A Parent’s Guide to Buying Child-Safe Vehicles
Posted in Safety on January 22, 2016
As a parent, you want to keep your children as safe as possible at home and on the road. In addition to corner bumpers, child safety locks on cabinets, and hiding the scissors, you may be looking for a safer vehicle. If you or a loved one ever suffer an injury as a result from being the victim of an auto accident caused by the negligent actions of someone else, contact an experienced auto accident lawyer in Kansas City, MO for legal help and advice. Here’s what you need to know to find the right one for your family.
Is One Type of Vehicle Better Than Another for Children?
You can find safe vehicles in every class, from small sedans to large SUVs and trucks. However, consider your lifestyle before deciding on some trucks or a two-door sports car. For instance, if your child is young, you’ll need to easily reach the interior to buckle and unbuckle child safety seats and carriers.
SUVs are more prone to rollover accidents, but many new models boast safety features reducing this risk. On the other hand, a sedan may sustain more damage on impact regardless of safety ratings because of its smaller size. Always consider your individual driving habits, nearby traffic/roads, and your personal driving comfort level as you start looking at different safety-rated vehicles.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) both conduct safety testing on new vehicles and are good resources for parents. The NHTSA also operates the safercar.gov website, which is filled with valuable information on new vehicles, recalls, and cutting edge safety features. Consider using these resources to create an initial list of cars to evaluate. Go directly to the sites to find the latest official reports on safety and safety features.
In addition to the structure of the vehicle, consider options for additional safety. GM offers OnStar products in vehicles. Other automotive manufacturers may offer early warning alarms, automatic braking, or smartphone application capabilities. If you do have an incident on the road, having one of these automated safety features could save a family member’s life.
Parents typically look for safety features and a convenient design. Consider which of these matter to you before making a decision:
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) availability for safe car seat installations
- The number of lap and shoulder belts and the adjustability of seat belts
- Third row seats for large or growing families
- Airbag placement in all areas of the car and manual on-off switches
- Interior trunk releases
- Automatic locking doors
- Window switches small children can’t easily bump or manipulate
- Button-operated rear hatch open and close functionality
Parents need to be prepared for anything when they head out on a trip or outing. Make sure the new vehicle includes enough cargo room to accommodate your needs. Test out the space for strollers, playpens, suitcases, and other essentials you might carry. Try to find a vehicle that lets you pack everything without obstructing your view through the rear window.
New or Used?
Both new and used cars can offer the safety features you’re looking for without breaking the bank. If you choose a used vehicle, look for later models. For instance, vehicles manufactured after September 2002 are required to have a LATCH system installed. Understanding which safety features were required for a particular year can help you determine if a used car will meet your needs.
Vehicles are depreciating assets. If you plan to hold onto yours for two or 10 years, look at the overall value of the vehicle, including safety, reliability, and average resale values. When you go to a dealership for a test-ride, consider riding as a passenger in the back for a few minutes. If the ride seems smooth and comfortable, the backseat will likely offer the same experience for your children.
Seek Help If Involved In An Accident
If you are involved in an auto accident you should of course first contact the appropriate medical attention need for you and or your loved one(s). After obtaining necessary medical attention, contact an experienced injury attorney in Kansas City, MO for a free legal consultation and to answer any and all legal questions and concerns you may have regarding the accident and the legal process of obtaining proper compensation.