Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 03:51 pm

It is your responsibility to keep your children as safe as possible, especially when driving them around

Being part of a new family is exciting and nerve-wracking all at once. You have to make many new lifestyle changes (no more staying up until 1am watching series) and you have to take your new bundle of joy into consideration in almost every decision that you make. This includes buying a family car.

Once you have applied for second-hand car finance, you will need to start looking for the perfect car for your family. If you have no idea of where to even start with this search, below are some handy tips for new parents on buying the perfect car to keep baby on board.

READ MORE: 5 Mistakes moms make while driving

Look at the safety ratings

One of the most important aspects of any car you will buy will be the safety ratings. It is your responsibility to keep your child as safe as possible, especially when driving them around. You will need to look at the number of airbags in the car, the ease of access to seatbelts and whether or not the backseat can fit a car seat for your baby.

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You can look online for the safety ratings of the cars you prefer or ask the dealers for these if they have them. There are many sources which list safety ratings, so you will not be wanting for information. Look for vehicles that have technology installed that can immediately call emergency response teams if in an accident and that have scored well on the safety tests they have undergone.

Don’t forget car seats and latch systems

For quite some time, your baby will be sitting in a car seat when you take them on a trip. This means that you will have to pay careful attention to the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system in the car. You will need to ensure that the car has this system, so that you are able to use a car seat.

Make sure that you can easily locate the LATCH connectors on the seats and that there are tethers. The lower anchors are used in place of a seatbelt to keep the car seat in place without you having to thread the seatbelt through the back. The upper tethers are used for further security.

A LATCH system will keep the seat secure and will prevent it from being ejected should you be in an accident, making it a high priority on the list of features your new car should include.

READ MORE: Car seat safety: 20 Important facts PLUS why you should strap your child in every time, no matter what!

Space matters

You are probably already aware that, with a new family member, comes a need for extra space. It is important to remember, however, that, just because a car is an eight-seater, this does not mean you will be able to fit eight people inside (at least not safely).

You should also consider the available front-to-back space of the car. You will also need to look at how much space is created by folding the back seats down, as you will most likely need to fit a pram in for some outings. Be sure that there is ample space for everyone to stretch their legs out comfortably and that the driver and passenger have enough leg room.

Remember to plan ahead

Right now, it’s “you and me, and baby makes three” but you should always try to plan ahead. You might have more children and you will have to factor in where they will fit into your car.

This should be taken into account before you apply for second-hand car finance, as it will help to dictate what size car you will need to buy. Are there enough LATCH systems for more car seats? Even if you only have one child, there will be times when you will have to transport your child’s friends, which means you will need extra space. Be sure that there is enough leg room in the back for your growing child, as they will become toddlers, children and eventually, teenagers.

Always try before you buy

Many second-hand car dealers in Gauteng will be more than willing to allow you to try and install your car seat in a car you are interested in. It is vital to try to install the car seat before you buy the car, as once you get home, you might find this highly difficult. And you will not be able to return the car easily.

Try to position the car seat in the many different ways. This includes forward-facing, rear-facing, as a booster, and any other way you can think of. Are you able to easily install the seat or do you find it difficult to manoeuver? If this is the case, then you will need to look at another model. This is as important as a test drive, as locking and unlocking a car seat will become a daily activity for new parents.

READ MORE: 5 Things to consider when choosing a family car