What New Parents Need to Know About Cars and Babies

Are you about to become a first-time parent? If you need a new (or new to you) car for your expanding family, take a look at the top baby-related car questions answered.

What Safety Features Are Important?

Even though vehicle safety is always necessary, the addition of a new baby may add an extra sense of importance. If you’re not sure what safety features to look for, start with:

  • Back-up camera. Not only can this feature keep your family safe, but it can also keep other people and vehicles safe too — especially if you’ll need to back up in a busy daycare parking lot.
  • LATCH system. A Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (or LATCH) system is a mandatory requirement in new cars. This safety feature makes it easier to properly install your child’s car seat.
  • Blind-spot warning. A car, truck, or bike in your blind-spot poses a major safety issue. The inability to properly detect a vehicle in your blind-spot could result in a collision that directly impacts the side of your car your baby’s safety seat sits in.
  • Lanedeparture warning. This newer safety feature alerts you to movements outside of your lane (when you don’t activate the turn signal).

Along with these features, traction control, all-wheel drive, antilock brakes, and electronic stability control can reduce the risks of an accident and can make the family car a safer place for your baby.

How Much Extra Space Do New Parents Need?

The cute little two-seater convertible that you adored when it was just you won’t make much sense to drive when you have a baby. Even though you can keep a smaller car as a second vehicle, your primary family car needs space to:

  • Accommodate a car seat now. Infants and toddlers are required to ride in rear-facing car seats. Whether you choose an infant carrier-seat or a convertible model, your car’s backseat needs to accommodate proper installation.
  • Accommodate a car seat later. Your baby won’t always ride in a rear-facing seat. The backseat of your car also needs to accommodate a front-facing seat and a booster seat as your child grows.
  • Hold a travel system. Whether you have a bulky travel system or a sleek stroller, you need trunk space to hold your baby’s gear.

Will you have more children in the near-future? You’ll need a car that can hold multiple safety seats or has a third row to accommodate your growing family.

What Type of Budget Should New Parents Set?

There’s no easy or universal answer to this question. As your family grows, so will your expenses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates the cost of raising a child (through age 17) is more than $233,000. While housing, food, child care, and education are top expenses, transportation ranks fourth when it comes to how parents spend their money.

When you set a car buying budget, consider:

  • The new or pre-owned vehicle choice. Do you need to save money or set a strict budget right now? A pre-owned car may offer extra safety features or more space for far less than a new model.
  • The cost of gas. While a SUV or minivan can easily accommodate your growing family, a larger vehicle may cost you more in gas money. Factor in fuel efficiency when you choose a new or used vehicle.
  • Other new expenses. Don’t use your pre-baby budget to pick a reasonable car price. You’ll have new expenses (such as daycare, diapers, and nursery furniture) before and after the baby arrives that you’ll need to factor in.

After you select a budget, stick with it. If you’re tempted to upgrade or choose a car that’s out of your price range, seriously weight the benefits (such as extra safety features) with the higher price-point.

Do you need a pre-owned car to fit your growing family? Contact Roseville Automall for more information.

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