– Guest contributor Brooke Hubler is the General Manager of Hubler Chevrolet in Indianapolis, Indiana. As the third generation of the Hubler Automotive family, Brooke brings a lifetime of experience and a well-rounded education from Sarah Lawrence College to her dealership. She helped launch the group’s online presence and continues to bring innovation to the 10 location Hubler Automotive Group. She writes as a guest contributor on family, shopping, and automotive industry issues.
Finding the Right Car for Your Kids
As a new mother, I understand the importance of having the safest products for you and your family. Eleven months ago, my husband and I welcomed our son Jack into our family. While we were awaiting Jack’s arrival, my husband started thinking about a new car. We knew we would need a safe vehicle able to fit a car seat comfortably and securely in the backseat. Camaros, obviously, were out. When it comes to picking out the right car for you and your kids, make sure you’re looking for all the right things.
1. Safety Features. When we started thinking about our next car, the first thing we wanted to know was how well each car fared in its safety tests. Do your research before showing up on the lot. It makes it easier on the salesperson, too, when you know what you want. For any cars you’re interested in, look up their safety features and how each car fared during safety tests. Pay special attention to air bags. When you are finally on the car lot, ask your salesperson any other questions you may have.
2. Car Seat. Whether you’re anticipating a new member of the family soon or already have a little youngster by your side, finding a car that’s car-seat friendly is one of the most important things. As my husband and I considered our new vehicle, we kept an eye out for a car that made putting in and taking out a car seat easy. Some cars now come with the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), a system of built-in hooks in the backseat for a car seat to latch onto. Since 2003, most passenger vehicles include the LATCH system standard. In cars without the LATCH system, you can still use the seatbelt to secure the car seat. And if you have already picked out a car seat, make sure there is enough room for it in the backseat, and take it along for a test drive to ensure good visibility.
3. Space. Consider the number of kids you’ll be driving around throughout the years. If you have, or are expecting, a large family, then you might consider having a vehicle with a third row, like a mini-van or SUV. But, of course, there are plenty of sedans and hatchbacks that could do the trick. One of the latest trends for families is an SUV for their versatility and spacious-ness.
4. Kid-Friendly Features. Aside from the safety features and space of the family vehicle, you need to consider how your kids will enjoy the vehicle. You’d be surprised by the number of times kids ask about cup holders when shopping with mom and dad. Along with cup holders, features like specialized radio stations and a DVD player preoccupy most kids that come with their parents shopping for a new car. If your kids are anything like my son, they might get a little antsy from time to time. This is when having those kids’ radio stations or a DVD player can take their minds off of the car ride. Most new models have some form of satellite radio, and those usually come with stations aimed at children. A factory installed DVD player is available on many models, but if not, you can always ask if one can be installed.
As a mother and person who’s been in the car business her whole life, I understand the importance of having the perfect car for my family and me. When it comes to shopping for the right car, keep these things in mind to ensure you get the best vehicle for you and your family. We chose a 2013 Buick Regal for my husband and decided to keep my Chevy Tahoe, and we couldn’t be happier or feel safer.
What cars did you consider for you family? What did you decide on? Share in the comments section below!