Do I really need a new family car with baby on the way?
You’re expecting a baby, or perhaps your new bundle of joy just arrived, and you’re thinking ahead to what life will look like after lockdown. How will you get around? If you have one, will your current car still do the job for your new family?
With restrictions lightening a little, car showrooms can open from 1st June, and so it may be time to ask yourself…
Do I need a new family friendly car?
That’s the first question. If you don’t drive now, what’s going to change that means you will need to start? If you live in a city, you might need a good pushchair more than you need a car. People are increasingly deciding not to keep a car but instead to rent one if they go on holiday or to visit relatives.
If you’ve got a car, but you’re not sure whether it’s the one for you, stop and think. Especially if you’re still on maternity leave, it’s easy to start thinking about what you’d like life to look like, but it’s worth taking a bit of time to reflect and check whether there’s really anything wrong with the current one (obviously the two seater convertible has to go – for a short while anyway!)
The safety of your new family is paramount. It is more important than how the car looks, which brand is popular or whether it’s got the latest gadget (sorry tech mad dads!). Whether you’re buying a new or used car, safety now has to come at the top of the list.
Will the buggy fit in the boot?
We heard about someone planning to change their car because they’d bought a pushchair that didn’t fit in the boot. We’d always recommend checking this out before you buy the stroller, pushchair or travel system. It’s much easier and cheaper to buy the pushchair to fit in the boot, than buy a car that fits the pushchair inside! A pushchair that folds flat and is compact (like our Cosmos) can be a really good investment just now, as can a roof box if you think you might struggle to pack the buggy, travel cot, nappies, baby bath and toys in the boot.
Reality check: style vs practicality
Sorry to shatter the illusion of the perfect pristine child, but babies and small children make a mess! They’re sick in the car (trust us, we have experienced the joys of projectile vomit whilst on the motorway!). Toddler’s shoe buckles get caught on expensive leather seats and who knew that so many crumbs could miraculously appear out of nowhere! Make sure you either have a vehicle that can survive the challenge or one that you’re happy can take a few knocks. This can mean putting off buying the shiny new car for a little while and opting for the second hand workhorse instead. After all, it’s no fun if everyone’s always in trouble on the way to granny’s house.
If you suffer from back trouble, an MPV or taller car can be a godsend. Babies grow into toddlers and they only get heavier (not to mention more stubborn!) as they get older.
Is it big enough?
A replacement car is an investment, and you’ll want to think about the future. Although you might only have one baby now, there is always the chance you’ll decide to have more or want to drive your nieces, nephews, friends and the family dog around. Babies and toddlers come with a lot of kit, and whilst the amount they come with lessens as they get older, the number of kids you cart around increases as they grow (as does the amount of mud in your car!)
The car seat factor is also a consideration. It’s worth looking at whether you could fit two or three car seats across the back if you might need them in the years to come. Also check for Isofix anchor points. Most new cars come with them. You can read more about car seat choices here
Can you afford it?
Yes, your car needs to be safe and reliable, but before you buy, stop and think about what might happen to your finances over the coming months and years. Are your jobs secure? Will you need to cover nursery fees? What happens if you decide to have another baby? Might you move home? No-one wants sleepless nights with a baby to be replaced by sleepless nights with worry. There are plenty of good financing options out there, but affordability is key.
Whether or not you decide now’s the time for a new car, new adventures await you and your family. And now that summer is on its way and we are allowed unlimited exercise, you can always choose to get out and about on foot with your pushchair to enjoy the sunshine.