What to Consider When Buying a Family Car for the First Time

Infants and Sports Cars do not Mix

There’s a reason you don’t see moms taking infants in and out of sports cars – they simply aren’t a logical primary vehicle for a family. When parents find out their first baby is going to be born, they will start thinking about buying a family car for the first time. I consider the “family car” to be the biggest piece of baby gear in the parents’ arsenal, but unfortunately it’s not something that can be put on a baby registry.

For some couples this means replacing two cars if they will both be driving with the baby. When we were first married, I drove a sports car and my husband drove a tiny sedan. Soon, the “Blue Bullet” (yes, that was my car’s name) was on her last legs and she needed to be traded in. I wanted nothing more than to get the same exact car in the newer model, but I knew that in a few years we’d start a family and be toting around a baby and all of the baby “stuff” that came along with it. We ended up buying an SUV.

What You Should Consider

There are several things my husband and I considered when buying a family car for the first time:

  • Safety – We wanted the safest vehicle we could afford so we did a lot of online research to learn about the safety ratings for the vehicles we were considering.
  • Lifestyle – I had friends who would have rather been caught dressed like a clown at a funeral than be seen driving a minivan. Parents who think this way will
    probably be looking at SUVs or large sedans. In fact, from my experience I think most people buying a family car for the first time are in the anti-minivan
    camp.
  • Amenities – Long gone are the days where the sunroof is the coolest thing in our new vehicle. Now we’re thinking about DVD players and plugs for video games in the back.

There were also a few things we DIDN’T consider when buying a family car for the first time that we SHOULD have:

  • Additional children – A small SUV is great for a family with one or two children, but for a family who has three kids, there isn’t enough room for a third child safety seat in the small back seat. When our third baby arrived, the only reasonable choice was to switch from an SUV to a minivan to accommodate all the safety seats our family required.
  • Size of Mom & Dad – I’m short. If we had opted for a larger SUV, we could have probably squeezed the three seats in, but I’d be really stretching and struggling to
    buckle everybody in. A minivan is lower to the ground and makes it easier for us “vertically challenged” parents.

And today…I’ll scream it from the mountain tops: I LOVE MY MINIVAN! It’s perfect for a family like mine and accommodates all sizes of children well.

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