The Parent's Guide to Buying a Safe Family Car

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When we become parents for the first time or are just simply adding to our family, sometimes it's necessary to get a more suitable vehicle. Over the last ten years, my husband and I have purchased a few different vehicles. Every time, we had the safety of our family in mind. As I learned, the design and functionality of the vehicle is more important than we realize as well. We have a larger family, so we need plenty of room for groceries and all of the kids' stuff!

Safety Checks 
Whether you're carting around toddlers or teenagers, vehicle safety ratings are extremely important. As I've learned personally, you can get in a bad wreck just a few blocks from home. One of the best places to get information on a vehicle's safety rating is through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You can get more information on their website at safercar.gov.

Check for Recalls
Another important item on a vehicle shopping check list is to check the specific vehicle you have in mind for any recalls that need to be taken care of. I'd like to say most of the time, dealerships have taken care of recalls, but I always check on my own. This is something to really consider if you're doing a private party purchase.

Photo Credit: Evan Sears for Cars.com

Car Seats
For the first several years of your child's life, they will be riding in a rearfacing and eventually a forward facing car seat. I like to try out car seats in a vehicle before we make any sort of purchase. Sometimes, a car seat doesn't fit well in a vehicle, especially if you have more than one. Personally, I prefer my vehicle to be equipped with the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children).

Now that you've picked out your family's new or used vehicle, it's time to install the car seat. It's important to install the car seat correctly for it to properly protect your child in the event of a crash. For more information on safely installing car seats and tips on using the LATCH system, Cars.com has a great article with all of this information.

Comments

  1. We're only beginning parenthood (come February). We still need to buckle down (ha!) a carseat, we have a few picked out so far.

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  2. If there is anything you don't skimp on as a new mom, this is it. SO important to keep the little ones safe

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  3. We're on our second round of carseats with our 1-year-old twins. (They're in big girl seats now!) Literally, the week after we bought them, there was a recall on the brand we purchased. But not our actual seats. WHEW! So important to make sure you keep up on that stuff!

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  4. All great tips. Having a family ups the ante when it comes to thinking of their safety on the road.

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  5. Car seats can be so frustrating. Each year it seems the previous year was recalled and so forth, always a new one or new way to put them in. I love that dealerships check recalls but I love even more that it's available for parents month by month to check!

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