Whether you’re expecting your first child or adding to your family, your car will play in important role in maintaining your independence as a parent.
With so many other things to consider, navigating your way through the complexity of car stuff can be quite daunting. We asked a group of parents who have all shared their top tips to help you buy a family car or ensure your current car is family safe and functional.
Which family car?
There’s a huge amount of choice out there. People movers and 4WD/SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicle) have become really popular for families. Consider how important the number of seats is for you (five or up to eight – don’t forget soon you will be ferrying your children and their friends around from time to time) and exactly how much boot space would make life easier.
If you’re changing your car, we’ve compiled a list to help you work out which features make life on the road as comfortable and safe as possible.
- Air conditioning
- Remote central locking
- Plenty of storage compartments – sunglasses holders are a lifesaver
- Lights on warning buzzer or headlights that turn themselves on and off – no one has time for a flat battery!
- Windscreen wipers that turn themselves on and off
- Good sound system – it can be used to soothe your baby or block out the noise
- Controls located on the steering wheel (audio, cruise control)
- Comfortable seat with good, all-round visibility
Safety becomes of paramount concern when you’ve got your precious cargo on board, so here are some safety features to consider.
- Airbags (front passenger and driver, side airbags and curtain airbags)
- Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) gives you some steering control in heavy braking conditions
- Reverse parking sensors (audible sound when reversing that indicates something behind the car)
- Reverse parking camera (a camera mounted on the back of the car with a screen in the console which helps you see what’s directly behind the car)
- Electronic Stability Control (ESP) detects abnormal driving conditions in emergency situations and helps to avoid over or under steering
- Seat belts. Check that all seat belts are three-point (some vehicles have only a lap seatbelt in the centre rear position.
- Child locks on doors and windows
- Cargo barrier/net – this is essential for all station wagons and SUVs to stop your shopping, toys and general debris from flying forward when you’re braking
- One of the most important safety features on your car. Check the pressure and tread regularly. Also see a mechanic if the car appears to be “pulling” to one side when driving in a straight line. This may mean that your wheels are out of alignment
- Car colour and safety. Light and bright car colours (white, silver, yellow) are easier for other drivers to see and judge their size, distance and relative speed
The Australian sun can be really harsh all rear round. Here are a few options to protect your baby.
- Window socks. Like a sock these handy pieces of fabric slip over the window and are made to fit most car models. They cost about $50 each, fits in seconds, and allows you to open and close window for ventilation without falling off
- Window shades. Suction cup on inside of widow, come in a variety of styles and sizes, cheaper option but not as effective
- Towel jammed in window. Cheapest option but lose vision out of window
- Car Seat Sunshade. Hooks over car seat, but allows baby to still see.
HelloCars Hot Tips
- Plan your car needs early in your pregnancy
- Get your car seats fitted by a professional at least four weeks before the due date
- Keep spare nappies/wipes/baby bags in the car for emergencies
- Get 24-hour roadside assistance to help you in emergencies eg flat battery, locked keys in car, flat tyre. All cars bought from HelloCars offer complimentary 12-month Roadside Assistance with NRMA