Your family’s safety is one of the main priorities in your life as a parent. There are so many things that you can worry about they can keep you awake at night. But what about when it comes to keeping your family safe in the car? You have so many things that you need to think about. The safety of your family should be the biggest priority of all when it comes to buying a family car. But there are so many other things that you need to think about when it comes to the practicalities of buying a car. You need to make sure that you have enough space for the whole family to fit in it, and of course, the million other things that you would need to bring with you for even a short journey to the shops. Leaving the house becomes an operation, so you need it to run smoothly! Sometimes because we only have limited finances we try and get by with what we have in the hope that everything turns out okay. Of course, this is not the best approach to have when you’re thinking about the safety of your family. If you are about to become a parent and you are driving a small, speedy car like an MX5 for a Ford Mustang, which is not a very practical approach to take. You have very precious cargo that you need to be taking care of now. So here are some helpful tips and hints that are worth taking on board before you take a child on board.
THE SAFETY FEATURES YOU NEED
This is the first port of call when you are thinking about keeping your family protected while in the car. First, you have to be sure that your child is seated properly. Every car comes with seatbelts of course. But car seat belts are not designed for children, they are only built with adults in mind. If your child did not have the correct safety restraint, your child's could sustain serious injuries. So you need to make sure you get the right safety restraints for your child. There are many things that you need to think about. Their size, their age, their height and so on. You need to buy an adjuster seat depending on the age of your child, for example a baby carrier.
There are some practicalities when it comes to putting babies in your car. Firstly you need to make sure that's that your child is not facing forward, but facing the back of the car. Although you can place children in the front, it is always recommended that children go in the back of the car on every single journey.
The regulations on the type of car seat for children will vary depending on where you live. In the UK, you need to purchase an ISOFIX car base, or if you live in America, a LATCH seat. These make the baby seat infinitely more secure.
I hope it goes without saying, but always put the car seat in. It can be tempting if you're going on a short journey to not bother. And especially going back 30 years, people would just put the baby in a basket and put a seatbelt around it. This is very dangerous. The vast majority of car accidents actually happen during short trips. Always put the car seat in!
It is okay to purchase a car seat second hand. But make sure that you examine it thoroughly prior to you purchasing it. If you can, it is better to get a car seat that is new, because you know for a fact they won't have ever been in an accident. Time is a precious factor when it comes to placing a car seat, especially when you have a screaming baby! So, try your car seat before buying it so you can check if it is easy to install, and if it is convenient for you.
As your baby gets older, you need to then install the appropriate booster seat, depending on their weight. Your child should be in a booster seat up to the age of 12.
THE CAR SPACE
The space can be the deciding factor when buying a car, but it depends on how many children you planning on having. If you only plan on having one, the space might not be the most important thing for you. However it is important to remember that was one child comes many things. The pushchair, the toys, the changing bag, and anything else for yourself and/or your partner. So be better to have more space than less, where you might have to be playing a game of Tetris in your car boot every time you go out! The three most popular family cars are SUV’s, MPV’s and hatchbacks. So, let’s examine each one.
MPV’s or a Multi-Purpose Vehicle is five and seven seater vehicles. These are essentially people carriers. They are akin to vans or minibuses. The difference between these and a standard minibus or van is that they are surprisingly comfortable. If you are thinking about certain brands to go for, a Citroën Berlingo Multispace or maybe a Volkswagen Golf SV is good vehicles with 5 seats. If you are looking for 7 seats, try either a Vauxhall Zafira or a Renault Grand Scénic.
SUV stands for Sports Utility Vehicle. These are like your station wagons. They are very practical and come in different sizes. We shall have a look at two types, the compact SUV and the large SUV.
This is a very practical vehicle. When it comes to the space, legroom and the headroom, SUV’s are a very popular draw. A drawback in terms of compact SUV’s are that sometimes they don't offer a lot of space in the trunk, which may not serve the purpose that you bought it for. To bypass this, you can try brands like a Kia Sportage or a Hyundai ix35 if you have a large family and need to pack away many groceries.
The difference between a large and a compact SUV is that the larger ones have more than 5 seats. Again with these, the boot space leaves a little to be desired! The recommended types to counteract this are a Jeep Grand Cherokee or a Volvo XC90.
A well-known type of car, and especially handy for families are hatchbacks. It always depends on how many kids/family members you have. But they are generally quite cheap to operate. With hatchbacks, the boot space can be compact, so trying a car like a Honda Civic, Seat Toledo or a Mercedes B-Class are ones with bigger boot space.
Overall depending on your family amounts you will need something with a lot of space. You will be taking long journeys, and you may be spending overnight stays with your newborn baby. So, when you are looking for a car to cover all these points, you really need to think about the space and the overall practicalities of the vehicle.
MAINTAINING THE CAR
If you hadn't thought about keeping the car maintained before starting a family, this is something that you need to do now. Make sure you get into the habit of checking the car is in working order. Book it in for maintenance on a regular basis so you can get a professional to look over it. There are things that you can do, like checking the oil, or checking the tires have enough tread. It's always worth having a list of places or mechanics where you can get spare parts for a relatively cheap amount. Maintaining the car can cost quite a bit of money, so making sure where you can get things like discount brakes will save your wallet in the long run. No doubt you'll have family or friends recommend places to you that are cheap. That where you can find reliable mechanics or dealers that are within your budget.
It will be worth getting into the habit are doing spot checks when you get in the car. Especially with children, there will be a lot of spilt drinks and mess! Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is a fact of life! So when you do your spot checks, check inside and out for scratches and superficial damage.
THE TAX AND THE INSURANCE
The way car tax is calculated is based on the CO2 emissions, so you need to purchase a car that’s environmentally friendly. You will be thinking more economically now as your finances (and fuel tank) will be drained from taking the children to school, to sports games, piano lessons and so on! So when looking at the car, examine what's the miles per gallon and engine size would be in comparison to the amount of miles that you will, on average, be covering.
Buying a car for a different purpose such as starting a family comes with many different questions. But remember it's the safety of your family that needs to be in the forefront of your mind. With being a parent come many challenges so having a car that is safe and practical will help and reduce some of the stress and anxiety involved with this!