A Guide On How To Choose The Best Car For Your Family
Your main priority when purchasing a family car is to get the safest one possible. Find out the factors you need to consider to ensure your family’s safety while on the road.
Buying Guide: How To Choose The Safest Family Vehicle
Buying a new vehicle is hard enough. But buying the best one for the entire family that can accommodate good convertible seats for car or booster in the backseat is a whole different story.
Most families usually spend more than 280 hours every year on their vehicle. And the last thing you want is to spend those hours wishing you’d bought a different car, minivan, or SUV.
There are plenty of things you need to consider before making any final decision. After all, it’s not just an investment, but the safety of your family will depend on it while you’re on the road.
One of the best ways to ensure you’ll make the right decision not just for you, but the entire family, is to do your homework of understanding what you want to get out of a family car. And then use that for your research and for educating yourself on only the appropriate vehicles.
Family Safety Before Anything Else
When going shopping, make sure to look for a car that meets all the safety requirements of your family. Here are the most significant factors you need to include in your checklist:
- Child safety lock
- Automatic door lock
- Windows should have auto-reverse or anti-pinch feature
- Lower anchors for car safety seat and seat belts
- Enough space in the back for child car seats
- Advanced front airbags
- Side-impact airbags
- Rearview camera
- Blind-spot warning
- Interior trunk release
There are also technologically advanced features that you may want to look out for:
- Electronic Stability Control. The computerized technology is also called Dynamic Stability Control and can improve the stability of your vehicle when it senses that it has lost its traction. One or more of your wheels will momentarily brake depending on what the system sees fit to prevent slides or skids and keep the car from going in a direction it’s not supposed to go to.
- Telematic Safety Service. This is a paid wireless telecommunications service with features such as emergency services, automatic crash response, and roadside assistance, to name a few.
- Cruising Control. This adaptive feature utilizes systems such as cameras, radar, lasers, and a combination of these to ensure you’re at a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
- Anti Lock Brakes or ABS. This system is computer-controlled that can prevent the tires of a vehicle from skidding and its brakes from locking up when you have to brake forcefully. It enables you to retain control of the steering while braking.
Another crucial thing you need to check is if you can install your child’s car seat correctly in the vehicle. It is highly recommended to try installing it first before making any final purchase. Make sure that you know how to install a car seat properly. One of the main causes of child injuries and death in a car crash is not installing the safety seat the right way.
Also, keep in mind that your child should remain at the back seat of your car until he’s old enough to use the car’s own seat belt.
Compatibility With Child Car Seats
It is not easy to navigate every little detail of child’s car seats. Finding the right car seat type and properly installing it, is a challenge especially for new parents.
Fortunately, the Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians or CPST can lend you a helping hand to ensure the utmost protection of your little one. They will be able to provide you with a car safety seat technician, find an inspection station for car seats or community checkup events.
However, if these options are not accessible to you, this useful resource on how to install a car seat properly can provide you with all the information you need.
When shopping around for the right car for your family, it is vital to check if you will be able to fit and install your car seat in the vehicle. Here are some things you need to keep in check to ensure your child’s safety:
LATCH system should be easy to use. Almost all vehicles you can buy in the US has a LATCH system that enables you to easily snap your child’s car seat in place rather than strapping it using the seat belt. You can hook a safety safe using a couple of metal hoops found between the seat cushion and back seat of your car. You can hook the harness of your car seat onto a top tether. You can’t access these anchors easily on some vehicles. Avoid cars with anchors that are lower and recessed or with stiff cushion fabric on their seats as this will make it hard for you to hook and detach the safety seat.
The center seat position should be safety seat-friendly. It is highly recommended to always install your car seat in the center of the back seat or second row of your vehicle. LATCH will not be present in each seating position though unlike seat belts. You can use your vehicle’s seat belt in the center. However, if you’ll have more peace of mind using LATCH in the middle, be sure to check if your vehicle is capable of that. There are some car models that allow car seat installation in the middle utilizing the inner LATCH anchors from both the outside seating positions, while others don’t. Check if this is an option in the owner’s manual of the vehicle.
Check the car itself. There are several factors that can hinder proper safety seat installation such as the anchors of the seat belt being too close together, seat cushion shaped like a hump, and so on.
Ensure there’s enough room between the back and front seats. If there’s not enough room between the second and front row seats, your rear-facing only seat may clash at the back of the front seat.
Measure the second row or back seat. Consider measuring these seats if you’ll be placing multiple car seats on them and if you’ll be shifting them around. You may also want to ask the help of a certified technician to ensure the right fit.