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Advice for choosing a family car with children

Consejos a la hora de elegir un coche familiar con niños

14/10/2020

Choosing a child restraint system may not be an easy task: which approved standard should I choose, backwards or forwards facing, with Isofix or with a belt, which group or up to which height... Here we offer you some recommendations to choose the most suitable child restraint system. Regarding family cars, the situation doesn't get any better. There are many options and factors to bear in mind: price, technology, safety, size, etc. Here are some aspects to consider. 

-One of the most important aspects to consider when buying a family car is size. If we have three children, it's important to make sure that the child car seats fit on the back seats. To avoid complications, we suggest you choose a  vehicle with three complete rear seats. The middle seat is usually the smallest but this is not the case with certain minivans or vehicles designed for families. All three car seats must fit on the rear seats, however is important that there is no pressure between them, i.e. they must not be pushed together. 

-With an Isofix system. All new vehicles have this system installed.It makes it easier to install a child restraint system and avoids making mistakes. It is important to mention that the chair itself must also be designed for this system. Today, we can find that vehicles that have three large seats in the back also usually have Isofix anchors installed on the three seats. This is specially the case with new vehicles. If it is second hand, you need to check.

-If the vehicle is second hand, the Isofix system must be checked as well as the correct condition of the seat belt. The belt must be accessible and long enough to install a car seat properly.

-Compatibility of car seats with vehicles. The instructions of both manufacturers should therefore be consulted.

-i-Size car seats. These are bigger car seats. The i-Size car seats are usually bigger than normal, so they need to be compatible. The floor is reinforced to safely install the Support Leg. Here we discuss how vehicles have been adapted to i-Size car seats. 

- The space between the front seat and the car seat. This is a very important aspect, especially regarding smaller  rear facingcar seats, which are usually bigger. The driver's and co-driver's seat should be moved forward so the child car seat is not wedged. Ideally, there should be some space between the front seat and the child's seat, however it depends on the manufacturer's instructions. The front seat must not change the position of the child restraint system caused by pressure. You must check that you can sit perfectly in your seat with the child's car seat properly installed. It is important to check this, especially for tall people.  

- Main safety systems such as airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESP) ABS and other intelligent driving aids (ADAS). Technology saves lives. Hence, Fundación MAPFRE, in collaboration with the Foundation CEA has created the ADAS systems web, a fundamental tool for all those who, when buying or renting a vehicle, mainly value the elements that will make their driving safer.

-Children must travel in the rear seats except exceptions. If this is our case, we must remember that the  co-pilot's airbag can be disconnected. We remind you that it is compulsory to disable the airbag when a child is traveling in the co-pilot's seat facing backwards. Here we address this point. 

-Another very important aspect is the accessibility. Therefore, vehicles with five doors are the best option, so we can easily access the rear seats and install the car seat correctly and secure the child safely. It is also important  that the child can get in easily and get in and out on their own. Here we talk about older children. 

-The vehicle must also have safety locks on the rear doors and the option to deactivate the electric windows. This stops children from opening the windows.

-Another positive feature is the boot. It should be spacious enough to store everything the children need. When traveling with babies or young children, the boot needs to be big enough for the stroller. 

-It is also important for the vehicle to have compartments for storing objects the children may need such as water or toys. We remind you that when driving, all objects must be correctly secured

Finally, this image gives advice for large family trips.

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