It’s a moment brand-new parents will never forget: buckling in their newborn for that inaugural car ride. While your teeny one’s needs are pretty basic now, it won’t be long before you’re clamoring for a new car — one that’s able to handle the myriad stuff and situations you’re about to take on. Here’s a handful of must-haves to make those sleepless days and nights seem a little less overwhelming.
Roomy Back Seats
First up, you’ll need space. Lots of it. You won’t realize this until after you’ve bonked your head a gazillion times hauling the infant seat in and out of the vehicle. You’ll crave a vehicle with spacious back seats and plenty of legroom for carting around eager grandparents and bulging diaper bags. The midsize Ford Fusion Hybrid is a good, roomy vehicle for a growing family, and the new Nissan Rogue offers an optional third-row seat without forcing cost-conscious new parents to pay for a midsize or full-size SUV.
Built-in Sun Shades
When you’re ready to look beyond just space, you’ll find a few things become lifesavers for cranky newborns. Built-in sun shades are a napping baby’s dream come true. The 2014 Honda Odyssey has built-in, retractable third-row sunshades to ensure your little snoozer stays snoozing. You can also fork over about $7 to get shades that cling to your window like a sticker but are simple to remove.
Exposed LATCH Hooks
Installing a car seat is tricky. It’s best to give it a stab well before your baby is born and have it checked by local police. You are going to want a car with a LATCH system (also known as a Lower Universal Anchorage System) that is as simple as possible. LATCH refers to securing a child safety seat using the seat’s straps to connect with the metal anchors in your car. It’s a huge pain to feel like you’re losing a finger trying to reach the lower anchor points. The Odyssey shines in making LATCH a cinch. You’ll find a whopping three sets of LATCH hooks in the second row and two in the third. And, best of all, they are exposed and easy to find, so you won’t have to spend precious moments fumbling around for those dreaded, nearly hidden anchors. The 2014 Audi Q5‘s exposed LATCH anchors also make securing your kid super simple.
Squeezing into too-small parking spots on next to zero z’s is a recipe for disaster. Do yourself a favor and get a vehicle with good rearview cameras. The Cadillac SRX has both rearview cameras and cameras on both sides of the car to keep vehicles in their respective lanes. If you happen to veer into either the left or the right lane (blindsided by your bambina’s beauty, no doubt), the SRX will alert you by vibrating the corresponding side of the driver’s seat. The Nissan Rogue’s amazing Around View Monitor goes a step further by utilizing four super-wide-angle cameras to provide a virtual 360-degree view of objects around the vehicle, which helps sleep-deprived mamas and papas maneuver in tight spots.
Now that you’ve safely buckled your baby into your new car and are relishing lots of extra room and cameras to make the trek easier, break out a lullaby and enjoy the ride.