Family Car Checklist
Take this checklist with you when you go shopping for a vehicle:
- Are there enough lap/shoulder safety belts for everyone? Even if your child's car seat can be properly installed with a lap belt alone, it won't be that many years before he'll be out of his five-point harness restraint and in a booster seat – which must always be used with a lap and shoulder belt.
- Is there enough room -- preferably in the back seat -- to install a child safety seat correctly?
- Will the vehicle's seat design interfere with safety seat installation? (Check slope, humps, contours, splits and safety belt anchorages.)
- Do safety belts have locking features (locking or switchable retractor) to lock safety seats securely in place once installed? This is important if you plan on using a car safety seat that is not LATCH compatible in the car, or if you are considering buying a used vehicle that does not have lower anchors and tether anchors installed.
- For used vehicles, are tether anchorages available? (Some vehicle manufacturers can provide retrofit anchorage kits.)
- Are built-in child restraint systems available? Some of the newer minivans and some luxury vehicles offer this as a convenient option.
Other Important Safety Features to Look For
- Head restraint protection for rear seats. Having something to restrain the head in the event of a crash is a feature that is important for adults and children.
- Safety door locks so children cannot open doors from inside vehicle.
- Override window controls.