What should you consider when buying a car if you’re expecting a baby?
Here at Zuto, we find that key life stages are often the trigger for customers to come to us to change, upgrade or buy a car. One of the most common, (and exciting), is the imminent arrival of a new baby.
Given the hundreds of other things you have to think about when preparing for a wee one’s arrival, we wanted to make things a little easier if you’re also thinking of buying a car. We’ve enlisted the help of a few Zuto Mums and Dads to give you some tried and tested tips to consider when buying a new car to accommodate a baby…
- The buggy has to fit
- Determine your ISOFIX solution
- Go for a 5-door vehicle
- Consider the seat materials
- Think of your back
- Dis-engage the front seat air bag if you need to
Reliability and safety has probably never played as important a part in your car buying decision as now. Imagine getting stuck on the hard shoulder with a screaming baby and a nappy to change?
It’s obvious, but do your research and read as many reviews as possible. The UK’s biggest car buying bible, What Car?, has a comprehensive family car section on their website.
The buggy has to fit
You’re probably going to use a buggy every day for the next two and half years and it’ll be an essential bit of kit when you’re out and about with your little one. It’ll make life far easier if that buggy fits in to your car boot comfortably.
Whether the car or buggy comes first is up to you but we’d advise finding out the dimensions of the buggy you like.
Rob in our Marketing Department decided buggy first, “We decided to take the buggy on our test drive so we knew if it would fit in the boot and could determine what extra room we’d have to carry all the other baby essentials and the weekly supermarket shop.”
Determine your ISOFIX solution
First of all, what is ISOFIX?
ISOFIX is a system that allows you to securely fit a car seat for your little one, into your vehicle, without using a seat belt. The abbreviation stands for International Standards Organisation FX and – as the name suggests, is an internationally recognised system, (see symbol below).
ISOFOX car seats will carry this symbol and the good news is from 2018 the UK Government will only allow the sale of ISOFIX car seats. Additionally, all new cars manufactured since 2006 have had to carry ISOFIX fittings. However, there are different ISOFIX systems and you’ll need to find an ISOFIX solution that fits into your car. It’s especially important to consider if you’re a two car family and will be swapping your car seat between the vehicles.
Mary who works in our Engagement Team has three children and knows only too well the intricacies of car and car seats, “It's definitely worth looking at the seat contours. Our family car was a BMW 5 series and was big, however when trying to fit car seats properly the shape of the seats didn't allow for a solid fix.
“Also, check where the ISOFIX units are placed - two car seats can end up taking up the whole back row.”
Most manufacturers will provide information on their website so you can check your car’s compatibility. For more information on ISOFIX, take a look at the Child Car Seats website here.
Go for a 5-door vehicle
Practicality is going to be your biggest consideration from here on in and while that doesn’t mean you have to make boring decisions, we’d strongly recommend picking a five door vehicle. When you’re carrying a young baby in and out of a car, you don’t want to have the added complications of a three door car where you have to fold a seat back to get to your baby.
Consider the seat materials
As any Mum or Dad can tell you, baby wipes will become one of your key allies through parenthood so it’s worth considering how easy your car interiors will be to clean.
Steve, a Product Manager here at Zuto agrees, “Mess and kids, (of all ages), go hand in hand. For babies and toddlers wipeable seat materials are an absolute win! They are easy to clean and keeping your vehicle as stain-free as possible helps to maintain the saleability of your vehicle when you want to upgrade.”
Think of your back
Finding a car model that offers a higher vantage point could prove dividends for your spine. Rob said again, “We upgraded to a Kia Sportage recently, a key feature of this vehicle is that the car is higher so less bending to put our little girl in the back.”
And one more thing to remember…
Dis-engage the front seat air bag if you need to
For young babies to travel in the front you need to be able to disengage the passenger seat airbag, otherwise your child may be at risk in the event of an accident. If you can’t disengage the air bag then your baby will need to travel in the back.
Done all your research but need some help determining what you can afford? See what your monthly payments could be with our monthly budget calculator.