What New Parents Should Consider When Car Shopping

If you have a little one on the way, you’ve probably already begun to modify your home to accommodate your new family member. You also might have to get a new car if your current one isn’t baby-friendly.

Just because you’ve bought a quality car seat doesn’t mean your car is good for baby. Does your vehicle have lots of safety features? Does it have sturdy handling? Is there going to be sufficient climate control to keep your baby comfortable? You need to consider all these things before you bring home your child.

Here are a few things you should consider when you’re shopping for a baby-friendly car. Car shopping can be a stressful process, but if you follow these guidelines it can actually be a fun activity for pregnant couples.

Safety Features

A baby-friendly car needs to be a safe car. But what exactly constitutes a safe car?

First, your car needs to have interior safety features, the most important of which are airbags. Airbags aren’t hugely important for your baby because your baby is going to be sitting in a rear-facing car seat. But they’re important for you. If you get in a collision, you’re going to have to get the baby safely out of the vehicle. Airbags can prevent you from getting knocked unconscious in a collision, which will render you more able to provide assistance for your child. Try and get a vehicle that has both standard and knee airbags.

But there should also be safety features built into your vehicle that will help prevent you from getting into an accident in the first place. Your vehicle should have ABS brakes, driveline traction control, and blind spot sensors. Do research on the vehicle you plan to buy and make sure it has passed frontal, side, and rear impact tests, as well as roof crush strength tests. You can view vehicle safety ratings online.

Maintenance Quality

If you’re going to buy a used car, you’ll have to make sure that there aren’t any serious defects in the car that could put your family’s safety at risk. Before you buy a used vehicle, arrange with the seller to have a trustworthy mechanic take a look at it. The mechanic should be able to tell you if there are any major faults that you should be concerned about, and if there are, you might need to go find a different vehicle.

Some faults are easier to fix than others. If the tires are worn, for example, you can get new ones or you can get the tires rotated. But if the vehicle needs new brakes, that’s going to cost you a whole lot more money.

Try and find certified used vehicles. Certified vehicles are used vehicles that have been maintained and refurbished by manufacturer-approved mechanics using only authentic parts. So if you buy a certified pre-owned Audi, for example, you’ll know that the Audi was repaired using only authentic Audi parts and maintenance procedures. Certified used vehicles are always more reliable than other types of used cars.

Roominess

Your baby-friendly car must be roomy! There should be a lot of space in the backseat so that you can easily strap in a car seat. You’re also going to need lots of storage space. If you’re going to be driving long distances with your baby, you’ll need ample room to fit your luggage, the car seat, and all the baby supplies that you need to care for your child. There should be plenty of pouches so you can retrieve certain important care items while you’re driving. Plus, a roomy vehicle will be so much more comfortable when you go on your babymoon.

Climate Control

The vehicle cabin should have excellent climate control features, especially if you live in an area that gets unusually hot or cold. Ideally, there will be air conditioning and heating controls for the backseat area where your baby will be.

If you live in a very cold area, you might want to get a vehicle that has a heat recirculation program. This system will keep your car warm if you and your baby have to exit the vehicle for a short time (like when you’re running errands).

When you’re shopping for a new car for your baby, remember that the vehicle should have these four important characteristics: safety features, strong maintenance history, roominess, and climate control. Those guidelines will help you find the perfect car that will keep your baby safe and comfortable (and if you have yet to announce your pregnancy on Facebook, you might consider posting a photo of your new baby-friendly vehicle).

Liz Coyle

Liz is a Scottsdale-based writer and mom to a three-year old boy. She is a lover of cooking, travel, and racing hot wheels with her son. As the mom of an only child, Liz has a unique perspective on parenting. She loves to share her experiences of being a high strung, type a mom in an imperfect world.

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