Buying a new family car is generally a mixture of safety, functionality, practicality, comfort and ride. Here are a couple of things to consider when selecting your new family car:
- Do you want ISOFIX? If so, which travel system are you considering? Is the car seat ISOFIX compatible? Which ISOFIX base it is compatible with? Does the car you are considering have ISOFIX and is the ISOFIX base compatible with that car? (remember all three need to work together – seat, base and car)
- You can get travel systems where the car seat clips into the stroller. That way you can unclip the car seat from the ISOFIX base and slip it into the stroller – no seatbelts, no unclipping.
- In the event of twins, your stroller is going to be really big. We suggest purchasing your stroller before and taking it with you when looking at cars. Carter will be building a “stroller-to-boot-fitting-matrix” in the coming months to help future parents out.
- Will your stroller fit in the boot? Does it fit with nappy bag as well? Don’t just take dimensions for granted – wheel-wells and 7 seaters can cause unusual boot configurations. Check that your stroller will fit properly and that the boot will close.Do you want hands-free boot opening? Some cars have boot opening via the remote and some have boot opening by waving your foot under the car where a tow bar would be.
- What about hands free boot closing? The gadgets mentioned above will help – but remember that you can close a horizontal-swing-style door (like the EcoSport’s) with your elbow / body. You have to put stuff down and reach up for a manual swing-up-style boot (your typical boot on an SUV).
- Check rear passenger seat access. Do the doors open wide enough to easily manoeuvre a car seat in? With a baby in the seat and without… This is especially important with 2 door cars.
- With your desired car seat in the car, do the front seats recline sufficiently to comfortably accommodate parents / forward seated occupants? For taller adults, this may be a problem. Consider a bigger car or different car seat.
- Does the car seat have removable padding? What kind of padding does it have? This is important for baby comfort as well as being able to clean inevitable spills easily and effectively.
- Does the family car have built in rear sun visors? Can you get window socks to fit that car model?
- When you are seated in the driver position, what is visibility of the back seat like? Do you need an extra “baby mirror” to see your baby? Remember, it is said to be better to have baby diagonally behind you (i.e. behind the passenger seat) so you can
- see baby easily
- access baby easily without getting out of the vehicle in the event of any emergency or situation and
- in some cars, the front seats shift backwards in the event of an accident to protect the driver from the steering column and engine. Having baby behind an empty passenger seat is preferable to behind the driver in the event of this kind of situation
- Do you want ground clearance? Sitting higher means more visibility and being slightly higher than the firing line of a collision with an average sedan / hatchback. However, more clearance means the vehicle is more top-heavy and will tend to roll more in corners.
- How many airbags does the family car have? What is its EURO NCAP safety rating (out of 5 stars)? See our blog article on EURO NCAP rating.
- In case of an SUV where there isn’t a hard-board separator between the cabin and the boot area, what are the boot stow hooks like? In the event of an accident, you don’t want bags and strollers flying around. Can you easily hook these in place with the built-in boot stowage hooks?
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