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Selecting the Safest Family Car

Selecting the safest family car is a goal of many families when the time comes to replace that old station wagon or minivan. Auto safety is a huge issue for families because most of us who have kids spent a lot of time in our cars, going to kids’ activities, sports, school functions, and family events. All of this is in addition to the usual time spent running kids to their friends’ houses all over town. The time we spend in our family vehicles is significant all year round, and usually increases in the summers when kids are out of school and we take our family vacations.

Selecting a family car that is going to keep everyone safe is very important. Think about long distance driving safety when you shop around for vehicles and look at the makes and models that will do the best job of protecting everyone in the event of an accident; or better yet, help us to avoid accidents in the first place. Tiny cars are sometimes a bad choice because they might not do well in a side impact crash; large SUVs may fall short because of their higher center of gravity and tendency to roll over and their large rear blind spots causing danger to kids in the driveway or in parking lots. Parents need to be very choosy in the cars they end up buying, because there could be important shortcomings in vehicles of any category.

Crash Testing and Car Safety

There are multiple groups that conduct safety tests on vehicles, crashing them to see how they do in different collision scenarios. Two of the most significant and reliable agencies doing this testing in the United States are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [1] and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [2]. Both use their own specific methods to administer the tests and record their results in their own particular ways, which are similar in some respects but different in others. But anyone that wants to buy a safe car for their family needs to get to know the results of tests administered by both of these important organizations.

Making Vehicles Safe for Children

There are many different things we can do as parents to make sure we choose safe vehicles to buy for our families, and to ensure that we outfit our cars in a way that makes them as safe as possible for our children. Any car you choose needs to have a seat belt available for every adult and child passenger. Restraint systems should be compatible for use with any child car seats you need to use for younger kids. Check on shoulder and lap belts for older kids and make sure they are appropriate and comfortable for them to use.

The seat belt issue is one reason why the whole family ought to probably visit the dealership and at least get seated in the vehicle before you make the choice to buy. Make sure every passenger can be seated in a safe and comfortable way. Comfort is important because many kids tend to play around with seat belts that are uncomfortable, or remove them entirely.

Safety override door locks and other child safety features are also very desirable. You can do a simple search while checking out important safety features and see what different automakers have available in their vehicles. Selecting the safest family car is very important, and it is something that can be done very effectively when you take the time to see all your options.

[1] http://www.nhtsa.gov/ Retrieved 2011-01-18.

[2] http://www.iihs.org/ Retrieved 2011-01-18.

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