck won't be strong enough to support a helmet until his first birthday. The AAP offers the same advice about placing baby in a trailer that attaches to a bike. Always check the manufacturer's directions for more safety precautions.
... face forward in a car seat? If you're asking this question before baby is 2 years old, the answer is no, according to the AAP. Even beyond that, a child should remain rear-facing until he maxes out the height or weight limits of his infant or convertible car seat. "If we all could travel facing backward, we'd be safer," says Dr. Shu. "As soon as you face the front, the chance of whiplash goes way up."