If you have a family, especially with younger children, their safety in any vehicle that you drive will need to be of paramount importance. Here are a few things that you will need to consider.
How many baby chairs or children’s seats can be accommodated in the back seat of the vehicle – enough for the number of children in your family? Also – look at the amount of room available in the back of the car – you don’t want to land up with your legs folded under the dash because there isn’t enough space for the child seats. Also look at the seat anchor points provided – where are they? If the anchor point is on the boot lip, it will use boot space – whereas if the anchor point is on the back of the rear seat, it won’t.
Something that we don’t always think of is that the configuration of the rear window can affect the amount of sunlight shining on the child – if the rear window is sloping (as in a hatchback), the baby or child will be in direct sunlight if they are rear-facing. If you can’t do anything about this, think about whether there are rear air-conditioning vents in the vehicle, and also whether to equip the rear of the vehicle with after-market sunshades that can be attached to the rear windows.
Look at the amount of boot space available, and make sure that you will be able to fit the pram in as well as everything else that you will normally want to carry in the boot – shopping, for example. Make sure that the pram will go into the boot easily.
Test the rear doors to make sure that they will open widely enough to put in and remove the baby carrier/car seat in and out of the vehicle without undue difficulty.
You want a car that will be as safe as possible. The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is a car safety performance assessment programme based in Australia and founded in 1993. ANCAP specialises in the crash testing of automobiles sold in Australia and the publishing of these results for the benefit of consumers. ANCAP provides consumers with transparent advice and information on the level of occupant and pedestrian protection provided by different vehicle models in the most common types of crashes, as well as their ability—through technology—to avoid a crash.
The ANCAP assessment splits safety systems into 3 types:
- Structural integrity – how does the safety cell hold up in a collision
- Safety features – airbags, ABS (Antilock braking Systems and ESC (Electronic Stability Programs)
- Safety Assist Technologies – advanced systems that help the driver to avoid a crash, or restrict its severity, such as AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking), LDW (Lane Departure Warning), BSM (Blind Spot Monitoring) and FMS (Fatigue Monitoring Systems).
Check the ANCAP safety rating, and select only five-star rated vehicles.
As you can see, there are some choices that you can make which can make your driving life easier, as well as safer both for you and for your family.