Many families feel the need to upgrade to a large car once a baby comes along. However, there are some great reasons to stick with a smaller car, including ease of parking, lower fuel and running costs and overall lower purchase price. Many times, smaller cars are also safer, as cars that sit high off the ground can be a more liable to roll in a crash situation.

Here are some things to look for when looking for a new, small car for your family. 

Size of the boot

Once you have a baby, many outings will include a pram, large nappy bag and various other baby accessories. You'll appreciate having a large boot that can fit your pram, so bring it along when car shopping. You can test how easy it is to lift your pram in and out of the boot and see how much room is left to get an idea of which models might be best suited. 

Fitting car seats

As you start to place car seats across the back seat you can soon find yourself puffing and sweating if the seat is hard to secure. Newer cars often use the ISOFIX system, which is much safer than traditional car seat attachments. It makes car seats easier to install correctly and is a more secure attachment system preventing lateral movement. It's estimated that up to 80% of car seats are installed incorrectly which can lead to them failing in part or entirely during a crash situation. If you are planning on more than one kid quickly after each other, you might also like to test how multiple car seats can fit so you don't find yourself needing to buy another car again in a year. 

Safety ratings

It's also a good idea to check the safety ratings of the different cars you are looking at. As many small cars are aimed at a lower price point, they can miss out on some of the big name safety features, but the most important thing to check is how the car performs in safety ratings. The most common ratings used in Australia are known as ANCAP, and annual ratings tables are published on their website showing the different model ratings and allowing you to compare the models you are interested in.  

A family car does not have to be a large car. A smaller car can often be more cost-effective, convenient and safe for a young family. Keep these tips in mind as you check out new cars for your family.