With a new baby on the way, you might need to look for a new car as well. Tim Barnes-Clay picks the most suitable vehicles for mums and dads-to-be.
One of the biggest shocks of your life can be becoming a parent for the first time.
Unquestionably, there are many areas of your lifestyle you sacrifice when that little bundle of joy arrives.
Ditching the sportscar
Surrendering to most of the changes isn’t an issue because the wonder of your child being born is more than worth it.
If truth be told, the only thing that really stung for me was that I’d have to buy a sensible car for the first time.
"The horror of it all," I hear you cry.
Well, for a petrolhead, having to swap a sporty number for a sensible motor really went against the grain.
On your bike
Even worse, in my case, money was so tight I had to sell my cherished 900cc motorbike.
I think all this symbolised a transition into fully-fledged adulthood.
Getting rid of my sporty, two-door, Mazda RX-7 and powerful motorbike then replacing them with an estate car really made me feel boring.
After a while though you soon realise why there are so many dull looking child-carrying wagons around.
Practicality is key
You may want to hold on to your sporty two-door car, but try leaning into the rear and strapping your baby into its child seat - you’ll soon have backache from hell.
It’s been a few years since my first offspring arrived: I have three children now, aged eight, five and 18 months old.
I’m not an expert, but I’d say I’ve enough experience to know what makes a good car for parents.
First off, if you only have one baby, don’t go rushing for a people carrier.
Large boot needed
If you have three kids then they’re great: I know, because my wife and I had to buy a Peugeot 5008 due to child number three.
Getting three safety seats across the rear of anything other than a people-carrier results in knuckle-crazing vexation as you fish around trying to plug the seatbelts in.
If you have one infant then go for a car with a decent five-star safety rating and a large boot.
A Skoda Superb estate or a Vauxhall Insignia hatchback are perfect examples, especially if you’re planning a second child.
Three kids? Get an MPV
The amount of baby stuff you have to take with you every time you go anywhere still astounds me.
You’ll be amazed how quickly a buggy, nappy bag, toys, travel cot – not to mention your own luggage - will fill a boot faster than you can say “load-space”.
If you have three or more rug-rats, then, as I say, a people carrier or multi-purpose-vehicle (MPV) is a must.
It’s virtually impossible to find an estate car or hatchback that’ll get all kids safely belted in across the rear bench.
Look for extra rows
So, as well as a Peugeot 5008, you should look at MPVs that, ideally, have three rows of seats.
After all, you still want a social life and having a seven-seater gives you options for additional passengers.
MPVs such as the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso; Ford S-Max; Ford Galaxy; SEAT Alhambra (pictured below) and Renault Grand Scenic are perfect – and they’re safe.
They’re not cheap though, with all of them costing over £20,000 new.
Do what I did instead and get a year old one from a reputable dealer and you can find yourself paying around the £12,000 mark for, say, a low-mileage Peugeot 5008.
When all is said and done, whichever vehicle you choose, getting the right child seat is clearly vital.
Starting with your baby's very first journey home from the hospital, ensuring your little one is safely restrained in a suitable car seat is the only way to guarantee optimum protection.