You’ve just confirmed you’re expecting an addition to your family. Congratulations! If you’re like most expecting parents, a new family vehicle may now be on your growing list of necessities.
At Vegreville Ford we have a number of parents in the office with varying ages of children/grandchildren. We’ve put together a list of things we believe are the “must haves” in your next family friendly vehicle.
- Ease to clean
With kids, accidents are an everyday, several times per day occurrence. When choosing your vehicle, you want to keep in mind how easy it will be to keep clean. Kids manage to stick things in every possible nook and cranny so washable pockets, cup holders and other storage areas are going to be important to you.
- Leather or Vinyl seats are perfect for kids as they are easy to wipe down.
- All weather floor mats are great! They prevent crushed up fish crackers and other kid friendly travel snacks from getting ground into the carpet PLUS can be easily removed and hosed off.
- Trunk capacity
Kids=Stuff. It’s just the way it is. From diaper bags and strollers to sports gear and extra winter clothing, for all the various items parenting requires, trunk space in a vehicle moves near the top of the list of “must haves”. Not only having trunk space but the ability to fold rear seats down to gain more precious space is helpful.
- Rear seat room
Modern infant and toddler car seats are larger than ever. Look for a vehicle that has plenty of interior width to fit that car seat AND plenty of foot room or as a parent might say “kicking space” because we know those little legs get moving and the last thing you want on a road trip is to have your seat kicked for hours.
- Infants seats are rear facing. Ensure you have plenty of space between the front and rear row. You don’t want you or your passenger’s knees at their chest trying to fit your child’s car seat in the rear.
- Look for safety features like bolted seat fasteners. These are a requirement for most car seats. You won’t find this feature in the front row but the second and third rows should have them.
- How many children do you have? Do you plan on having more during the lifetime of this new vehicle? If you have 3 children in car seats, ensure the vehicle you are looking at can fit all 3 seats in one row easily OR you may need to consider a vehicle with a 3rd row
Click here for more information and Canadian regulations on child car seat safety.
- Special Features
Children have very unique needs when is comes to vehicle features. Entertainment, charging ports and sun shields are just some of the features you may want to think about when you consider the backseat passenger experience. Travelling with children can pose many distractions. To minimize distractions as much as possible, certain additional “creature comforts” may become more import.
- Your child wants the windows down but can’t reach the controls. You as the driver will want the ability to control the rear windows from your seat. On the flipside, maybe they CAN reach the controls but for the comfort of other passengers you don’t want them to have control of this function. A window control lock feature is an option to consider.
- Just like the window controls, you may or may not want your children to have ability to lock and unlock the doors from their seat. For this reason, ease of access for the driver to a Child protection lock function is important.
- Automatic car starter/keyless entry are on most parent’s “must have” lists. Living in Alberta we can easily see a 30° temperature change in a day. The luxury of pre-heating or cooling our vehicle prior to packing the kids into their seats is a relief. Anyone who has had a squirming toddler in one arm and 6 bags of groceries in the other also knows how helpful it is to have keyless entry.
- Further to the above point, if you are looking at an SUV, hands-free tailgates can be a life saver when it comes to ease of access when your hands are full.
- Cup holders, you can never have enough cup holders. We think this goes for any person buying a vehicle, but for a family friendly vehicle, accessible cup holders your children can use to store their snacks, water bottles, crayons, favorite rock they found in a parking lot, can be what saves the driver from having to pull over to retrieve dropped items, or attempting the distracting, shoulder dislocating, reach around to the back seat.
- Overall Safety rating
This point speaks for itself. When we are in our child free years, we often pass over some safety features looking for other items like convertible tops and speed lap timers. Click here for a reliable source on vehicle safety ratings.