When you were single, you may have had a small car. Your first car was great, because it gave you amazing mileage, and you were able to squeeze into the smallest parking spaces. Now that you have a family, and your family is growing, you need to think about different priorities for a family car. Here are some things you need to consider when you are looking for a family car for your growing family.
Size of Family
If you and your partner are planning to have one child, your car needs may only slightly change. However, if you have–or are planning to have–a large family, you need a car that will accommodate everyone. In general, you’ll want to add a third row of seating if you plan to have three or more children. You also need to think ahead. If you have one child, and they are middle-school aged, you need to think about the possibility you will be a taxi not only for your child, but their friends as well. Also, you want your next car to be big enough to accommodate multiple car seats. While booster seats aren’t as large, infant and toddler seats are larger, and require more room.
Think About Safety
Most parents’ top priority when choosing a new car is how safe the car is. Luckily, there are ways that you can check on the safety of your potential next car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the International Institute for Highway Safety both put out yearly ratings on new car safety in crash test ratings. These organizations rate an automobile’s ability to withstand front, rear, and side crashes. You can base your car choice on the vehicle’s safety rating. One item in particular you want to look for with respect to car safety is child safety locks on the rear car doors. If there is one thing most toddlers love to do, it’s unlock a car door while they are sitting in a car seat. Child safety locks prevent that from happening.
Of course, you can also add safety features to your car after you buy it. There are extra safety features you can buy on a budget once you choose a car. For example, Napup gives you options for adding safety to your child’s car seat to keep them as safe as possible during a drive. The company sells head straps and other safety items that help keep your child’s head in a protected position in the event of an accident.
How Easy Is The Car To Clean?
This is one area you may not have thought of when you are thinking through your checklist for car buying. However, parents of young children know how dirty a car gets. Think about all of the cereal, juice, snacks, yogurt and children’s meals get eaten in the car. If a child can spill in your car, they will. One way that you can help keep your car as clean as possible is to look into the ease of cleaning your car. You’ll want to make sure that cup holders, seat pockets, and cubbies clean up easily. Also, the fabric in the car needs to clean up easily as well. Otherwise, you will be faced with driving a car that smells like old milk for a few years. Many kid-friendly cars have seat material that comes with fabric protection, so be sure and ask. Some minivans come with a vacuum built into the car for easy cleanup.
When you are driving with children, you need tons of storage space–all over the car. You will need trunk space–or cargo space–depending on the type of car you are looking at. You need cargo space for sports gear, art supplies, tons of books, or suitcases, depending on the needs of your family. The more cargo space you have, the easier it will be to take the kids camping, to museums, or to the playground for soccer practice.
Not only do you need cargo space, you need storage space all over the car as well. Kids have an amazing amount of stuff they attract and carry around. In order to keep your family car in some kind of order, you’ll need space to store their stuff, such as small toys, books, snacks and juices. Family cars should have cubbies in the front seat and rear seats of the car.
When you’re looking for a family car, you can also check on reliability of the car and cost of ownership. All families have a budget they need to stick to, and you want to make sure the car fits your family budget. If you aren’t sure you can afford a new car, you can always get a great used car that may meet your budget requirements. Once you’ve made a choice, relax and enjoy the lure of the open road in your new family car.