Not sure what to look for when buying a car for your new or growing family? Here are a few things to consider in our Tip of the Week.
- Plan Ahead If You Can. Buy a vehicle that will grow with the needs of your family. While you can’t know for sure how big it might be, try to think ahead so you don’t have to buy a larger vehicle in short order. You can also consider leasing a vehicle if you’re not sure how big your family might be a couple of years down the road.
Check Safety Ratings. All new cars are safe these days but it is still a good idea to see which ones have the best ratings. The two sources to go to are the government’s NHTSA ratings and those released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an insurance lobby group. You can read more about the differences here.
Buy Your Car Seat Before Car Shopping: Don’t wait until you bring the car home to try out the car seat. Buy it before you go shopping and take it with you. Make sure you know how to install it and find out how easy it is to get in and out. Ask your sales professional to show you where the LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system is, and look at the instructions on it here: SaferCar.gov.
Anticipate Other Passengers: Once you have the car seat anchored in the vehicle you are looking at, sit in the back seat to see how much room is left over. If Grandma and Grandpa want to go with you, can they? If you plan to keep a long time, is carpooling in your future? You’ll want to consider those questions now.
Check For Proper Storage Area. It is a good idea to know how much space you’ll need for child cargo. Measure strollers, diaper bags, portable playpens, etc. Know how many cubic feet of cargo area you need at a minimum because you don’t want to end up with a vehicle that is too small for your needs.
Look for Helpful, Family-Friendly, Options. Make sure the car you are looking at has childproof locks and windows that you can lock closed. Rear Seat Reminder offered on some General Motors vehicles is also fantastic. Keyless entry is wonderful when walking up to a car with your arms full, as is power liftgate. Pushbutton start means you don’t have to fumble for your keys to get the air conditioning or heat going. Finally, some SUVs have 40/20/40 configuration in the second row of seats, and the middle section will slide right up against the front seat, which is especially nice when there is a dropped bottle or pacifier.
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