Are you buying a new car? Do you wish your old car just came with standard safety features to help keep your kids safe? Welcome to the club! We’ve all had to go through periods where we wished our cars rolled out of the factory floor equipped with baby rattles, diaper stations or had toddler proof features!

three happy kids in car, family trip, summer vacation travel

Here’s a child-friendly checklist I used when I bought a new car. I wanted to make sure my kids had enough space so they wouldn’t feel cramped, were comfortable during long drives and had ample entertainment so I could focus on driving. I also made sure the car I got passed all safety standards, because we’re talking about our precious little ones here. So, on with the checklist!

  • Large Caro Volume

Having kids also means lugging around all their stuff! Big, bulky baby strollers, walkers, toys, sports gear, and bags full of diapers and clothes are just some of the myriad of stuff we take along with us when we have children (especially girls!). And don’t forget Bruno’s trips to the vet!

So, a child-friendly car should have ample room for all of these because our little ones need them. Ideally, look for a car or SUV that has a 40/20/40 split-folding 2nd-row bench seat, with sliding and reclining 2nd-row seats that have cargo-area releases for easy access and storage. I saw a Hyundai Santa Fe at a dealership that had these folding wonders. And don’t get me started with the large cargo space. I can go shopping with my family AND bring all the stuff they need!

  • Super Intelligent Safety

When you’re driving your kids around, you need a car that is both safe and intelligent. So, if you’re buying a new car, look for Blind Spot Detection (BSD) as a standard safety feature because let’s face it, when our kids are trying to talk to us when we’re driving, or if you have two boys and they’re being boys in the back seat, we sometimes want to focus more on them than on the road.

BSD will help you when you need to make a turn and there’s a vehicle behind you that you don’t see coming. Also look for RCTA or Rear Cross-traffic Alert, which is a part of the BSD system. This will warn you of an oncoming car in cross-traffic. Most new cars have these, so don’t settle for anything less. Make sure you ask your local dealer about the safety features of the car you’re planning to buy before you make your decision. Remember, the safety of your precious little ones always come first!

  • Bluetooth hands free phone system

For those calls over busy moms like us have to take. It could be from our husbands, our friends or even our in-laws! Make sure your new car has a hands free system so you can keep your hands on the steering wheel. Plus, all your kids can say hello to whoever’s on the other line! This is also useful if you’re the one making the calling. No more taking your eyes off the road and fiddling with your phone.

  • Cool cup holders!

Need I say more? Milk bottles, water bottles, juice bottles and even soda cans must be able to fit snugly to avoid spills, so choose a car with cup holders spread out evenly and sized perfectly. Also, your kids would have fun putting their toys and other stuff in them, keeping them occupied during the trip. Definitely a win-win!

  • iPod, USB and auxiliary jacks

Children need to be entertained or else they’ll get bored and won’t let you hear the end of it! Having a car equipped with auxiliary jacks to connect your iPad, iPod or other USB enabled gadgets is an absolute must have when you’re buying a new car. Plug in a tablet or a portable DVD player and you have instant entertainment to keep your little ones occupied during the long trip.

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