Expanding your family? Check these reviews to see which vehicles fit your car seat needs first.
This is a sponsored post; all opinions are mine.
Before my son was born, I researched car seats ad nauseum (confession: I researched A LOT OF THINGS ad nauseum). Based on recommendations, online ratings, and reviews, I chose the car seat I thought was the safest and most versatile. What I didn't think to research, however, was which cars were best for the type of seat I chose, and how that might fit with other car seats.
Recently, I was searching for information about a sedan I was covering for a review, and needed to know about car seat configurations for a reader. I stumbled across the Cars.com site, where I discovered that they have three certified car seat technicians on staff, and they run a battery of tests on every vehicle they can. They conduct hands-on tests and offer ratings in six categories: LATCH, infant, rear-facing convertible, forward-facing convertible, booster, and third-row access (if applicable).
Speaking of LATCH, did you know that it stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children? LATCH is required on car seats in most vehicles manufactured on or after Sept. 1, 2002. A safety tip I learned at a Britax event recently was to check the vehicle user guide and car seat user guide to determine if LATCH or the seat belt restraint is best for your child, depending on his or her size. Each seat has safety guidelines for the maximum weight the LATCH can hold. And (I didn't know this prior to the event) it's actually less safe to use BOTH the LATCH and seat belt, because the car seats are designed to use one at a time.
If you already have kids in the mix or plan to do some carpooling, it's smart to find out how your vehicle of choice performs with more than one car seat. As an automotive journalist, friends ask me on a regular basis about which cars can safely and comfortably fit three car seats across the back, as well as which are the best vehicles with three rows.
Cars.com answers those questions in two separate roundups:
One of my favorite sedans I reviewed last year was the Kia Cadenza, which my family drove round trip from Austin, Texas to Ft. Myers, Florida for Christmas vacation. It was roomy and comfortable, and my son's Britax high-back booster fit behind the driver's seat with plenty of room to spare. When I looked up the ratings on Cars.com, I was pleased to see that the Cadenza rated very highly.
Whether you are expanding your family or extending your carpool, check Cars.com for more information on how your plans fit with the type of vehicle you have; and if you're car shopping, take these guidelines under consideration. You'll be well prepared for a variety of situations that suit your family best!