New mum? Then you might need a new car...

...a family one!

Juliet Potter, auto expert and mum, from www.autochic.com.au has some great tips, tricks and advice on how to choose the right Yummy Mummy-mobile.

Like baby names, choosing a car can be daunting because there are just so many to choose from.

As a mum myself, I feel your pain with the confusing decision ahead!

There is one saving grace! Gone are the days of the moving toaster, that giant box-like thing on wheels that took ‘people moving’ way too literally. Today, car manufacturers have a more holistic approach to designing cars – comfort, safety and style being top priorities. So with all this in mind – let's shop!

Family car check-list

Safety features

Child seats

Did you know that 70 per cent of all child restraints aren’t fitted correctly? That's a disturbing statistic! Also, a report conducted last year by the Motor Accidents Authority of New South Wales revealed that 82 per cent of children admitted to hospital after a car crash were not properly restrained at the time of the accident. Australian-Standard-approved child restraints are therefore vital to your child's safety and the right one depends on the weight of your child.

* The baby capsule (0-6 months, up to 9kgs)

* Convertible restraints (0-4 years, up to 18kgs)

* Forward-facing seats (6 months-4 years, up to 18kgs)

* Booster seats (3-8 years, up to 26kgs).

Once you've bought the right baby seat, it's time to install it – properly. Call the traffic authority in your state (e.g. RTA for NSW, Vic Roads for VIC) and find out where the nearest recommended installation centre is to you (e.g. RTA Authorised Fitting Station in NSW; phone 13 22 13). Alternatively, your local car dealership should be more than happy to help.

Airbags

You definitely want airbags – the more the better! Crash tests in Australia indicate that the risk of serious head injury is reduced by 50 per cent or more by having airbags in most popular makes of family-sized cars.
Most cars fit front airbags that blow up on impact and others offer side and curtain airbags at different package costs. Obviously the more airbags, the increased safety you're offering your family. Note: If car seats are not fitted correctly, airbags can have an adverse affect and cause injury. We therefore strongly urge that these be fitted correctly at a fitting station. Call the transport authority in your state for advice.

ESP

Electronic Stability Program/Control (ESP) helps prevent your vehicle from swerving out of control by reducing the ability to skid! This is done with sensors that can determine when the car is driving off-course. This new technology can reduce single car crashes by up to 67 per cent and is becoming increasingly popular with new model cars. Make sure you choose a car with ESP!

ABS

Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) has been around for a while and is a technology that prevents the wheels from locking while braking, which can lead to loss of steering control. This is particularly useful in wet weather conditions. Add this to your checklist!

Mum-friendly features

Let's face it, when it comes to having kids, finding ways to make life that extra little bit easier is just plain essential. The latest features that make your life a little bit easier include:

  • Side steps – for little legs
  • Fridge/chilled glovebox (no more hot bottled baby milk!)
  • Reverse parking sensors
  • Reverse camera
  • Steering wheel controls
  • Remote central locking
  • Leather seats – for easy care
  • Luggage pod and cargo net – a handy option for trips away
  • DVD – to keep the kids entertained
  • Bluetooth – for hands-free phone calls.

Most cars nowadays also have the option to have these features and more added for your pleasure!

Space & storage

 

Having kids puts a whole new meaning to needing some space, especially in your car! Keep in mind when buying a family car whether the car capsule/seat will fit, and whether there will be enough room to fit another car seat in should you wish to expand. Is there enough room for a pram, groceries and any other objects you might require? Also, long car trips should be a consideration where comfort would be a major concern.

Top 10 best cars for mums

So you have kids but you still have the X factor, right? I can sympathise. These babies are just the trick for the mummies who make Elle look like she needs a darned good holiday. Sexy, roomy, safe yet saucy – all these cars have been test-driven and given the tick of approval by us.

  1. Subaru Tribeca http://autochic.com.au/reviews/bycategory/formum/Subaru-Tribeca-30R-Premium/
  2. Volkswagen Passat wagon http://autochic.com.au/buy/articles/The-Best-Family-Cars/
  3. Subaru Forrester XS http://autochic.com.au/reviews/bycategory/formum/Subaru-Forester-XS-1/
  4. Volkswagen Touareg http://autochic.com.au/reviews/bycategory/formum/Subaru-Tribeca-30R-Premium/
  5. Mazda CX-7 http://autochic.com.au/reviews/bycategory/safecars/Mazda-CX7-1/
  6. Citroen C4 Picasso http://www.citroen.com.au/cms/default.asp?action=article&ID=22597
  7. Lexus LX 570 (has Australia’s first ‘no blind spot’ technology)  http://autochic.com.au/buy/articles/Australias-First-NoBlindSpot-Car/
  8. Ford Territory Ghia http://autochic.com.au/buy/articles/The-Best-Family-Cars/
  9. Lexus RX 350 http://www.autochic.com.au/reviews/bycategory/luxurycars/Lexus-RX-350-Sports-Luxury-2/
  10. Honda CR-V http://www.autochic.com.au/reviews/bycategory/formum/Honda-CRV/
Find more yummy mummy-mobiles at http://autochic.com.au/reviews/bycategory/formum/

Check out www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au
and www.crashprevention.com.au for the best safety information around.
 
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